HOCHSCHULE country for students it is to mention that

HOCHSCHULE
BONN–RHEIN–SIEG

University
of applied sciences

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Department of Management Sciences

Sankt Augustin

 

 

 

Term paper

to acquire a certificate of
performance

in the course

“Intercultural Communication”

 

 

Culture shock:
                                                                                        Stages
explained and how to alleviate it

 

 

 

 

 

Supervisor :                        Miss,
Eileen, Kuepper

Submission date
:            16.01.2018

Submitted by :                  Anna, Nienkemper

Matriculation
number : 9031994

Address :                             53111 Bonn

Dorotheenstr. 1

E-mail :                                [email protected]

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

List of figures…………………………………………………………………..    III

List of abbreviations…………………………………………………………..    IV

1          Introduction.…………………………………………………………..    1

2          Definition………………………………………………………………    2

3          Stages of
Culture Shock……………………………………………    2

            3.1
Excitement Phase…………………………………………………   2

            3.2 Disenchantment Phase…………………………………………..   3

            3.3 Beginning Resolution Phase……………………………………..  4

            3.4 Effective Functioning Phase……………………………………..   4         

            3.5 The U-Curve Model……………………………………………….   5

4          Critics…………………………………………………………………..    6

            4.1
Zuckerman, 1978………………………………………………….   6

            4.2 Adler (1975) and David (1972)…………………………………..    6

5          How to
alleviate Culture Shock……………………………………   7

6          Conclusion…………………………………………………………….   8

Bibliography……………………………………………………………………   V

Lieu of
oath…………………………………………………………………….    VI       

           

             
LIST OF FIGURES

Figure
1: The U-Curve Model………………………………………………..    5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

 

CS
= Culture Shock

1.   
Introduction

 

Thousands
and thousands of Students all over the World are entering foreign countries to live
abroad for a time while studying. Sometimes just for a short period of time but
otherwhiles for chapters in one’s life. It’s part of today’s society to
experience different cultures and get connected with people all over the
planet. Helpful for own social contacts but also later for finding the perfect
job and becoming what one has ever dreamed of. But new cultures often imply
huge differences to familiar and own behaviour or mannerisms. Focusing on how
these differences influence especially the beginning of living in another
country for students it is to mention that there is a special term for this way
of behaviour and feeling.

The
“Culture Shock”.

The
Culture Shock became more and more important because of evolving society, changing
world structure/infrastructure and ever-changing stages of globalization. Therefore,
the aim of this paper is to reveal stages of Culture Shock so it can be
detected easier and give advices to solve upcoming problems between different
cultures for exchanging students.

Also
questioned is, if the stages of Culture Shock are differentiated correctly and
if there are any impacts Culture Shock has on quality of living or being
productive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.   
Definition
of “Culture Shock”  

 

To
define the term of Culture Shock one can generally say that it is “a mental
state that comes from the transition that occurs when you go from a familiar
environment to an unfamiliar one and find that your old, established patterns
of behaviour are ineffective.”1 So to simplify it is kind
of a natural reaction to unknown environments and especially their culture and
behaviour. The term was first used by Kalervo
Oberg in 19542.
He was an US-American anthropologist who also evolved the phase model with
stages of Culture Shock which are also presented later in this Paper. Today
some other influences are also adduced to Oberg’s initial ones.

It
do not only lead to disruptions in daily life but also to one’s routines, ego
and self-image.3
Today’s typical view led to a model composed of four stages and the figure of
the ‘U-Curve’ to analyse the process of Culture Shock vividly.

