Culture Shock

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University of Iceland
Business and intercultural
Communication (VIÐ512G)
Teacher: Þóra Christiansen 30.11.2010

Culture shock
* my personal experience

Eydís Brynjarsdóttir kt:091085-3569
Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction3
2.0 Definition of culture shock3
3.0 Culture shock lifecycle4
4.0 Culture shock triangle6
5.0 My personal experience8
6.0 Ten steps to minimize culture shock8
7.0 Conclusion9

1.0 Introduction
I chose culture shock for my discussion in this assignment. I will discuss the definition of Culture shock and how it affects people. I will also discuss some theories and in the end I will give a short story from my own experience. 2.0 Definition of culture shock

The definition of culture shock refers generally to the unpleasant experience that people get when they are coming in contact with other cultures than their own. Their experience of a new culture is seen as unpleasant surprise/shock that occurs when expectations do not match reality. Working in a new culture can lead a variety of reactions for an example: * Confusion about what to do

* Anxiety
* Frustration
* Inappropriate behavior
* Depression
All of these are possible reactions to culture shock, which is the shock that we experience when we are confronted with the unknown. Researches show that culture shock can be both short and sharp or long term and deep, and what appears to be the identifier is the degree of difference from one´s own and the host culture, the degree of preparation, social support networks and individual psychological characteristics. The longer time that the individual experiences the culture shock, the greater is the feeling of helplessness and performance deficit. There are several symptoms of cultural shock, but the most common are: * Feeling isolated

* Anxiety and worries
* Reduction in the job performance
* High energy
* Helplessness
The inclusion of high energy is caused by changing the circumstances in the adaption process The longer that the manager experienced the culture shock the greater where the feelings of helplessness and performance deficit. Hofstede differentiate three different states of adaptation comparing feelings and emotions of the residence to the situation in the home culture before the assignment. It may remain negative compared to home, for example, if the visitor continues feeling an monster and discriminated against. It may be just as good as before, in which the visitor can be considered to be adapt bicultural or it may be better. In the last case the visitor has “gone native” it has become more Roman than the Romans. 3.0 Culture shock life cycle

Kalervo Oberg (1901-1973) was an anthropologist, who explained the symptoms and process of adapting a different culture. Oberg listed six main aspects of culture shock: * Strain caused by the effort to adapt

* Sense of loss and feelings of deprivation in relation to friends, status, profession and possessions * Feeling rejected by or rejecting members of the new culture * Confusion in role, values and self-identity

* Anxiety and anger about foreign practices
* Feeling of helplessness
The term cultural shock was first presented by Oberg in 1954, where he outlined the consequences of strain and anxiety resulting from contact with a new culture and the feelings of loss of accustomed cultural cues and social rules. That model puts you through a life cycle of four distinct phases on the way to the final adaption.

Figure 1 Table 1Table 2
The first table shows us the four phases in the adaptation process. The honeymoon phase is the first phase of the process. There are all the encounters in the new place seen exciting, stimulating and positive. The new life is perceived as endless opportunities and happiness. There is curiosity and openness combined with readiness to accept what is to come. “Most importantly in this stage judgment...
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