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 discusses culture shock


 discusses culture shock. Even if a student is not aware of the culture shock, he or she is always aware of the differences in culture and social setting. A student in this context is basically a sojourner who stays temporarily in another social setting. So is a worker or the missionaries or armed forces. In order to perform efficiently it is important for these people to adapt to the new culture. This adaptation might be costly to them in terms of both individual and physical health conditions. The United States has been witnessing the largest inflow of foreign students. The exchange of education provides a very useful instance to reflect this phenomenon. In 1955 the number was around 34000 from the overseas and it grew to 450000 in 1996. As a result of the rising levels of migration from the economically backward nations to the wealthier ones, the societies are moving form predominantly mono-cultural to multicultural setting. Societies of US, Britain and Canada are eventually transforming themselves into culturally diverse ones. As the ambience of an individual changes or as the person relocates to a different cultural background, he or she needs to build some new perspectives or thoughts along with behaviors in order to fit into the new surroundings. A culture shock is basically a process instead of being a particular event and its impact grows weaker as it recurs in the life of the same person. This is because the individual learns new strategies to adapt to these changes once he faces the new situation. (Pederson, vii) The paper will emphasize upon the culture shock related experiences encountered by students who move abroad to earn a foreign degree and eventually work there or return to their home country. Culture Shock – theoretical frameworks A culture is referred as the collective psychological plan formation of the human mind. While the time one takes his food is decided by his human nature driven by hunger, the way the food is eaten is decided by one’s culture (using fork or using hands). Again whether an individual is going to choose the fork and knife to eat i an individual decision irrespective of what the cultural programming suggests or what the society infers.(Nunez, Mahdi, and Popma, 5) The theoretical setting of similarity attraction hypothesis is applicable in this circumstance. This hypothesis states that an individual tends to interact, feel comfortable with and trust people with whom they share something common in the cultural settings. This might include religion, values and beliefs apart from interests and other characteristics. Cross cultural communications occur between the people who tend to differ in terms of these essential characteristics. Another theory which might be studied in this respect is the cultural distance hypothesis. In this theoretical setting, the geographical distance plays a major role in understanding the cultural differences. For instance Australia and New Zealand are comparatively more similar in terms of cultural setting compared to India and USA. The more the cultural distance is, the greater is the probability of experiencing cultural shock. In fact empirical evidence can prove that Australian executives are more comfortable working in Auckland than at Taipei (Ward, Bochnan and Furnham, 9). The experience of a student who moves aboard for his studies usually undergoes five stages of culture shock.

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