Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Culture shock- Chapter 1: PROBLEMS OF MOVING (Abroad)

LIVING ABROAD by Psychologist Cathy Tsang-Feign Excerpt from Chapter 1: PROBLEMS OF MOVING
This represents just one partial excerpt from Chapter 1.
Culture shock

Problems of Moving After selling or letting the house, shipping the furniture, and attending the farewell parties, most people feel they are all ready to go. However, moving abroad requires more than just physical preparations.
      An individual or family relocating overseas is about to undergo tremendous changes in their life. Besides the normal adjustments associated with moving -- setting up house, finding new friends, familiarizing themselves with new geography and climate -- new expatriates face a host of other changes.
      They will be intrigued -- and repelled -- by new sights, sounds, smells and ways of thinking and living. Changes in cultural identity, social position and etiquette will all take getting used to. Foreign languages, dress, food and customs are all part of the excitement and challenge of moving to a new land.
      An individual cannot help but react to all the new stimuli and influences in his or her life. The reaction is not a single event, but a mixture and series of emotions, ranging from elation to depression to infatuation to homesickness. This mixed bag of reactions is commonly known as "Culture Shock".
      Most people who move overseas expect to experience this phenomenon. Many believe it is something like jet lag: an adjustment you go through and get over with within a short period of time. In fact, the experience is better defined as acculturation, a process which can last from six months to more than a year.
      Anyone who moves to another country will inevitably go through acculturation. Immigrants expect to take on a new cultural identity and therefore are more willing to adjust and adapt. However, expatriates planning to stay only a set period of time usually have no intention to assimilate. For them, acculturation can be as unpleasant as it is unexpected.
"I've only been here four months, yet I just can't wait till my home leave in December!"

Benjamin, a marketing buyer, was transferred to Hong Kong on a two-year contract. A few weeks ago he began to complain about the crowds, the weather, not being understood by his staff and so on. All he talks about are how much better things were back home. He is more:

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