Culture shock is a bit like regular shock – sometimes you can’t identify it once you’re suffering from it, which makes it very hard to cope with.
Writing “symptoms” felt a little contrived, as culture shock isn’t really a disease or mental illness, more just a feeling of being lost, out of your depth (remember trying to put your foot down in a swimming pool and having that moment of utter panic as you gurgled and spluttered under the surface?), isolated or simply unable to grasp onto any little culture-related life-raft like familiar road signs or Marks and Spencers. Don’t’ panic though; culture shock is only temporary, so moving to France, moving to Switzerland, moving anywhere can become home with a little patience.
Culture shock is very much fear-based – the shock of the new and unfamiliar. Upon relocation (moving to France, Germany etc.) people tend to split into two groups – those who embrace the new culture over their own, and those who reject it and try to keep their own country alive. Neither of these is the right or wrong choice. Allowing you and your family to each develop your own tactic for dealing with a great move is crucial.
Of course the best way to cope is to be prepared. For example, when moving to Switzerland, have everyone take an interest in the new culture –the food, the hobbies, what the schools tend to look like, what are the common modes of transport, how do you swear in Swiss-German?
The important thing is to be patient, brave and regain control.