Wry Exchange

Exchange Student Culture Shock
08-16-08, 6:48 pm
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Students | Tags:

Good article from Worldwide Classroom about culture shock. Here’s one from Wiki.

A simplified definition of culture shock is that everything you assume to be normal and typical isn’t.  All the stuff you do throughout the day without thinking can be done differently throughout the world.

Bathroom differences are huge. One of my girls is in Brasil, and the shower temperature isn’t adjustable.  It’s a steady barely lukewarm.  She doesn’t feel well, and really wanted to take a long hot shower.  A long hot bath was her first choice, but her new home doesn’t have a bathtub.  I picked up Chileans and Bolivians, and have to tell each of them to throw the TP in the toilet.  I forgot to tell one of my newbies, and his hostdad had to have the talk with him.

We eat cereal, eggs, or cold pizza for breakfast.  Other cultures may eat bread with a slice of ham, mushed up avocado on bread, or fish soup.  If you’ve gone your entire life with lunch as the main meal, it’s a shock to have a light lunch.  It’s the same if dinner has always been at 6:00pm, and now it’s 10:00pm.  

There are several stages to culture shock.  Honeymoon-everything is new, different, and fun.  Pissy-everything is new and different.  Humph!  Integration-The new begins to feel familiar.   Completely integrated-you understand the new and old cultures and how they can co-exist inside.  Reverse culture shock-when the experience is over, and you’re expected to go on with your old life.


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