CROSS-CULTURAL CONFLICT & ADJUSTMENT


UNIT 2:
CROSS-CULTURAL CONFLICT & ADJUSTMENT

A. Fish Out of Water 

[A] "A fish out of water": This expression has been used to describe someone who is living in a new culture. Such a person will experience a variety of emotional "ups and downs" lasting from weeks to years. Cultural adjustment can indeed be difficult, and newcomers adjust in many different ways. In thinking about how someone will adjust to a new culture, the following questions should be considered:
1. Motivation: Why did the person leave his or her native country? Did the person have a choice, or was he or she forced to leave for political, religious, or economic reasons?
2. Length of stay: How long will the person be in the new country?
3. Language and cultural background: How similar are the language and culture of the new country to the person's native language and culture?
4. Language and cultural knowledge: How well does the newcomer speak the language and understand the culture of the new country?
5. Personality: How flexible and tolerant is the newcomer?
6. Relationships with others: How much support from either family or friends does the newcomer have?
7. Financial situation: What financial resources does the person have?
8. Job: Does the newcomer have a job? Is it a lower status job than the one the person had in the native country?
9. Age: How old is the person?
10. Degree of ethnocentrism; How ethnocentric is the newcomer? Does this person think that the new culture is inferior to his or her culture of origin? To what degree does the newcomer consider everything back home to be "normal" and everything in the new environment to be "strange"?
[B] One might predict that the easiest and fastest adjustment would be made by the flexible, tolerant person who had chosen to come to the new country and who had a job. Additionally, adjustment would be easier for someone whose culture and language are similar to those of the new country. Finally, a person who has a lot of support from friends and family would probably adjust more quickly. Undoubtedly, in many cases, these would be good predictors of a relatively smooth adjustment. However, sometimes there are surprises in people's cultural adaptation to a new country.

B. Unpredictable Cultural Adjustment 
[C] Some newcomers to a society do well in their first year of cultural adjustment. However, they may have a more difficult time later. Perhaps they expected the second year to be as easy and successful as the first year, but are not prepared to deal with obstacles that arise during the second year. Those who had problems from the beginning may actually find the second year easier because they are used to solving problems. They expect difficulties and aren't surprised by them.
[D] There is yet another unpredictable variable in cultural adjustment. Sometimes people come to a second culture speaking the new language very well, but still do not have an easy adjustment. The newcomers think that because they have a good grasp of the language, they will not have much difficulty. In addition, if people think that the new country is very similar to their 'country of origin when, in fact, it is not, they may actually adapt more slowly. This is because the newcomers only imagine the similarity between the two cultures. Therefore they may deny that differences exist. Cultural differences do not go away, of course, just because a person denies that they exist.

C. A Ride on a Roller Coaster 
[E] What happens to someone living in a different culture? The experience can be like riding a roller coaster. People can experience both elation and depression in a very short period. They can vacillate between loving and hating the new country. Often, but not always, there is an initial period when newcomers feel enthusiasm and excitement. The cultural differences they experience at first can be fascinating rather than troubling. At first, there is often a high level of interest and motivation because the newcomers are eager to become familiar with the new culture. Life seems exciting, novel, exotic, and stimulating. However, after a while, the newness and strangeness of being in another country can influence emotions in a negative way. Many people in a new culture do not realize that their problems, feelings, and mood changes are common.
[F] When people are immersed in a new culture, "culture shock" is a typical response. They should anticipate that they will probably feel "bewildered and disoriented" at times. This is normal when people neither speak the language nor understand the details of daily behavior. The newcomer may be unsure, for example, about when to shake hands or when to 'embrace. In some cases, it may even be difficult to know when a person means "yes" or "no".
[G] After all, people can become overwhelmed when deprived of everything that was once familiar. The adult trying to become familiar with another culture may feel like a child. Stress, fatigue, and tension are common symptoms of culture shock. In most cases, however, at least a partial adjustment takes place. This adjustment (even if incomplete) allows the newcomer to function and sometimes succeed in the new country. Certainly, there are many examples of successful adjustment among refugees, immigrants, and others who have settled in the United States. Many have made very notable contributions to American society.

