I cannot say that I have experienced culture shock per say. I have studied Russian Language and Culture for two years before coming to Moscow. I also live and work with many Slavic people in Philadelphia. I knew what I was in for.
The hardest part for me was the brief period of home-sickness I went through for one week. I was at a cafe with a friend. I had Wi-Fi, so naturally I kept receiving phone calls from my family and friends. It had been a very hard week of adjusting, and honestly I began to miss the conveniences of America and the comforts of my hometown(s). The phone calls from my family were not helping, and very subtly I began to tear up. The only thing my friend could think of to say to me was: “Dude, do you have allergies or something?”
I was so angry at him. I went to the bathroom to compose myself and continued cursing the whole situation under my breath. Our visas were getting extended in November, with multi-entry privileges. He had the means to travel back and forth to the States, I do not. I began to realize that I was in this for the long haul. I was not able to spend Halloween with my little cousins. I was not going to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I was not going to be able to eat the greasy central Jersey style Italian food, which my Step-Mom cooked for us every night. You have no idea how much of a tragedy this was at the time!
However, another thought occurred to me a week later, this is only temporary. I am here for a finite amount of time, I’m going home in 20 days (currently). I must adapt and overcome. It was not worth missing home, when I already had the return ticket in my desk ready to go. While I am here, I might as well enjoy having new experiences. Everything is temporary, especially the bad things. I can honestly say that this little mantra has allowed me to enjoy my time here to its fullest. It made me glad I came and made me grateful to have had this opportunity. So far, no regrets.