Study abroad and tourism - Study abroad (Does 'real' experience help with my language and intercultural learning?) - Culture shock and cultural adaptation

12 important questions on Study abroad and tourism - Study abroad (Does 'real' experience help with my language and intercultural learning?) - Culture shock and cultural adaptation

What is cultural adaptation?

The process of adjusting to a new culture over a period of time.

What challenges and opportunities does cultural adaptation bring to grow at the same time?

  • One may experience anxiety, a phenomenon described as culture shock or alternatively as transition shock.
  • The stress which occurs during culture shock very often results in cultural fatigue.

What might be the cause of culture shock?

  • loss of familiar signs
  • communication breakdown
  • difference between cultural and social practices
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What are the physical and psychological symptoms of culture shock?

  • tiredness
  • insomnia
  • loneliness
  • feeling lost
  • isolation
  • loss of control
  • lack of confidence
  • homesickness
  • irritability
  • resentment
  • developing obsessions about health and cleanliness

What is cultural fatigue?

These terms reflect how people react when they find themselves relocated to a new culture and in a stage of transition - a process not unique to study abroad, but shared by many travellers and migrants.

Which three things are very often at the top of the list of areas of adjustments for returnees?

  1. cultural
  2. social
  3. linguistic

What are factors that impact on the nature and extent of culture shock?

  • how much control one has over relocation
  • intrapersonal factors
  • physical or health condition
  • interpersonal factors
  • geopolitical factors
  • cultural similarity between the new culture and one's native culture
  • quality of information about the new culture and the new system
  • host culture attitudes/politics towards newcomers

What can we do to help us to adapt to a new culture?

  • study the host culture
  • study the local environment and familiarise yourself with the new system
  • learn basic verbal and non-verbal language skills
  • develop intercultural friendships
  • maintain your support network actively
  • assume the principle of difference and be aware of your perceptual bias
  • anticipate failure events and manage expectations

What is the fight or flight transition model (Bennett, 1977/1998)?

This model focuses on the response and coping strategies one may have when facing a new cultural situation.

What is the transformative model (Kim, 2001, 2008)?

This model considers the dynamic and changing relationship between adaptation, stress and growth over time based on her review of the literature. The model builds on evolution theory and looks at the dialectic relationship between the need to adapt and natural resistance to change.

What is the paradox in the transformative model (Kim, 2001, 2008)?

The very changes that lead to stress often motivate people to overcome difficulties and result in positive changes. One responds to each stressful experience by reorganising oneself, which in turn leads to subtle positive changes.

What is unique about study abroad?

It has more specific learning aims and objectives, and the students are likely to have access to support and hence have greater chance of success in intercultural learning.

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