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11 Culture Shocks You Can’t Prepare For!

If you’re anythying like us you’ll agree travel is all about immersing yourself in the local culture, staying mindfully open to new experiences and appreciating the big and small differences that make each place unique.

Still, nothing can really prepare you for some of the strange sights you’ll see while travelling the world, from weird and wonderful to downright scary. Here’s a taste of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to culture shock.

1 – Clothes shopping

USA. Photo credit: www.instagram.com/mopals5

Hmm… decisions, decisions. So many outfit options, all so bangin’. A Nigerian child contemplates the ‘camouflage aisle’ in a Midwestern USA superstore.

2 – Grocery shopping

Hangzhou, China. Photo credit: www.instagram.com/unamexicanaenchina

Yummy! If market stalls loaded with delicious fresh produce like this one in Hangzhou don’t get you working up an appetite, we don’t know what will.

3 – Menu madness

Thanh Pho Hai Phong, Vietnam. Photo credit: www.instagram.com/traceyjay82

No. Somebody please tell us the adorable kitty on this Vietnamese restaurant’s sign is just their mascot, or there’s been some other terrible misunderstanding. Please!

4 – Ginormous portions

Sausalito, California, USA. Photo credit: www.instagram.com/meninaviajei

Sometimes when ordering a light breakfast in the USA you end up with a tad more than you bargained for. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, is it?

5 – Questionable safety

Delhi, India. Photo credit: www.instagram.com/raffaelnef

We have a sneaking suspicion that adhering to health and safety standards is not a top priority on the streets of Old Delhi. Creates quite a charming decorative canopy though, don’t you think?

6 – Transport

El Nido, Philippines. Photo credit: www.instagram.com/emmastafford17

This truck in the Philippines is ticking all the boxes for great public transport: comfy, not too crowded and most importantly safe. Yeah right!

7 – Plant life

Switzerland. Photo credit: www.instagram.com/funngabe

Now here’s something you definitely don’t see every day in Australia. A thriving hemp plantation sways gently in the breeze as it basks in the Swiss sunshine.

8 – Personal grooming

Varanasi, India. Photo credit: www.instagram.com/rudy_mceniry

No biggie. Just calmly getting an old-skool shave with a straight razor on the streets of Varanasi. Now that’s trust!

9 – Public toilets

Kunming, Yunnan, China. Photo credit: www.instagram.com/icarus.akamatusu

Negotiating unfamiliar public toilets while travelling abroad can be tricky and confusing. Luckily this Chinese restroom has provided users with a handy sign to assist.

10 – Medicine

Tanzania. Photo credit: www.instagram.com/begoodtotravel

Traditional bushmen in Tanzania swear by setting fire to dried elephant dung and inhaling the smoke to cure all sorts of ills. Worth a try, right?

11 – Reverse culture shock

Australia. Photo credit: www.instagram.com/melbournefoodiehub

Think that returning home to the land down under means an end to culture shock? Don’t count on it. Readjusting to Aussie life after time away means you may find yourself questioning some of the wackiness in your own backyard more than ever, like this polarising Vegemite smoothie from juice chain Boost.