Culture Shock: Essay

Literature Review

Words 1,300

According to the culture shock rationalization, the time when persons encounter unfamiliar surroundings, they start having a sense of uncertainty and vulnerability (Sue, 1981, 45). These unconstructive feelings develop when the foreign students realise that their past adaptive behaviours and skills are now ineffective in dealing with the new socio-cultural environment.  Furthermore, due to temporary nature of stay, the students have a short time frame to adjust swiftly to the altered principles and philosophy to which they are not used to in their native country. Therefore they tend to experience more psychological turmoil as they face the changed environment and a different set of values.

The phrase culture shock was originally introduced by anthropologist Kalervo Oberg in the late 1950s. Oberg (1960, 178) described it as a “sickness” experienced by persons setting in a new cultural setting. According to him, culture shock stemmed from the loss of familiar cultural symbols and representations, leading to individuals to experience apprehension, disturbance, and vulnerability.  Since the time of Oberg this term has undergone many changes, it has been constantly changed and renamed in research. For instance, culture shock has been defined differently by different people and academicians, Befus, (1988, 397) and Searle & Ward, (1990, 454) believe it to be cross-cultural adjustment other think it is culture learning (Paige, 1990, 172), stress of f cultural adjustment (Anderson, 1994, 312). Despite its numerous explanations, academics appear to concur that culture shock means the manifold needs for change that individuals go through at different levels which include behavioural, cognitive, psychological, collective, and physiological levels, when they move to other cultural surroundings (Searle & Ward, 1990, 459).

 

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