Snag a Button

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stages of Missionary life---aka---what you may feel when you live in a country that is not your own!

Our friends from the states that we met here in Russia posted on their blog about stages that missionaries go through when in other countries. I would love to read more about them, but I so can relate to what he describes. Kalvero Oberg first identified the five distinct stages of culture shock in 1958, and we know them today as:

* The honeymoon, or tourist, stage; (didn't ever have the honeymoon, did do a tour...didn't feel like a tourist--hmmmm)
* The irritation-to-anger stage; (been here, done that)
* The rejection/regression stage; (been here, felt this...thinking I am moving out of this one)
* The integration/assimilation stage; (Look out Russia!!---this is our next stage?)
* The reverse, or reentry, stage. (June? to America)


Elizabeth said...

I don't know if you were referring to this or not, but I found a great article on the Internet a few years ago on the same topic. There, the stages are:

Stage 1. Everything is wonderful.

Stage 2. Everything is terrible.

Stage 3. Some things are wonderful, some things are not, but that's the way the world is.

Stage 4. I am now accepted as an insider in this culture, and I feel good about that.

Stage 5. I have left my first culture and totally accepted the new, and I do not intend to turn back.

I found it humorous but also very accurate in some ways.

Full article:

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

We never had a honeymoon stage either. Kind of hard to when you wake up to people snotting out their windows.

Mary said...

I didn't experience a honeymoon phase either but definitely felt like jumping ship many times. Toward the end I actually started to feel more comfortable. Now I am starting all over again but this is just a week and people speak more English here.

Patty Wysong said...

...sorry, I'm laughing. I was able to check them each off, both directions. (My parents, too.) For us, the most shocking part of reentering the US was the grocery stores! My. goodness! We have a million more choices here than we even dreamed of while in Ecuador (years ago). It truly boogled our minds, and that was before Super WalMart, or Super anything!

Elizabeth said...

Regarding the Honeymoon stage, I didn't have one either. But I suppose there was sort of a "gung-ho" stage where I had lots of ideas and had a level of optimism that wasn't yet tempered by experience. I'll eat anything! I'll sleep anywhere! I can even survive without sleep. Also, the local people are curious and think you're just a nice, friendly, generous person all the time.

That stage definitely ended.