D. From Honeymoon to Culture Shock to Integration 
[H] Reactions to a new culture vary, but experience and research have shown that there are distinct stages in the adjustment process. Visitors coming for short periods do not always experience the same intense emotions as do immigrants from another country. A short-term adjustment for a one-year stay in a country could be represented by the following W-shaped diagram.
[I] The "W" pattern of adjustment can also apply to longer stays (including permanent ones) in another culture. Each stage in the adjustment process is characterized by symptoms or outward signs typifying certain kinds of behavior:
1. Honeymoon period: Initially many people are fascinated and excited by everything in the new culture. The newcomer is elated to be experiencing a new culture. Interestingly, this level of elation may not be reached again.
2. Culture shock: The individuals are immersed in new problems: housing, transportation, employment, shopping, and language. Mental fatigue results from continuously straining to understand the new language and culture.
3. Initial adjustment: Everyday activities such as housing and shopping are no longer major problems. The visitors may not yet be fluent in the spoken language, but they can now express their basic ideas and feelings.
4. Mental isolation: Individuals have been away from their family and good friends for a long time and may feel lonely. Many cannot express themselves as well as they could in their native language. Frustration and sometimes a loss of self-confidence result. Some individuals remain at this stage, particularly if they haven't been able to find a job.
5. Acceptance and integration: A routine (e.g., work, business, or school) has been established. The newcomers have become accustomed to the habits, customs, foods, and characteristics of the people in the new culture. They feel comfortable with friends, associates, and the language in the new country.
The Adjustment Process in a New Culture
[J] Individuals experience the stages of adjustment in different ways. Some people never experience a "honeymoon" period because the circumstances of their coming to a new country may have been too painful. In addition, certain stages last longer for some than for others, depending on such factors as the newcomer's personality, age, language and cultural competence, support from family and friends, financial situation, job status, and motivation for being in the new country.
[K] Can a person accelerate or skip some of the more difficult stages of adjustment? Some people can, yet others cannot. This depends on individuals' ability to cope with changes in their life. Change is easier for some people than for others. Whenever people happen to be experiencing a negative stage of adjustment, they must be extremely patient and let time do its work.
[L] How do people know that they are having problems adjusting to the new culture? Typical "symptoms" include the following:
1. Homesickness
2. Inability to work well
3. Too much eating, drinking, or sleeping
4. Anger toward the members of the new culture
5. Glorifying the native culture and emphasizing the negative in the new culture
6. Withdrawal and avoidance of contact with people from the new culture
7. Lack of ability to deal with even small problems
To a certain extent, all of these reactions are normal, and, in a healthy adjustment, should be relatively short-term. When these responses last a long time or become exaggerated, the person may find it difficult to function on a daily basis. The above list is not complete. The reader can probably think of more "symptoms".
[M] One of the most important things a newcomer can do to facilitate adjustment is to try to develop social relationships with people from one's own country, with other newcomers, and with members of the new culture. It is essential to try to develop a group of people with whom one can share new experiences. This is perhaps one of the fastest ways to begin to feel more at ease in another country.
[N] Sometimes newcomers are eager to integrate and choose to give up their own culture. (Some people refer to this as "going native".) Others are fearful of cultural change and cling even more strongly to their own cultural traditions. Both giving up one's own culture and clinging to one's traditions may be extreme behavior. Studies on cross-cultural adjustment suggest that maintaining a balance between two cultural patterns of behavior and beliefs can be helpful in the long term.
[O] If newcomers try to become aware of cultural differences and make some modifications without attempting to change their basic personality, they will probably adjust fairly well to the new society. Especially in the United States, where there is already so much diversity, the newcomer doesn't need to become a "carbon copy" of an American in order to be a part of the society. Newcomers can retain their individuality while becoming aware of differences. And, of course, some changes will have to be made. Feeling like a "fish out of water" shouldn't last forever.
Exercises:

I. Multiple Choices 





1. The phrase “a fish out of water” refer to: [A]
 a. a person poorly adapted to his or her own culture.
 b. the reaction of a person living in a new culture.
 c. a person who is adjusting well to a new culture.
2. Language fluency does not guarantee smooth adjustment because: [D]
 a. Language fluency is not difficult to achieve.
 b. Although language fluency is needed, “cultural fluency” is also important.
 c. Language fluency is the least important part of cultural adaptation.
3. A person who is adjusting to another culture typically: [A, E]
 a. make steady progress without having difficult times.
 b. is continually depressed.
 c. has “ups” and “downs”.
4. The newness of a country can: [E, F]
 a. be very interesting and motivating for the new comer.
 b. be bewildering and disordering for the newcomer.
 c. both (a) and (b)
5. What are common symptoms of culture shock? [G]
 a. fatigue
 b. tension
 c. both (a) and (b)
6. In most of people’s experience in another country, what usually takes place? [G]
 a. total adjustment
 b. partial adjustment
 c. no adjustment
7. The graph showing cultural adjustment is typical of: [H]
 a. all newcomers, travelers, and immigrants.
 b. some people who spend a year in another country.
 c. refugees who were forced to leave their countries.
8. Why might some people never experience a “honeymoon” stage? [J]
 a. They may have never married.
 b. They may have been forced to leave their country.
 c. They might have to work immediately when they arrive.
9. Why do individuals have different rate of adjustment? [K]
 a. Because some people are extremely patient.
 b. Because the ability to cope with change varies among individuals.
 c. Because some people hate change.
10. One of the fastest ways to begin to feel comfortable in another country is: [M]
 a. to develop a group of friends from your own country.
 b. to share your experiences with one or two individuals.
 c. to develop a group of friends, including people from your own country, other newcomers, and members of the new society.

