June 4, 2016 - admin

Culture Shock, What is it? Survey results for international students and local students

 Culture shock is something everyone experience to some degree or another during their life. The most obvious example of culture shock is what people who move to a different country with a different culture experience. However, people who start a new job, transfer to a new school, move to a different state etc. also experience some of the characteristics of it.

Some of these characteristics are:

    • Feeling irritability
    • Longing for ones old friends and family
    • A feeling of helplessness and withdrawal
    • A feeling of loneliness
    • Exercising defensive communication
    • Different physiological stress reactions
    • Feeling concerned about health and cleanliness
    • Overly afraid of being cheated, robbed or injured

Experience with a different cultural environment does of course have certain beneficial effects on those people that it applies to. However, an opposing point of view also exists that are based “on the central assumption that exposure to an unfamiliar culture may be, and often is, stressfull and hence potentially harmfull” (Furnham & Bochner, 1990, p. 4). Instead of seeing it as a learning experience, many people feel anxiety, confusion and depression, and in extreme cases “physical illness may be a direct consequence” (Furnham & Bochner, 1990, p. 4). However, although culture shock in itself is charactericed by some negative and painfull feelings, it can help a person to become less ethnocentric*.

*Ethnocentrism – when viewing every other culture from the notion that ones own culture is superior

 

The intention of this page is to highlight some of the aspects of culture shock. Culture shock does not only strike immigrants from other countries. And, as an international student, a local student, and a student from out of state we will explore and give our own experiences with culture shock at UNM in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from our own cultural backgrounds. Peder Krogh is fromNorway and has been a student at UNM for two and a half year. Jason Ferguson is from San Antonio, Texas, and has been a student at UNM for three years. Will Howe is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has been a student at UNM for six years. Our hope is that this campaign will take away some of the psychological stress with culture shock by making people aware of its existence.

Survey

Here you will find a survey done on international students, local students and students from other states in the U.S. that studies at UNM. The questions asked are simple ones, but they serve the purpose of informing you about other peoples’ experience with culture shock.

Here are the questions and some of the general responses we received on this survey:

    • Do you know what culture shock is? Yes No
    • Have you experienced culture shock yourself? Yes No
    • If so, how would you rate its impact on you? Low Medium High
    • How long did it take to get through the worst part of it? Less than half a year Between half a year and one year More than one year I can still feel its impact on me
    • Do you think culture shock can be a learning experience? Yes No
    • Do you think culture shock can be avoided? Yes No
    • Please list one advice you would like to give people that are experiencing culture shock right now:

Survey results for international students

Number of people participating: 15 (With such a small sample size this survey do not intend to make any sort of generalization about international students’ culture shock experiences).

100 percent of the people joining the survey said they knew what culture shock was, and 73 percent of them answered that they had experienced it themselves. Of the people that had experienced culture shock, 9 percent felt it to a high degree, 55 percent felt its impact to a medium degree, and 36 percent felt its impact to a low degree. Further, 9 percent of the people that had experienced culture shock answered it took them between half a year and 1 year to get through the worst part of it, and the rest (91 percent) said it took them less than half a year.

Of all the people asked, 93 percent thought culture shock could be a learning experience. 53 percent did not think culture shock can been avoided, and 88 percent of them were among those who answered that they had experienced culture shock. 47 percent of the people in the survey think culture shock can be avoided, and 71 percent of them were among those who answered that they had not experienced culture shock themselves.

These are some of the advice given by the people in the survey:

  • Be open minded
  • Learn about the new country’s culture.
  • Go out and party and have fun
  • Try to adapt
  • When in Rome do as the Roman’s. E.g. Don’t expect the new culture to be like yours. Show the new culture respect. Show interest in them by asking questions
  • Stay cool!
  • Get used to the green chile
  • Be alert
  • Education
  • Be open to new experiences. Don’t expect too much, and don’t judge people and other things
  • Get information about where you are going. Get to know the place you are going to and find out what you can expect
  • Talk to people. Be a part of a group and get friends

Survey results for local students

Number of people participating: 15 (With such a small sample size this survey does not intend to make any sort of generalizations about local students’ opinions on culture shock)

93 percent of the people surveyed said they knew what culture shock was and 100 percent said they had never experienced culture shock. Since all people surveyed said they had not experienced culture shock, questions of impact and how long did it take to get through culture shock were not answered. Of all the people surveyed, 66 percent felt that culture shock can be a learning experience. Out of the 15 people surveyed, 33 percent thought culture shock can be avoided.

Advice given by the people surveyed:

  • have an open mind
  • don’t be afraid to explore
  • get involved with other groups
  • make friends
  • try not to make comparisons, or else you will make yourself miserable
  • Don’t worry, it takes time to adjust!
  • Learn about the new culture and surroundings
  • Life gets better as you explore and get comfortable with your new environment
  • Have fun!

Survey results for out of state students

Number of people participating: 15 (With such a small sample size this survey does not intend to make any sort of generalizations about out of state students’ opinions on culture shock)

93 percent of the participants said that they knew what culture shock was, and 63 percent of them answered that they had experienced it themselves. Of the people who experienced culture shock, none reported it to a high degree, 23 percent reported it to a medium degree, and 77 percent reported it to a low degree. Further, all of the people who experienced culture shock answered that it took them less than half a year to get over culture shock. Of all of the people asked, all of the respondents reported that culture shock could be a learning experience, 80 percent thought that culture shock could not be avoided. 20 percent of the people surveyed think that culture shock can be avoided.

Here are some of the pieces of advice given by the people in the survey:

  • Go with the flow of the new place you are staying
  • Try to make friends, do not isolate yourself
  • Learn how the others culture works
  • Explore the new surroundings
  • Get involved with extra activities outside school or work
  • Don’t compare your original home to your new home. Be open minded
  • Meet your new culture with a good attitude

http://www.unm.edu/~pokrogh/cultureshock.html

EDGE Culture Shock / Survey results Culture Shock / Survey results for international students /

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