Finding the Parallels between the Covid-19 Pandemic and Culture Shock by Rachael L. Gerbic (BIS School Counsellor)

  1. As we continue to work through the challenges of distance learning and staying safe by staying at home, distanced from friends, it occurs to me that this process parallels that of Culture Shock. While the culture shock trajectory is roughly a 6-month period and the end to the Covid-19 pandemic is unknown, there are a number of similarities.
  2. We started off strong with our distance learning, adapting to new technologies and being creative in finding ways to be together while apart.  This could be seen as the Honeymoon phase outlined in the research on culture shock.  Everything was new and different and perhaps we went into it with a bit of enthusiasm and dare I say, even excitement?
  3. The newness of our experience soon wore off however, and the challenges of it grew more evident.  This could be seen as equivalent to the 3-month slump we see in culture shock characterized by frustration, depression, anger, even Hostility.
  4. Now, though, with the end of the school year in sight, we seem to be moving into the acceptance phase and settling into this new normal, at least for now. There is a light at the end of the tunnel called SUMMER and while it may look very different this year from other summers, it’s still a time to look forward to- to rest, relax, unwind and shut off our brains a bit. Maybe we can begin to look back and even develop a sense of Humor about it all. Wow, how did we get through that!?
  5. Human beings are infinitely adaptable creatures and we will get through this, like other challenges, and come out the other side with new insights and a new vision, and hopefully, our 2020 vision will be clearer and crisper than ever before and we can finally feel at Home.