Culture shock: smell


All we have been knowing for some are the boundaries of our country, the same type of transport the same type of food, the same type of undergound, the same type of pollution etc

Maybe our parents have been cooking too much and the smell of the smoke is all you associate with a kitchen life and maybe you will burn your food too when it is time for you to cook. Because it is the only smell you associate with a fine cooked dish.

Smell is a strong memory cue. Smell a scent and your mind will travel far enough to get you to where you last smell this perfume. It is the same or albeit not the same in a culture shock. You will smell something you have never smelt before, which will not make you travel at all and not use your large repertory of imagination and thus get you stressed.

Some adapt very well to some smells. Say you have been living in Provence and you might adapt very well to Sydney, because the wild life is similar and there is also a strong bbq culture in Australia. How unlikely is this as the two places are some 21K kms away! There might be more stress differences between someone from Dijon and someone from Aix-en-Provence than someone from Aix and Sydney.

Therefore, now we are looking at at 2 stresses going with one’s expatriation i.e. smell and sound. This is starting to be a bit uncomfortable. However, some of us are more protected to take these stresses. The offspring of an international couple, say a Chinese mother and an English father will offer say a German upbringing to a kid, this kid will most likely grow up with the smell and sound of Chinese food and English language with also German cues and German food. This might mean this person might be very well prepared to live say in Australia where there is a strong Asian population, a high business level like in German and a constant use of English, like his father. Stress for him might be to be in a place where everything is the same, say the countryside.


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