Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chapter 4: Avoiding Culture Shock

I’m sure many people, if not all, have been in an unfamiliar situation, and felt disoriented ( Kreitner, Kinicki 116). This is how the authors of the book in chapter four introduce the idea of culture shock, which is the anxiety and doubt caused by an overload of unfamiliar expectations and social signs. We can experience cultural shock when we travel to a foreign country or we begin a new job. As a result, many employees or visitors of a foreign country cannot deal with the unfamiliar. Therefore, they panic and go home or back to their country.

Kara Godwin discusses and brings up the idea that the need for U.S. schools, especially private colleges such as Dominican University, need to incorporate cultural understanding when providing assistance to international students and instructors. There is not enough aid that is placed in these exchange programs such as study abroad. This is causing international students and teachers to be faced with the idea of culture shock. Her article also notes that U.S. institutions continue to ignore the impact of cultural differences on teaching and learning despite the increase in enrollment of foreign students. It cites that most international students are not comfortable with the more interactive and informal style of U.S. education. If we were to try to avoid this idea of cultural shock then our program such as study abroad would be more successful and our international students and teachers would be satisfied with our style of education. They wouldn’t feel as disoriented or perhaps frightened.

Source: GODWIN, KARA A. "Academic Culture Shock." New England Journal of Higher Education 23.5 (2009): 30. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 1 Feb. 2010.


  1. Although I agree that we should make more accomodations for international students, I feel that as part of the study abroad experience, the international students should also adjust to life in a different area. They may not be comfortable with the teaching styles in the U.S. but it is apart of our culture, and therefore, a learning experience for international students. The same thing should be applied for U.S. students traveling abroad. When we're international students in other countries, we may feel uncomfortable in the surroundings, but we should learn to take in the differences and adapt to it. By accepting differences in cultures, we are able to expand our horizons and understandings of other cultures. In order to avoid or soften the effects of culture shock, students from both sides should attend groups that help to deal with and explain things that international students don't understand or aren't use to. By offering support groups, it can help to reduce culture shock and reduce the amount of people who return home too early because they're not use to living in a new place.

  2. I myself am planning on studying abroad next semester in Japan, and one of the things that I truly am worried about is the culture shock that I may experience. As I talked with the International Studies advisor in Dominican, I was faced with different suggestions and choices to help minimize that fear of stepping out of my comfort zone and to learn to adapt to a new environment.

    The one thing that stood out in our conversations was that universities in Japan often offer classes in both English and in Japanese. Her suggestion was that while in Japan, I should take my harder classes in English and take courses on the Japanese culture and language, which most schools offer.

    It made me wonder if any schools in the United States offer the same thing. Because giving the students a piece of home (through taking courses the in the same language they speak, or even support groups, like the person above me said)while being in a foreign place may help ease them into trying out new things.

  3. culture shock is a scary thing at first, but you need to overcome the fear and adapt as fast as you can in order to gain knoweledge of someone elses culture because its a great experience and opportunity