A Survival Guilde For Foreigners Cultural Studies Essay

Published: 2021-06-26 10:45:04
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Category: Cultural Studies

Type of paper: Essay

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ABSTRACT
Whether you travel for business or go abroad to study, pleasure, exhaustion or a combination of the two - the so-called "Culture Shock" belongs in your backpack or briefcase. Get the basic practical information you need to survive and succeed wherever you go. This paper, based on secondary research, discusses the most basic and important matters of Culture Shock. In particular, four questions that are answered in this paper are: What is "culture shock"? , What cause it?, How does it feel? and How to overcome it?. In summary, based on the findings of the research, the paper is really a guide book necessary for foreigners.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract………………………………………………………………………………..ii
Introduction……………………………………………………………………1
What is "Culture shock"?…………………………………………………….1
What causes "Culture shock"?……………………………………………….2
Unfamiliar rules for social interaction…………………………………..2
Strange physical environment…………………………………………....2
Different attitudes and expectations……………………………………..2
How does "Culture shock" feel?………………………………………………3
The honeymoon stage………………………………………………………3
The disintegration stage…………………………………………………....3
The reintegration stage…………………………………………………….3
The autonomy stage………………………………………………………..3
The independence stage……………………………………………………3
How to overcome "Culture shock"……………………………………………4
Conclusion………………………………………………………………………5
Reference
Introduction
When you move to a new place, you're bound to face a lot of changes. You have stepped off the plane into a new cultural world. Initially, you may experience a sense of overwhelming fascination and amazement. Everything around you is new: a different language, different dress, or different customs. You begin to adapt slowly. You learn a new language and begin to notice certain cultural nuances. This process is called "Culture shock". "Culture shock" is a well-known but little understood term. Although most people have heard of it, few people understand what it means. This research will take a closer look at this phenomenon, and as a result, we understand it a little better. It will first explain what "Culture shock" is. Secondly, the reasons causing it will be addressed. Next, 5 stages of "Culture shock" will be drawn. And in the final part, we will discuss how to cope with "Culture shock". Knowing it in depth will help you identify it more easily and help make your international move a little easier.
What is "Culture shock"?
To understand culture shock, it is necessary to understand what culture is. What people might not know is that the environment — their surroundings — has a big effect on their appearance and behavior as well. The environment isn't just the air they breathe and the food they eat, however, a big part of their environment is culture. "Culture refers to the total way of life of particular groups of people. It includes everything that a group of people thinks, says, does and makes -- its systems of attitudes and feelings. Culture is learned and transmitted from generation to generation." (Kohls 1996, p. 23).
When you go to a new place, such as a new country or even a new city, you often enter a culture that is different from the one you left. People from other cultures may have grown up with values and beliefs that differ from yours. Because of these differences, the things they talk about, the ways they express themselves, and the importance of various ideas may be very different from what you are used to. And you may experience the so- called "Culture shock". According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (n.d. p. 374), "Culture Shock" is defined as a psychological disorientation that most people experience when living in a culture markedly different from one’s own. Culture shock occurs when our "...cultural clues, the signs and symbols which guide social interaction, are stripped away. ...A difficult part of this process for adults is the experience of feeling like children again, of not knowing instinctively the ‘right’ thing to do." (Piet- Pelon & Hornby 1992, p.2).
What causes "Culture Shock"?
Unfamiliar rules for social interaction
Feelings of culture shock are often reinforced by differences in social interaction like greetings between people, body language, general attitudes and eating invitation. For example, in the USA and European countries, it is normal and usual for people to kiss and hug each other when they meet. However, in Eastern nations, these actions are unacceptable. They normally just shake hands, bow, even simply say "hello" to greet people. In addition, most of people are used to driving on the right. But when they go to Australia or Britain which has left-handed traffic, they find it surprising and difficult to obey. It might takes a long time to get acquainted with.
Strange physical environment
Travelers are likely to be affected by physical environment like time, food, climate. For instance, Vietnam is located in tropical region with typical weather is hot and wet. Some Vietnamese students who going abroad to study in Western nations say that they find it hard to get accustomed with extremely cold and dry weather – the temperature is usually below 0°C in winter. This will has effect on their health.
