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Culture Shock

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Essay title: Culture Shock

Culture Shock Essay

The United States of America is a country in which many people from all over the world come to live together. Unlike Canada, which is a multicultural country, it is a melting pot since each person brings his/her own peculiarity to enrich the culture of this country. But this melting pot process is not always without problems. When people from other countries come to America, they may experience some form of culture shock. Culture shock is a state of bewilderment, anxiety, disorientation, and distress as an individual is suddenly exposed to a social or cultural environment much different from his/her own. (Spradley, James) Culture shock happens frequently for international students and immigrants who come to America. These conflicts of culture appear not only when students come to school and learn new ways of living, but also when they go back home and live with their own families or their own societies. The reason for that is the students are young and easy to change, but the adults are not ready to follow their examples and adapt to the new situation.

Most people who come to America from other countries are not prepared to live here; therefore they may suffer stress caused by culture shock. For instance student teacher relationships in North America are not the same as other countries. Hong Kong students for instance have a high regard for their teachers. In Hong Kong students never call their teacher by their first name, because it's not respectful to the teacher. Also, they hesitate to ask or to answer questions in class because they don't want to lose their face in showing their ignorance in front of the class, and sometimes because their English is not good enough to form a clear question. And if they give the wrong answer it not only humiliates them but also brings shame on their families. Hong Kong students are taught to be modest and not to display their knowledge freely until being specially called for. All these things can lead to misunderstandings since most American teachers highly promote class participation. It's a normal thing that American teachers expect Asian students to ask them to explain something difficult. However, most Hong Kong students don't do that as we have seen earlier. Moreover, their feedback sometimes leads to more misunderstandings. When teachers see their students listening to them, smiling or nodding, they imagine that these students understand the subject very well. In reality, some students mask their emotions and just act like that to be polite, since they think that if they would ask a question, the teachers would be hurt for their teaching was not clear enough for the class. (Watkins, David) Many teachers do not treat their minority students as intelligent students, and perhaps as a result, their minority students fail in their classes. In Hong Kong, students stay in the same classroom with a fixed seat everyday in a same year while their teachers come to their class to teach them. Therefore, students can have many friends who always do the same things with them. This helps to build a closer and stable relationship between students. Students are more interdependent. Here in America, the people are more individualistic. People only pursue their own personal achievement and fulfillment. Relationships between people are often many but temporary or casual.

People in America don't feel it's polite to ask someone's age, for people don't want to show that they are old. Americans have plastic surgery and do anything they can to maintain the appearance of being young. In Chinese culture, the elderly are much more respected for they are considered as knowing the secret of life, and, therefore, wiser than the youngsters. So Asian people are not hesitant to ask and tell their ages. Body contact can be another subject for misunderstanding. In America it's not uncommon to see people kissing and hugging in public places, that's something done frequently. Americans tend to show there affection through these types of things. In most Asian cultures they do not show public displays of affection, it is almost a disgraceful thing to do.

The main reason most people experience culture shock in American society is because they are so used to practicing a particular

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