Culture shock usually occurs when a person enters or stays in a different country. Such shock may come from semantic misunderstanding of language on both sides, miscomprehension of the behavior of the people in the host country, and different value systems. This study aims to investigate culture shock as experienced by foreigners staying in Taiwan who were teaching at colleges or universities or learning Mandarin Chinese, and by the exchange students from Tamkang University who spent one academic year in North America in their Junior Year Abroad Program. The subjects of the foreigners in Taiwan were randomly selected on the basis of two criteria: availability in different universities in Taiwan and their first lived experience in Taiwan.
The subjects from the former exchange students in North America included almost all such students in their 2000-2001 academic year exchange program. Two different questionnaires were administered respectively to the two groups and all subjects were interviewed to report on their experience and cultural perception. After all data on the two groups were collected, they were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. The results show that the foreigner group experienced far more seriously in culture shock than the exchange student group. The application of this study reveals that culture shock should be studied on the basis of a person's language ability, knowledge of foreign culture in contact, age, and the length of stay in a foreign country.