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2b Culture Shock-The Initial Stresses.doc.doc

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2b Culture Shock-The Initial Stresses.doc.doc

UNIT2TEXTBCULTURESHOCK–THEINITIALSTRESSESMYFRIENDDRDONGHADAWONDERFULCHANCETOGOTOSEATTLETOPRESENTAPAPERATAPROFESSIONALMEETINGHAVINGATTENDEDMYCOURSEININTERCULTURALCOMMUNICATIONS,HECONSULTEDMETOREVIEWSOMEOFTHECULTURALDIFFERENCESHEMIGHTEXPERIENCEIALSOGAVEHIMTHEPHONENUMBEROFAFRIENDOFMINEWHOLIVEDINTHEAREAWHENHEGOTBACK,WEMETTOREVIEWHISEXPERIENCEDRDONGTOLDMETHATTHECOURSEINFORMATIONHADHELPEDHIMHEEXPERIENCEDTHETYPICALSTAGESOFCULTURESHOCKHEARRIVEDEXPECTANTANDHAPPYANDENJOYEDHISFIRSTDAYSVERYMUCHATTHEMEDICALCONFERENCE,HEFELTQUITECONFIDENTOFHISAREAOFRESEARCHANDWASABLETOPERFORMWELLINHISPRESENTATIONBUTAFTERAFEWDAYS,HEBEGANTOFEELUNCOMFORTABLEHISMEDICALENGLISHWASFINE,BUTTHESOCIALINTERACTIONSKILLSWEREDIFFERENT,ANDHEWASUNSUREOFTHECUESANDTHECOMMUNICATIONSTYLESHEWORRIEDMOREANDMORETHATHEWASMISUNDERSTANDINGSIMPLEENGLISHGREETINGSANDTABLETALKCONVENTIONSWHENPEOPLEGREETEDHIMWHIT,“HI,HOW’SITGOING”HETHOUGHTTHEYHADASKEDHIM“WHEREAREYOUGOING”ANDANSWEREDWITHTHENAMEOFTHECONFERENCEHALL,ONLYTOGETACONFUSEDSTAREFROMTHEMATAWESTERNSTYLEDINNER,ACOLLEAGUEASKED,“SOHOW’REYOUENJOYINTHESTATES”HETHOUGHTHEHEAD,“SOHOWAREYOUENJOYINGYOURSTEAK”ANDANSWEREDTHATHEWASHAVINGCHICKEN,NOTBEEFTHATTIME,HISCOLLEAGUESMILED,ANDPATIENTLYREPEATEDTHEQUESTIONATLAST,THEYBOTHLAUGHEDATTHEERRORSUCHFAILURESINUNDERSTANDINGSANDCOMMUNICATIONSWEREMINORBUTFORDRDONG,THEYWERETHEBEGINNINGOFASENSEOF“CULTURALCONFUSION”BYTHEENDOFTHEMEETINGS,HEFELTADEEPSENSEOF“CULTURALSTRESS”ANDWASWORNOUTFROMHAVINGTOPAYATTENTIONTOSOMANYNEWEXPRESSIONSANDWAYSOFDEALINGWITHTHINGSHEFELTHISHANDSHAKEWASNOTASFIRMASAMERICANS’,FOUNDTHATPEOPLEREACTEDUNUSUALLYWHENHEMODESTLYINSISTEDHISENGLISHWASNOTGOODAFTERTHEYCOMPLIMENTEDHIM,DIDN’TKNOWHOWTOACCEPTDINNERINVITATIONSPROPERLYANDTHEREFOREMISSEDOUTONGOINGTOSEVERALLUNCHES,ANDSOONEVENTUALLY,HEWASSOBEWILDEREDTHATHEFELTTHEFULLIMPACTOF“CULTURESHOCK”WHATISCULTURESHOCKANDWHYDOESITOCCURTHETERMWASCOINEDABOUT50YEARSAGOBYASWEDISHSCHOLARHISSEMINALARTICLE,“CULTURESHOCKADJUSTMENTTONEWCULTURALENVIRONMENTS”HASBEENREPRINTEDANDREVISEDFORMANYTEXTBOOKSANDMAGAZINESHECALLEDIT”THEOCCUPATIONALDISEASEOFPEOPLEWHOHAVEBEENSUDDENLYTRANSPLANTEDABROAD”HISUSEOFTHEWORD“DISEASE”ISAPUN,BECAUSEITIMPLIESTHATITISLIKEAN“ILLNESS”WITHITSOWN“SYMPTOMSANDCURE”,BUTALSOTHATTHEROOTCAUSEISALSOAFEELINGOF“DIS“EASEORUNSETTLEDUNEASINESSTHINKBACKONYOUROWNEXPERIENCEHAVEYOUEVERMOVEDFROMONECONTEXTTOANOTHERMANYSTUDENTSFEELTHISADJUSTMENTSHOCKWHENTHEYCHANGEFROMONESCHOOLTOANOTHER,ORMOREFROMASMALLTOWNTOABIGCITYTHESENSATIONSONEFEELSINNEWSURROUNDINGSOFTENINCLUDEFEELINGLIKEANOUTSIDER,FEELINGUNSUREOFONESELFOREVENFEELINGSTUPID;SENSINGTHATONE’SLANGUAGESKILLSAREN’TGOODENOUGH,MISSINGJOKES,COLLOQUIALPHRASES,REFERENCESTOTVSHOWSORPOPSONGSOROTHERCULTURAL“INSIDER”INFORMATION;FEELINGUNEASYANDUNSETTLED,IRRITABLEANDINCREASINGLYSHORTTEMPERED;FEELINGLONELYANDWANTINGTOGO“HOME”,FEELINGMOREANDMORELIKEASTRANGEROROUTCAST;FEELINGOVERWHELMED,OVERLOADED,DAYDREAMING,STARINGBLANKLYATTHINGSOREVENSTARINGATNOTHING;BECOMINGMOREANDMOREAFRAIDOFCOMMUNICATINGANDOFMAKINGMISTAKES,WORRIED,ANXIOUSTHESEAREALLSYMPTOMSOFINITIALCULTURESHOCKWHITANEWCONTEXTCOMESNEWWAYSOFDOINGTHINGSBEINGUNINITIATEDANDUNSUREOFWHATTODO,PEOPLEUSUALLYHAVEASTRONGSENSEOFDISPLACEMENTINTHEBEGINNINGBUTTHEGOODNEWSISTHATWEHUMANSAREVERYGOODATADAPTINGTHOUGHALMOSTALLOFUSUNDERGOSOMEDEGREEIFMENTALSTRESSINTHISPERIOD,AFTERAFEWWEEKSORMONTHS,WELEARNHOWTO“READ”OURNEWCONTEXTWEBECOMEAWAREOFTHENEWCUES,THENEWEXPECTATIONS,ANDTHENEWWAYSOFCOMMUNICATINGWITHSOMETRIALSANDERRORS,ANDWITHALOTOFPATIENCEWITHOURSELVES,MOSTOFUSSUCCEEDINOVERCOMINGCULTURESHOCKANDLEARNTOENJOYOURNEWCONTEXTDRDONG’SVISITTOUSWASONLYTHREEWEEKSLONG,BUTBYTHEENDOFTHEFIVEDAYMEDICALCONFERENCE,HEWASALREADYSTARTINGTOFEELMORECONFIDENTSUREHEFELTALITTLEFOOLISHABOUTSOMEOFTHEMISTAKESHEHADMADE,BUTHEQUICKLYLEARNEDTOLAUGHATHISERRORSANDFOUNDTHATHISCOLLEAGUESSMILEDWITHHIMTHISBROKEDOWNTHEBARRIERSTOCOMMUNICATIONANDHELPEDHIMBUILDSOMEGOODPROFESSIONALRELATIONSHIPSANDAFTERTHECONFERENCE,HECONTACTEDTHEFAMILYIHADREFERREDHIMTOANDHADAVERYNICETIMEVISITINGTHEMTHEREWERESOMENEWCULTURALSURPRISES,BUTHEDISCOVEREDHECOULDBETTERUNDERSTANDANDADAPTTOTHEMBYTHETIMEHERETURNEDTOCHINA,HEWASFEELINGQUITEPOSITIVEABOUTHISAMERICANTRIP,ANDWASGLADFORTHENEWEXPERIENCESANDNEWSKILLSITHADGIVENHIMHEHADBECOMESUCCESSFULINTHEINITIALPERIODINANEWCULTURETHOUGHHEHADGONETHROUGHSOMEEMBARRASSINGCULTURESTRESSES,EACHHADPROVENTOBEAVALUABLELEARNINGEXPERIENCE,ANDINTHEENDHADHELPEDHIMOVERCOMEHISCULTURESHOCK

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