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Postcards from the U.S. The Cultural Journey of Yi Chen... An International Student.

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Presentation on theme: "Postcards from the U.S. The Cultural Journey of Yi Chen... An International Student."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Postcards from the U.S. The Cultural Journey of Yi Chen... An International Student

3 While living in the US, you may go through 7 phases of cultural adjustment. These phases are symbolized by the photographs on the other side. For example the jet may symbolize the experience of arriving or leaving the US. The bridge may symbolize crossing over to a new culture. 1.Which photograph do you like the most? Why? 2.Using your imagination, try to guess what each picture may symbolize about living and adjusting to U.S. culture. There are no wrong answers. 3.What do you expect to be the most difficult thing about living in the US? Why? Group Discussion © 2000 by David Schaumburg

4 Postcards from the U.S. The Cultural Journey of Yi Chen... An International Student Concept, text, and diagrams of Postcards from the US © 2000 by David Schaumburg. Photographs from Microsoft PowerPoint Used by permission.

5 Introduction Hi! My name is Yi Chen. I am an international student from the People’s Republic of China. I’m a graduate student in Computer Science. I want to share with you some very interesting post cards. They are special because they describe my journey of adjusting to American culture. I hope you enjoy looking at my postcards and the messages that I sent to my family about life in the U.S. These postcards may soon describe your story too. Not everyone will have the same experience that I had in adjusting to American culture, but I hope that you will gain insights from my story that may be helpful to you. Here’s my first postcard…

6 Postcards from the U.S. The Adventure of Arrival

7 The Adventure of Arrival Initial attitudes and experiences in the U.S. Dear Family, It was difficult saying goodbye. My heart was sad to be leaving, yet, excited after many preparations to finally be on my way. As we began to fly over the U.S. I felt as I if was looking out over my future. Many things looked so beautiful. But sometimes there were a lot of clouds in the sky too. This reminded me of some of my doubts about the future. By the time we landed I was very tired from the long flight. Many questions were in my mind. How easy would it be to find the university and a place to live? Would I like the food? How difficult would my studies be? Although I was tired, I told myself that I needed to stay focused on the positive and have an accepting and flexible attitude. I will write you again soon.

8 Postcards from the U.S. The Sandy Slope of Expectations

9 The Sandy Slope of Expectations Expecting the ideal… adjusting to the real Dear Family, I would have written to you sooner but I have been so busy. Everything I do takes more time than I expected. It is like I am moving very slowly through deep sand. Yet all the Americans rush by as if they were on a highway. Obviously they know where they are going and what they have to do. I want to catch up… but it is a slow process. I am excited about some things in the U.S. and disappointed about others. Not everything is as good as I thought it would be. My expectations are slowly changing as I try to learn the reality of living in a new culture.

10 Postcards from the U.S. The Lake of Retreat

11 The Lake of Retreat Personal “retreats” from stress are needed Dear Family, It has already been a few months since I arrived in the U.S. Soon I will be having my first major exams. The stress of living in the U.S. is building up. I feel the pressure to succeed all the time. Last weekend I visited this beautiful lake that reflects a mountain in the background. It reminded me to reflect about home and why I am here. I can’t reach the top of the mountain, but I can enjoy the reflection. I miss you, but my heart is encouraged when I think about your support for me. You may be far away, but I can “travel in my mind” to home and feel better. It’s like taking a mini-vacation. It was so refreshing at the lake that I wished I could stay forever. But I did the right thing. I went back to school.

12 Postcards from the U.S. The Forest of Culture Shock

13 The Forest of Culture Shock Feeling “lost” in a new culture Dear Family, It is hard to believe that my first semester is over. It feels good to have a break in my studies, yet it gives me time to realize how much I miss home. There is a beautiful forest close to the campus. One day I decided to take a walk in the forest. But, soon I was lost. After an hour I found my way back. That is what my life is like right now. When I first entered the “forest” of U.S. culture, it looked so inviting and beautiful. Yet, the deeper I go into the “forest” of this culture, I feel like I am lost. Life in the U.S. can be overwhelming. I am tired of always thinking in English, frustrated with U.S. customs, critical of Americans, and tired of the food. My counselor tells me I have a common sickness. It’s called “homesickness!” I will try to write you again soon.

14 Postcards from the U.S. The Uphill of Cultural Adjustment

15 The Uphill of Cultural Adjustment Finding ways to successfully live in a new culture Dear Family, I am learning that it takes extra effort to live in a new culture. It is an uphill climb. When I get discouraged I remember what my international student counselor said, “Other international students have made it… you can too! You don’t have to create a new path. The road to success, even though it is uphill, is well traveled.” I am learning that the road to success includes a proper diet, rest, exercise, making new friends, and learning to accept differences without having to agree. It helps a lot that I have made many new friends, including fellow international students and an American family. My friends have helped me realize that I am not alone. I realize my feelings are normal and I can succeed if I keep climbing the hill of cultural adjustment.

16 Postcards from the U.S. The Lighthouse of Guidance

17 The Lighthouse of Guidance Navigating through cultural change Dear Family, Before coming to the U.S., I never knew life had so many choices. Sometimes it is difficult to know which changes to make. During spring break I visited a lighthouse that was used to guide ships during bad weather. Sometimes I wish I had a lighthouse to guide me through all the changes and choices I face. I want to choose what’s best, but it is difficult to know how. Many of my ideas are changing and I am becoming “bi-cultural.” I never thought this would happen to me, but it has. I hope you will accept these changes. One thing, though, will never change: my devotion and respect for you.

18 Postcards from the U.S. The Bridge to the Future

19 The Bridge to the Future Stepping into the future with confidence Dear Family, In one year I will complete my studies. I do not know what the future holds. If I return home, I know there will be new adjustments because I am not the same person who left home. If I am able to stay in the U.S., I will probably even change more. Although the future is “cloudy,” the bridge I must cross is the same for everyone. It’s a bridge of self-confidence. I may not be able to control my future, but I can control my attitude. When I reflect on my earlier experiences in the U.S., there were times when everything seemed out of control. Now my confidence has been rebuilt. I have decided to move ahead, believing that the path will become clear as I take each step. Thank you for all you have done to make my journey possible.

20 Postcards from the U.S. The Cultural Journey of Yi Chen... An International Student

21 Postcards from the U.S. The Cultural Journey of Yi Chen... An International Student

22 Group Discussion & Activity 1.Describe for the group what you were thinking and feeling when you first “landed” (arrived) in the U.S. 2.If you were to write a postcard to your family what would the message say? Share this with the group. 3.Mail a postcard to your family and share some of your experiences since arriving in the U.S. You may want to send them a postcard of the university campus. 4.Keep a journal of your experiences in the US. Review the postcards once a semester and record your progress in your journal.


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