Are these two sentences interchangeable?

  • "I have culture shock here."

  • "I experience culture shock here."

I know that "have" can be used to mean "experience" before some words including "shock"; but in this case, the use of "have" kind of bugged my ears. When I say "I have culture shock here," it sounds kind of like I own the culture shock instead of experiencing it to me.

  • The compound noun "culture shock" is effectively an abstract noun referring to an internal mental state - same as anger, anxiety, happiness, sorrow, etc. As a rule of thumb, you experience such states, rather than have them (regardless of whether you feel like that wherever you are, or just here). Sep 30, 2019 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


It doesn't sound idiomatic to me, for two reasons.

Firstly, a "shock" is normally something momentary that passes. "Culture shock" could, of course, be more prolonged than simply being startled by something, but still "having" it doesn't sound correct for the reason you mention - it sounds more permanent than it is likely to be. You will eventually get over culture shock.

Secondly, though, I suspect you mean "here" to refer to a specific place where you experience culture shock, such as a foreign country. However, the word "here" is also used informally to refer to a particular situation, for example, "I'm having some trouble here!" So, your example "I'm having culture shock here" could sound like you mean "I'm having culture shock now".

As mentioned, "shocks" are generally a momentary event, and it is more common to refer to that event as "a culture shock*". I think the most idiomatic say to say you are experiencing culture shock in a particular place would be:

This place is quite a culture shock for me.

The Merriam Webster dictionary gives some example usage of the term "culture shock" that may be helpful to you.

  • Thanks for your answer. I was thinking about that "I have culture shock in my own country", and this question came to mind. Sep 30, 2019 at 12:26

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