 

 

3.   
Stages
of Culture Shock

 

In
common there are four different stages the Culture Shock can be divided in. Although
the stages cannot be precisely isolated from each other and not everyone passes
these stages automatically. In the following paragraphs, the stages are going
to be presented extensive and shown in form of the ‘U-Curve’ at the end. To
mention them by name the stages are divided into the Excitement Phase, Disenchantment Phase, Beginning Resolution Phase and
Effective Functioning Phase.4

 

 

 

3.1. Excitement
Phase/Honeymoon

In this Phase
everything new is exciting, interesting and differences to the own and familiar
situations or mannerisms are seen as something good and special. It is exciting
to meet new people that behave different than ones in home country. A lot
differences appearing in the new culture can lead to motivational push or the
volition to face new differences and learn more about country and culture. You
get excited by rather small things like smells or sounds. So, one can kind of
say that everything new and different is good in this stage of entering a new
country. Often it is also called the honeymoon phase of entering a foreign
country. Students are really in love with it and think the decision to go
abroad was the best they have ever had.

 

3.2. Disenchantment
Phase/Crisis

Here you got to know
the country and its mannerisms already a while. You start noticing some things
that were not as imagined. It is often mentioned as the period of crisis.5 Difficulties in language
or other barriers appear. Students experience feelings like disappointment and
start feeling sad about things that do not work at first try. It leads to lack
of motivation and everything seems to be awful.6 Furthermore just small
differences are handled as catastrophes and this leading to massive stress and
frustration. The people from the host country seem to be cold and you start
developing prejudices. At last the sojourners start feeling homesick. They get
some messages from home and even small or unimportant news are treated like
major events one is missing. Just some good weather or a new shop opening can
be reasons for intensifying the feeling of homesickness and do not feeling
welcome in the host country. Some typical Symptoms are disorientation, feelings
of rejection, homesickness, mental and physical illness, feeling misunderstood
or even withdraw from your stay abroad.7

3.3. Beginning
Resolution Phase/Recovery

Since beginning of the
project of living abroad the sojourner already spent some time in his host
country. Slowly the understanding for the other culture increases. He gets to
know the mannerisms and behaviours that were so different to the ones from his
home country at first. Starting to accept and maybe even implement some less
different aspects in the host country. Now exchanging students know how to
behave or how to do things in order to get along with the culture and natives.
Maybe it’s about driving by car on the other side of the street or accepting
different work times. The sojourner really gets to know more about the
background of the culture to understand better how and most important why it
works the way it does8 because the really
emotional stage is over and one can concentrate way better on the important
ways to achieve new knowledge. Success can be seen and motivates the visitors.
Misunderstanding do not automatically lead to stress or frustration, moreover
often it ends in funny situations that can be laughed away. The attitude of “as
long I am Here, I should make the most out of it”9 develops. At last
everything starts to seem more logic because there is no overthinking of every
action, gesture or other expression from oneself or the host natives anymore.
The acceptance and adjustment slowly takes place. Sojourners do not exactly
identify oneself with the culture and its mannerisms but they get along with
it. To say it in general the visitors see everything more objective and the
“individual is now a more fully functioning person and is less dependent on
others.”10

 

3.4. Effective
Functioning Phase/Adjustment

The last phase is
labelled as a stage of adaption. The sojourner accepted the host culture and
can be seen as a part of it. In contrast to the third phase the individual does
not face any problems or setbacks anymore because he or she is in content with the
cultural behaviour. Now it is possible to identify oneself with the host
culture. Exploring new differences do not affect you in a negative way anymore.
Oneself can solve upcoming problems or questions. Of course you see some more
efficient styles of doing something in some time but you think about solutions
in another way. A more host culture oriented way. So complete understanding
isn’t what you need to accept the host culture moreover it is the way of
thinking how a host native would interact and be eased with the run of events.
Often the Sojourners become attached to the host country a second time (as in
the Excitement Phase) and enjoy living with their current situation.11

 

3.5. The
U-Curve Model

In
1955, Sverre Lysgaard developed the U-shaped Curve of Cultural Adjustment that
described the stages of Culture Shock people go through when living in a new
culture.

