Saturday, March 6, 2010

Culture Shock or Re-entry Shock: Which is more difficult?

What do you think is more challenging: going overseas to live in a new country (possible culture shock) OR returning back to your home country after being abroad for some time (re-entry shock)? What have been your experiences in this regard? Are there situations in which a student might find it more challenging to return to his/her home country, especially when the freedom(s) they enjoyed overseas is not the same when they return home? Share your ideas on this topic. I have also create a Web page on the topic:

http://www.tips4students.com/culture.htm

Randall

5 comments:

  1. I think going abroad to live in a new country is more difficult.Because everything you experience in that country are certainly strange to you.And the people there are very different from you, so you have to restart to learn how to get along wiht them. So I think its very lonely for a person living in a different culture's country.

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  2. Hello everyone,

    I've never been abroad for a long period of time. I have once been to Texas for a 3-week intensive course on American Culture and the English Language Use/Usage. I've always thought the most challenging aspect of life in a foreign country are the cultural differences. No matter how fluent you are in the language, there'll always be some sort of misunderstanding with regard to culture that will eventually impede effective communication. It has always been one of my concerns, which is something not to worry about in our hometown.
    Best,
    Bruno (BRA)

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  3. Hello. I'm a Korean ESL student. I've been learning English for a long time and still looking for opportunites to improve my skills.

    I think re-entry shock is more difficult: I have a story which I think can serve as an example case on this topic. A friend of mine went Canada on his 5th grade and has lived there since then. He and his family must have experienced culture shock there, say, having to pay high taxes. (It's not the case here in this country.) And many other things could have affected him. But the family soon blended in. His father started out as a hamburger seller and has worked hard to help his son get admission from UT. The family has made a big success and wealthy.
    But when they paid a short visit to Korea, they were shocked. I can't exactly know what they experienced back here, but the family simply made a comment, saying people are "mad" here. They don't want to come back again, and they seemed to be especially disappointed with youngsters.

    Well I think I've not been logical and persuasive on this issue but I think re-entry shock's more difficult anyways.

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  4. From my personal experience as an exchange student in the USA, I can say that re-entry shock was way more difficult for me. I don't remember having any problems adopting to American culture as I was so excited to learn to see things from a different perspective. Everything seemed so new and interesting to me. But I do remember suffering from that terrible depression when I just got back to my home country. Maybe it's because I realized that I might never be able to see so many people that became good friends to me over that year... I also think that you can soothe culture shock by stopping judging another culture. Rather than criticizing it, you should just accept that different way of thinking and doing things and try to understand that
    different perspective.

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  5. I definitely think reentry is more difficult. Because when you go to a new country you expect and other people expect that you'll have an adjustment period. But when returning to your own country people, family, and yourself, generally think you will just pick up where you left off and be the same person you were before you left, when that isn't true at all. We see this a lot with teachers returning to the States from teaching abroad. There should be some kind of reentry plan or help or something! It is interesting that some groups of people (Christian missionaries) have a detailed reentry plan and even a reentry team for the returning person. Maybe a similar type of reentry support group could help teachers.

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Thanks for posting a comment. I appreciate your interesting in sharing your ideas.

Best,

Randall