Culture shock is a real. It can be defined as a sense of discomfort brought about by the inability (a.) to interpret the world around you, (b.) to predict what will happen next, and (c.) to know how to appropriately respond.
The Culture Shock Cycle beings with the incubation/honeymoon stage. The newly arrived student may feel excited and pleased by the new language, environment, and experiences. The students feel positive and happy. Time Frame: 0-6 months.
Next is the disillusionment stage where the student has difficulty in their new environment. Communication is difficult, if not impossible. There is inability to understand procedures. Everything seems good about their native country and bad about the USA )school, food, friends, teachers, etc. The student feels angry, lonely, sad, anxious, and/or depressed. Time Frame: 0 months – 1 year.
The next stage, transitional, is when the student comes to terms with the new culture. There is an understanding and satisfaction with wanting to belong and respond to their new social cultural environment. There is a re-evaluation of the “old ways” versus the new. Time Frame: 1-2 years.
The last stage is appreciation. The student realizes that the new culture has good and bad things to offer. There is a sense of integration of the new culture. The student’s identity becomes bi-cultural and bilingual. There is more solid feeling of belonging and the student starts to establish goals for living in the new culture. Time Frame: 2 years and on.
Please Note: The students can go in and out of different culture shock stages.
For more information on Culture Shock visit Judie Haynes website.
Test what you learned. Listen to the brief mp3 lesson from ESL Lab and take the quiz.