Figure 1

The Model of the
U-Curve describes the progress of the Culture Shock. On the x-axis the time and
on the y-axis the stage of mood is shown. So, to describe the progress it can
be said that entering the country abroad the honeymoon phase is one of the more
tensioned stages of the experience and the sojourner is feeling good. After
some time, the excitement alleviates more and more until the minimum is reached
by undergoing the crisis. Then a slow but processing recovery starts and leads
to the maximum tension point and the adjustment to the host culture. Naming
some time intervals can be different because all individuals undergo the stages
in different pace. Some say it takes a year to adjust to the new culture others
say it take way briefer or longer. But individuals living in a host country for
a very long time often undergo these Curve more than one time. After reaching
the Adjustment which is leading into a new Honeymoon they sometimes discover
some new differences and problems that cannot be solved by first try.12

 

 

4.   
Critics
on the Phase Model

 

Besides every negative
or suffering description of Cultural Shock there are some opinions that CS is
indeed a helpful and good solution for a person’s self-development and brings
positive consequences with it.13

 

4.1. Zuckerman,
1978

Often the Culture Shock
is associated negatively and suffering of the individual. But some people do
not undergo these stages of suffering. They do not experience negative aspects
that are mentioned above. These experiences lead to enjoyment for those called Sensation Seekers.14

4.2. Adler
(1975) and David (1972)

Another view is about the
development of this individual and the gains it gets from Culture Shock. It do
not suffers from it but rather obtains new values, attitudes, and behaviour
patterns. The difficulties the sojourner faces make him or her more adaptable,
flexible and insightful.15

 

5.   
How
to alleviate Culture Shock for exchange Students

 

There are ways to make
exchange students feel better and relieve some consequences of Culture Shock
for them. At first it is important to be aware of the Culture Shock. If a
student is planning to go abroad he or she should inform him-/herself about
this common problem nearly everyone is facing. With a overview what can and
probably will happen one can easily prepare itself to undergo these stages. Also
one should always consider problems that are probably going to be faced abroad.
The Students prepare themselves by learning to be more patient and to keep
one’s cool even in harder situations. They should give themselves the
permission to fail at any time and do not set themselves under pressure.
Furthermore a painstaking care is important. One should keep a good team in
host and native country to ask for help or support at any time or situation.
Finding people that are in the same situation as oneself can simplify nearly every
situation and a team is always stronger than one person itself. Probably
overcoming the homesickness is one of the hardest parts in alleviating the
Culture Shock. Often it can be helpful to talk to family or friends or watch
the favourite movie at very urgent times of missing home. Another aspect is
learning. Learning the language make everything concerning the host country way
easier. Meeting natives, being independent, going to sports classes or other
free time activities. And last but not least they really should be interested
in the host culture. Trying typical cultural things, experiencing their
mannerisms or special events like the carnival in Brasil, the ‘Oktoberfest’ in
Germany or the St. Patricks Day in Ireland. Considering some or even all of this
aspect can help to alleviate consequences of Culture Shock for exchanging
students.16

6.   
Conclusion

To conclude all results
of this paper one can say that it is of particular importance to consider
Culture Shock in today’s society. Through globalization and ever-changing
connection worldwide the intercultural work and living abroad became essential.
Although this paper only helps to understand the stages nearly every Sojourner
undergoes while staying abroad it can be considered as kind of a preparation to
understand better what exactly oneself is going to face while this experience.
But not only as a preparation but also as a guide when facing problems.
Behaving in an appropriate way to solve upcoming problems or difficulties.

Summing up the
contentual results one can say that the Culture Shock basically is made of four
phases. Excitement, Crisis, Recovering and Adjustment which are all part to
lead to the Integration into a new culture. The own one is not lost but you get
to know another one almost as your own. By criticizing the term or the phase
model of Culture Shock only a minimal limitation is given to consequences and
results of it. It also considers advices one can consider for alleviating
Culture Shock. Things like making yourself comfortable in your new home or
informing oneself about the host country can help to switch things up. But one
has to be aware that this paper is focussing on the situation of an
international students. In terms of working or just travelling for fun there
can maybe considered other aspects as well.

