In this time, the world is becoming a smaller and smaller place. Different parts of the world have such a wide range of cultures, and yet people are mingling internationally now more than ever. Rights in one country are considered a sin in another. Part of cultural understanding is knowing what you can and cannot do in another land. The inability to feel safe, happy, healthy and free living under another set of rules is culture shock. Note, however, that feeling “free” is a defining element of any culture.
For example, for a woman, feeling free may mean covering your face. This might make a woman feel free to roam freely in a city without fear of men around you that you do not know. For others, feeling free may mean the ability to dress however you wish without a fear of people around you. For me, freedom is the ability to live without fear, however mild or tolerable, while being yourself.
It is not enough just know the rules before you travel abroad, but understand how it affects you personally. And if you plan to live there, you must have a profound understanding of how the cultural differences affect you personally.
I welcome the words of anyone who has experienced another culture close up and personal, or anyone who is thinking about it. Or just, anyone.