Different attitudes and expectations
A sense of culture shock can be experienced by different attitudes and expectations. If people do not study or know in advanced, they could be confused. Let me set an example about "time". An anthropologist, Edward T Hall (1950s) claimed that variations in the perception of time can lead to misunderstandings between people from separate cultures. In Trinidad, if you are meeting friends at 6.00 at night, people show up at 6.45 or 7.00 and say "any time is Trinidad time" (Ezzell 2002, p.75). However, when you are at the USA, 6.00 is 6.00. In other word, you must be on time.
How does "Culture Shock" feel?
According to "The five stages of Culture Shock: Critical Incidents Around the World" (Pedersen 1995, p.3), the culture shock process is divided into 5 stages with both positive and negative consequences:
The Honeymoon stage
When people first arrive in a new culture, differences are fascinating and they may feel excited, stimulated and curious. At this stage, they are still protected by the close memory of their home culture.
The disintegration stage
A little later, differences create an impact and travelers may feel confused or isolated as they start to notice more and more cultural differences. Moreover, family and friends are not immediately available for support.
The reintegration stage
Next, travelers may reject the differences they encounter. They may feel angry, unsatisfied, or hostile to the new culture. At this stage, they may be conscious of how much they dislike it. Do not worry as this is quite a healthy reaction. They are reconnecting with what they value about themselves and their own culture.
The autonomy stage
Differences and similarities are accepted. People may feel relaxed, confident and they become more and more familiar with situations. They are able to cope with new situations based on their growing experience.
The independence stage
Differences and similarities are valued and important. They may feel full of potential and able to trust themselves in all kinds of situations. Most situations become enjoyable and they are able to make choices according to their preference and values.
How to overcome "Culture shock"?
"Once you realize that your trouble is due to your own lack of understanding of other people's cultural background and your own lack of the means of communication rather than the hostility of an alien environment, you also realize that you yourself can gain this understanding and these means of communication. The sooner you do this, the sooner culture shock will disappear". (Oberg n.d.).
Learning the language: "The key that unlocks the secrets hidden behind the doors of another culture is language" (Hile, n.d.). However, it is obviously that language is the initial barrier. Lots of good resources are around to help you practice. Many schools with a large number of students new to the country have language classes. In addition, books make good resources too, and even some websites. Whatever method you choose, practice is really important. It is highly recommended to practice with people who have mastered the language, so that you know when you make a mistake and learn from it.
Reading about the place: In order to prepare yourself for any culture shock you may face, one way in which you can do this is by reading as much as possible about the traditions and people you will find when you move. Books can be extremely enlightening and will help you to recognize elements of your behavior that you may need to adjust in order to fit in and avoid upsetting the local population. Reading in advance will undoubtedly help you to prepare appropriately for coping with culture shock.
Help from others (family, friends, local people…): When coming up with any problem, you should remember that you are not alone. Keep in touch with your family regularly so that they can support and offer you some advice. In addition, making friends with international students and local people is a good idea. Talking with them will help students to switch off from the pressures of academic work. For example, they can encourage students to take part in an after-school sporting, musical or artistic activity, which will give them the chance to make new friends, which is "the key to feeling happy and settled" (FIS, n.d.). They will also help you understand the culture better and have someone to talk to when you're feeling down.
Conclusion
The essay has discussed some basic information about "Culture shock". Now I know for sure that you understand what it is and how it can be managed. It is important to stress that "Culture shock" is entirely normal, usually unavoidable and not a sign that you have made a mistake or that you will not manage. In fact, there are very positive aspects of culture shock. The experience can be a significant learning experience, making you more aware of aspects of your own culture as well as the new culture you have entered. It will give you valuable skills that will serve you in many ways now and in the future and this will be a part of the benefit of an international education.

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