For the future, the
topic of Culture Shock and its consequences will be as important as in today’s
society. Maybe even more. The globalization and intercultural connections
probably won’t stop and so finding yourself in other cultures and accepting
other people in your own culture will be playing an important role to conduce a
successful society.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

William
B Gudykunst, Young Yun Kim (1992):

Readings on Communicating
with Strangers: an approach to intercultural communication.

 

Larry
A Samovar, Richard E Porter, Edwin R McDaniel (2009):

Communication between
cultures.

 

Iris
Varner, Linda Beamer (2011):

Intercultural Communication
in the global Workplace; fifth Edition

 

What
is Culture Shock, and what can I do to avoid it?

https://www.hziegler.com/articles/culture-shock.html

 

MARLIN
R. McCOMB, GEORGE M. FOSTER (June 1974):

Kalervo Oberg,
American Anthropologist, Vol 76 Issue 2

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1525/aa.1974.76.2.02a00260/abstract

 

Wolfgang und Nora Krahl (Kalervo Oberg):

Cultural Shock: Adjustment to
new cultural environments; Reprint

https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/39371089/cu29_2-3_2006_S_142-146_Repr_Oberg.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A=1516034536=uGWXSwa8HqfiF63zTY7U0YNR%2Bs0%3D-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DCultural_Shock_Adjustment_to_new_cultura.pdf

 

The 4 Stages of
Culture Shock

https://medium.com/global-perspectives/the-4-stages-of-culture-shock-a79957726164

 

Figure 1

https://www.missouristate.edu/advising/international/160467.htm

 

Four Common
Stages of Cultural Adjustment

https://www.princeton.edu/oip/practical-matters/Cultural-Adjustment.pdf

Affirmation
in lieu of oath

 

I hereby declare in lieu of oath that I have
written this paper on my own. Any

passages taken literally or analogously from
other published or unpublished

works are indicated as such. Any sources and
aids used for this paper have

been referenced appropriately. This work has
not been submitted with the same

content resp. in substantial parts to any other
examination office.

 

 

__________ __________                                     ____________________

Place             Date
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1 Communication between Cultures, Seventh Edition; Samovar et al,
2009, p. 397

2 American Anthropologist, Volume 76 – Issue 2, June 1974, McComb;
Foster, p.357-360

3 Culture Shock: Reactions to Unfamiliar Environments, Furnhem;
Bochner, 1989, p. 250

4 Communication between Cultures, Seventh Edition; Samovar et al,
2009, p. 398f.

5 Communication between Cultures, Seventh
Edition; Samovar et al, 2009, p. 398

6 Dynamics of intercultural Communication, fourth Edition; Dodd, p.
213

7 Communication between Cultures, Seventh Edition; Samovar et al,
2009, p. 397

8 Intercultural Communication in the Global
Workplace, fifth Edition, Varner; Beamer, 2011, p.18

9 ‚Four Common stages of cultural adjustment’ Internet source; for
link see bibliography

10 The five stages of Culture Shock: Critical Incidents around the
World, Pedersen, 1995, p.201

11 “What is Culture Shock, and What Can I do
to Avoid it?”, Helen Ziegler aA, 2018, (Internet source)

 

12 Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace, fifth Edition,
Varner; Beamer, 2011, p.18

13 Readings on Communicating with strangers: An approach to
intercultural Communication; Gudykunst, Kim, 1992, p.340

14 Cf. Readings on
Communicating with strangers: An approach to intercultural Communication;
Gudykunst, Kim, 1992, p.339

15 Cf. Readings on Communicating with strangers: An approach to
intercultural Communication; Gudykunst, Kim, 1992, p.339

16 Cf. “What is Culture Shock, and What Can I do to Avoid it?”, Helen
Ziegler aA, 2018, (Internet source)

The 4 Stages of Culture Shock (see
Bibliography); Cultural Shock: Adjustment to new cultural environment (internet
source; see Bibliography)