The sociological concept I will be applying to my own personal life experience is the culture shock. Culture shock is a phenomenon or an experience that is introduced to those who move to a completely different cultural environment than the one person is used to. This phenomenon plays a big role in people’s lives due to changes, which turn into a struggle, -especially since it shows a deeper meaning in cultural differences when it comes to mindset and customs. This means a person can go through different problems, such as language barrier, anxiety, nostalgia, infinite regress, differences in performing same skills, etc. Every person that is experiencing culture shock goes through at least few phases. While I researched more into culture shock, I found there were four phases: honeymoon, frustration, adjustment, and acceptance. Every person is unique in their own way, which is why each person goes through phases differently, however, every person comes to the same phase, which is acceptance. Throughout my life, I have been moving a lot. I was born and raised in Europe, more specifically, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Everything I have known about was Bosnia until I turned 12 and had to move to Croatia. Although Bosnia and Croatia are neighboring countries and have many similarities, I still went through several changes. However, the changes were not as drastic, so I gave in and relaxed about the whole situation in a few months. It was easy to adapt since people had very similar attitudes and there weren’t many cultural differences. As a matter of fact, food, beliefs, law, and morals were the same, but schooling was not so much. I went through a lot of confusion when it came to schooling, but it was not something I was not able to settle down for. Also, people were somewhat harder to relate to and I felt as if they were more modernized compared to the people in Bosnia. Many people made it tough for me and they used to make fun of me due to some of the words I used, which was also a culture shock experience. When I finally got used to the new environment and people, I found out I had to move to the United States. I am usually not a dramatic person and I am somewhat “strict” when it comes to feelings, but that news left me speechless and overwhelmed mostly because I put such an effort in sharing a piece of myself to the new surroundings to end up leaving everything behind as if it meant nothing to me. I always knew that day would come, but I never expected it to be as fast as three years. I felt nervous to the point my whole body was shaking. It was a mix of countless feelings of excitement, anger, sadness, and happiness. The trip around the airport alone was a culture shock for me. I already kept noticing the slightest differences, the bad and the good ones. I was personally irritated by everything and everyone. Once I landed in the United States, I felt good, but I was a bit disappointed. Nothing was the way it was presented in the movies. I was happy to see my family, but no matter the happiness inside of me, I could not ignore the attitudes of the new people. At that very moment, I was surrounded by such plain energy, with people who constantly kept yelling and judging with their eyes. I never experienced so much negativeness in such a short period of time. Throughout time, I was introduced to different languages, accents, dialects, attitudes and a new cultural norm. I had to adjust physically and mentally, socialize, as well as learn new phrases to connect with the people and understand them more. I was going through many phases and the worst one was frustration, which made me ruin my sleeping schedule due to insomnia. I personally felt abandoned, lost, disappointed and sad for quite some time. The smells and sounds changed a lot, not to forget to mention the weather and landscape. It took me some time to get used to the weather, especially because Michigan weather is so unpredictable. With days passing by, my mixed feelings calmed and I was able to open my mind, communicate and give a chance to the good things around me. Although I was going through nostalgia and depression not only due to such a change but also shyness of speaking a completely new language, I realized the United States is not as negative and people are not as awful as they seemed the first couple of days. I learned a lot about Americans, their values, customs and holidays that I had no chance to be introduced to anywhere else. Another thing that I would love to mention is food. I was presented with different types of eaters here, in America. It was a culture shock for me to find out about different types of vegetarians and I never knew people would be so picky about their food, drinks, snacks. I met a lot of people and while talking to Americans, I noticed they are “extra” open to talk about things such as sexual intercourse, diseases, money, gambling, etc. That was a whole new level of straightforwardness for me. Opportunities was another culture shock for me. Where I come from there were not as many opportunities/options; not in schools, not even with jobs. It felt good and still does to have numerous options, but it is hard when a person knows about few things and is suddenly presented to multiple others. I remember how hard it was for me to choose a major in college, and I still debate about it. Most of the American parents pressure their kids into having an amazing career and they are able to portray these careers to their children through their own experiences, but my parents knew as little as me, which is one of the differences I distinguished, too. Nonetheless, what I liked and still do the most in the United States would be the diversity, which made me feel less like an outsider. Although kids in high school kept calling me a “boater”, I felt proud of myself, because I knew most of them would never be able to gain such an experience that would teach them multiple lessons. Culture shock is tough, but a great experience. Not many would realize it, but once a person gets to the final stage, which is acceptance, they won’t be taking it for granted. I must say, once I gave the U.S. a chance, I felt as if it gave me a chance too. I regained my strength to associate and I have to admit, it took me two years to feel completely comfortable with everything that was surrounding me. This year, in April, it will be 6 years since I came to the United States and it is not hard to say that this is my home now, and I would not change it for anything. I still visit and love Europe dearly, but this is where I am and this is what I look forward to every time I leave. The culture shock was not a new thing for me, but I believe no matter how many times I experience it, I would never be able to go through it as if it’s nothing. 

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