Answer Key: 
1. b     2. b     3. c     4. c      5. c
6. b     7. b     8. b     9. b     10. c

II. Answer the following questions 
1. In Paragraph A, the authors list ten variables that affect people’s ability to adapt to new culture. What are they? Can you think of others? [A]
2. Why might some people have had an easy first year in another country find the second year more difficult? [C]
3. Why is it normal to experience culture shock? [F, G]
4. What does the term “going native” mean? Why do newcomers “go native”? [N]

Answer Key: 
1. Ten variables: motivation, length of stay, language and cultural background, language and cultural knowledge, personality, relationship with others, financial situations, job, age, degree of ethnocentrism.
2. Perhaps they expected the second year to be as easy and successful as the first year, but are not prepared to deal with obstacles that arise during the second year.
3. Because people neither speak the language nor understand the details of daily behavior.
4. “Going native” means when newcomers are eager to integrate and choose to give up their own culture.
III. Cultural Adjustment Cycle 
The following are direct quotes from people visiting or living in the United States. Based on the information in the reading, what stages in the cultural adjustment cycle are they experiencing?
1. “Frankly speaking, I do not feel that there are many pleasures for me in the United States right now. I am still seriously homesick, but I am getting better. I understand that this is the adjustment period. Hopefully, I will be back to normal soon. I think that when shock and frustration fade away, confidence and certainty of feeling will appear. I do believe that there are pleasures awaiting me.”
Stage of adjustment: 
2. “My feeling about living in a new country are quite complicated, but I can put them in one word: “marvelous”. Everything seems wonderful and fresh to me. You can always learn something new every minute. And you can never tell what will happen the next minute.”.
Stage of adjustment: 
3. “When I arrived in this country, I could only say, “Thank you” and “Good bye”. In spite of that, I had to get an apartment. My situation was really miserable because I couldn’t understand what the managers were saying. They spoke so fast that I didn’t understand anything except “OK?” or “All right?” I almost started crying like a child on the street.”
Stage of adjustment: 

Answer Key: 
1. Initial adjustment
2. Honeymoon period
3. Culture shock

15 comments:

  1. Thanks to my father who shared with me on the topic of this web site, this weblog is
    in fact remarkable.
    Also see my page :: transfer news liverpool football club

    ReplyDelete
  2. I truly love your blog.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you build this website yourself?

    Please reply back as I'm planning to create my own personal website and would love to learn where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Thanks!
    Also visit my homepage :: colonias

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long
    comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't appear. Grrrr... well I'm not writing
    all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic
    blog!

    My blog - maleextra online

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi, I check your blog on a regular basis. Your story-telling
    style is witty, keep it up!

    Review my weblog ... genf20 plus

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's enormous that you are getting thoughts from this article as well as from our discussion made here.

    Also visit my blog post ford ranger forum

    ReplyDelete
  6. Currently it seems like Drupal is the preferred blogging platform out
    there right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

    my website :: ranger forum

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your body has an amazing self-healing mechanism
    built right in it, 30 minutes prior to your breakfast every morning.
    We have all come to learn through artist's stories just how much you consume, cleansing detox diet teas may cause stomach or abdominal pain. Specifically, cleansing detox diet teas are meant to cleanse the digestive systems from within and flush out toxins from the body. Like many other drugs.

    Feel free to visit my website Wallinside.Com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which
    blog platform are you using for this site? I'm getting sick and tired of Wordpress because I've had
    problems with hackers and I'm looking at options for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

    Also visit my web site: alteril review

    ReplyDelete
  9. I delight in, result in I discovered exactly what I was having a look for.
    You have ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man.
    Have a great day. Bye

    Feel free to visit my site :: best Ways to Lose weight

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's not my first time to go to see this web site, i am browsing this web site dailly and take nice data from here every day.

    Look at my homepage: i have toe fungus

    ReplyDelete
  11. Therefore, all the above mentioned changes are taking place in
    the most natural way. Their benefits are huge and they do not harm your
    body. Merely you can consume Cialis to fight against this erection
    problem to provide your partner what she actually requires from you.


    My page vigrxplustruth.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. You are so interesting! I don't suppose I have read through anything like that before. So great to discover another person with some original thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that's needed on the web, someone with some originality!


    Also visit my site: buy breast actives

    ReplyDelete
  13. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article!
    It is the little changes that will make the largest changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

    my site ... erexor Male enhancement

    ReplyDelete
  14. Piece of writing writing is also a fun, if you know
    afterward you can write or else it is difficult to write.


    my page diet plans for women

    ReplyDelete
  15. Woah! I'm really loving the template/theme of this blog. It's simple,
    yet effective. A lot of times it's very hard to get that "perfect balance" between user friendliness and visual appeal. I must say you've done a great job
    with this. In addition, the blog loads super quick for me on
    Firefox. Outstanding Blog!

    my web page - http://capsiplextruth.net/articles/why-choose-capsiplex-weight-loss

    ReplyDelete