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What You Should Know About Adjusting to a New Culture The Learning Resource Center Loyola Marymount University 310-338-2847.

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Presentation on theme: "What You Should Know About Adjusting to a New Culture The Learning Resource Center Loyola Marymount University 310-338-2847."— Presentation transcript:

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2 What You Should Know About Adjusting to a New Culture The Learning Resource Center Loyola Marymount University

3 How do you feel about living in Los Angeles and attending Loyola Marymount University? Happy? Fearful? Excited? Depressed?

4 If you answered yes to any of these questions, then we have good news for you…. You are perfectly normal!

5 In fact, most people who live in a new culture for very long experience these and many other conflicting emotions.

6 At first, the visitor usually feels fascinated with the new country. However, after many days or weeks of struggling with a new language and different customs,

7 he or she typically begins to feel a roller coaster of emotions.

8 This experiences is often referred to as…

9

10 Sounds scary, right? Well, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Culture shock does not hit like a lightening bolt. It is not fatal, and it need not be debilitating.

11 If you take the time to learn what to expect from this process of cultural adjustment, you should survive it just fine, as millions of people before you have.

12 One good thing about culture shock is that it is predictable. In fact, most experts agree that it involves a four-step process of adjustment that tends to repeat itself in cycles.

13 The steps may not always occur in the exact order they will be presented here, and some steps may be skipped by some people.

14 Remember, everyone is different, and the way you adjust to a new culture may not be exactly the same way your friends adjust.

15 Step One: The Honeymoon Period During the first few days, weeks, or months, the visitor is usually happy to be in the new culture. Everything seems exciting and new, the people are interesting and the future looks bright.

16 After the first few days, weeks, or months, the newcomer may begin to feel like a fish out of water from constantly straining to perform well in a foreign environment. Step Two: The Irritation Period

17 Mental and emotional fatigue often set in at this point. The visitor starts to feel stressed and frustrated from constantly trying to negotiate in a language that may be quite different from what he or she learned in textbooks.

18 Situations that a student could handle easily at home require twice the effort in the new country.

19 Finding housing, registering for classes, making friends, understanding people’s behavior and responding appropriately can begin to feel overwhelming.

20 It is common at this point for the visitor to sometimes feel hostile toward the people of the new culture, who don’t seem to notice the great difficulty that the newcomer is experiencing.

21 Some newcomers may begin to feel that they do not belong, and may be inclined to withdraw from contact with members of the new culture.

22 Step Three: Initial Adjustment With more time spent in the new culture, everyday activities eventually start becoming easier.

23 The student begins to understand and communicate better in the new language, and the customs and expectations of the new culture become clearer.

24 The newcomer feels more able to get the information he or she needs and begins to feel relieved as he or she succeeds at important tasks, such as writing papers or participating in class.

25 Other people may comment to the student that he or she seems more relaxed or happier.

26 Step Four: Acceptance and Integration The student begins to feel “at home” in the new culture. He or she starts to realize that it has both good and bad things to offer, like any culture.

27 The student learns to accept the behavior, customs, food and characteristics of the people in the new culture. He or she develops a greater sense of belonging.

28 At this point, the student has successfullyadapted.

29 Returning Home On returning home to visit or to live, many students experience a “re-entry shock” similar to the four-step process just described. However, the stages of re- adjusting to one’s home culture are usually shorter and less intense.

30 Individual Differences While most experts agree that all students experience some degree of culture shock, the degree to which it is felt generally depends upon personalities,

31 …language ability, emotional support, how long the visitor will stay, and how different the cultures are.

32 Symptoms of Culture Shock The symptoms of culture shock are numerous. Among them are: The symptoms of culture shock are numerous. Among them are: negative changes in eating and sleeping habits negative changes in eating and sleeping habits irritability, sadness, frustration irritability, sadness, frustration being more easily angered than usual being more easily angered than usual

33 feelings of hostility toward the new culture and its people feelings of hostility toward the new culture and its people great homesickness great homesickness withdrawal from people withdrawal from people loneliness loneliness inability to concentrate inability to concentrate depression depression loss of self-confidence loss of self-confidence recurrent illnesses recurrent illnesses

34 How You Can Cope With Culture Shock 1. If you develop symptoms of culture shock, remember that this is perfectly normal. Millions of students before you have survived culture shock, and you will too. 1. If you develop symptoms of culture shock, remember that this is perfectly normal. Millions of students before you have survived culture shock, and you will too.

35 2. Keep in touch with your home country. Call home regularly, watch international television channels, and keep personal photographs where you can see them.

36 3. Take good care of yourself. Eat well, exercise regularly, and be sure you get enough sleep. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to study all night to make up for difficulty listening in class. That will just create more problems for you. 3. Take good care of yourself. Eat well, exercise regularly, and be sure you get enough sleep. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to study all night to make up for difficulty listening in class. That will just create more problems for you.

37 4. Get involved. Make an effort to get out of your room, meet people, develop friendships, go out for coffee, study in groups, and join clubs. You’ll feel better, adjust more quickly, and enjoy your experience at LMU much more this way. 4. Get involved. Make an effort to get out of your room, meet people, develop friendships, go out for coffee, study in groups, and join clubs. You’ll feel better, adjust more quickly, and enjoy your experience at LMU much more this way.

38 5. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. Most Americans will be happy to 5. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. Most Americans will be happy to help you.

39 6. Identify a specific American who is friendly and under- standing, and talk to that person about specific situations and your feelings about them. It will be helpful to you to understand how an American perceives the situations you discuss. 6. Identify a specific American who is friendly and under- standing, and talk to that person about specific situations and your feelings about them. It will be helpful to you to understand how an American perceives the situations you discuss.

40 7. Try not to label things either good or bad as compared to your own culture. Most cultural differences are just that— differences.

41 8. Take advantage of the tutoring and language support services available to you through the Learning Resource Center. To make an appointment, call

42 9. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to someone! Call other international students who are going through similar experiences or call family back home.

43 10. Call the Office for International Students and Scholars at

44 11.Call LMU’s Student Psychological Services at t o make an appointment with a therapist. If you feel you are having an emergency, a therapist will see you without an appointment.

45 Remember to be patient with yourself. Adjusting to a new culture takes time, and it isn’t easy for anyone.

46 However, if you know what to expect from the process of cultural adjustment and do your best to follow the tips outlined here, you should adjust just fine.

47 In fact, you may find, as many students before you have, that living in a new culture becomes one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

48 We at LMU are glad you will have that experience with us. Welcome! Welcome!


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