Culture shock.

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Culture in simplicity is a body of learned behavior, a collection of beliefs, habits and traditions, shared by a group of people and successively learned by people who enter the society. Furthermore, culture is learned, not inherited. If this is correct, then it can be assumed that it is not impossible to learn new cultural traits and to unlearn old ones. Therefore, it must be feasible to integrate cultural differences. Cultural adaptation would involve many essentials as, language; verbal and non-verbal, economics, religion, politics, social institutions, values, attitudes, manners, customs, material items, aesthetics and education.

Culture shock is primarily a set of emotional reactions to the loss of perceptual reinforcements from one's own culture to new cultural stimuli, which have little or no meaning. In layman's terms, culture shock is the anxiety resulting from losing one's sense of when to do what and how. There are many different ways to experience culture shock. It can be experienced across the world or as near as one's backyard. Some aspects of culture shock include strain caused by the effort to adapt, sense of loss and feeling of deprivation, status, profession, possessions, feelings of rejection and rejecting members of the new culture, confusion in role, values, self-identity crisis, anxiety, disgust, anger on foreign practices and feelings of helplessness of not being capable of adapting to the new environment. Culture shock is a widely experienced phenomenon when people enter a different country. Many Americans would venture that they consider themselves very culturally accepting. Often, when these same Americans travel abroad, they experience culture shock. It is not always a negative thing. Often it is just the shock of being in a place that is completely different in every way from anything one has ever known.

The first Push factor is that operating in an unfamiliar environment is stressful and "hard work." Secondly, it leads to feelings of helplessness as well as self-doubt. The role of an individual may be confused due to the new environment. Lastly, the more one learns about a different culture, the more visible differences become. The different practices could disgust a person, and the person would feel "guilty" because they "failed to respect local customs." A good example is walking through a door regardless of other people coming behind. I did it so many times with a clear mind not knowing how detrimental in was to my reputation on campus. So many kids misunderstood my ignorance to certain American cultural norms and hated me with a passion. The two Pull factors are loss of status and the ever-common homesickness. Whenever something new happens to me, mostly in shock, I remember home. I feel so demoralized and want to return back home.

The stages do not always have smooth transition and take a different amount of time for each different individual. There is the initial contact, disintegration of the old familiar cues, reintegration of new cues, gradual autonomy and independence. Each stage is described according to the individual's perceptions, emotional ranges, behaviors and interpretations of these. Disintegration is a period of confusion and disorientation where the differences become increasingly noticeable as different behaviors, values, and attitudes are introduced. The next stage is reintegration, which is characterized by a strong rejection of the new culture. This is the stage when visitors to a new and different country like me usually return home. It is when an individual wants to return to what they're used to and know. Autonomy is when there is a rising sensitivity to the understanding of the new culture. The individual is relaxed and capable of understanding what happens around them. This stage is marked by the growth of personal flexibility and the development of appropriate coping skills. The last stage is independence. This is described as attitudes, emotionality, and...
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