Preparation for Cultural Differences

by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

What is Culture?

Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Culture is the silent communication between a group of people who identify with certain events similarly. Culture is a system of beliefs and values shared by a particular group of people.
Culture is an integrated system of learned behavior patterns that is characteristic of members of any given society. Culture represents a total way of life and can include anything from the language, religion, food, clothing, laws (written and unwritten) and institutions of society.
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Culture is the Silent, Invisible, and Powerful force that guides and directs our behaviors!!!

Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Aesthetics Physical environments Values & attitudes Manners & customs

Education

Culture

Personal communication Religion

Social structure

Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Culture Shock

Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Culture shock is the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within a different and unknown culture. It grows out of the difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not.
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Symptoms
• A loss of identity. Feelings of inadequacy or insecurity • Trying too hard to absorb everything in the new culture or country • Unable to solve simple problems • A lack of confidence • Developing stereotypes about the new culture • Developing obsessions such as over-cleanliness • Feelings of being lost, overlooked, exploited or abused • Sadness, loneliness, melancholy • Insomnia, a desire to sleep too much or too little • Anger, irritability, resentment, an unwillingness to interact with others
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

How to minimize it
Learn as much as you can about the country Make friends with locals Learn the language Maintain contact with family and friends Be open to new things Be patient Ask for help when you feel sad Let the negative energy out (physical activity, diaries, speaking to someone very close) • Reflect • Don’t isolate yourself • • • • • • • •
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Advises
• • • • • • • • • • Do not build up any expectations Do not take anything for granted Nothing is obvious Don’t judge too fast Find a balance between self-protection and open-mindedness Ask for feedback Observe, observe and ask Get rid of prejudices What you think you have heard is probably not what was meant – clarify Patience and tolerance
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

The W Curve

Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Honeymoon Stage
Comfort Level Exciting Wonderful Beautiful

I can’t wait to tell all my friends about this place! Time

Indicators: Excitement, Optimism, Adventure
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Symptoms
• You are observing the new culture and familiarizing yourself with your new environment. • You are meeting helpful and friendly people. • You are making you first social contacts with members of the host culture. • You are seeking out new things to do and enjoying your new world. • You may feel proud that you can make yourself understood, and understand the natives, in their own language. • Differences are seen under a romantic light, wonderful and new. You love the food, the pace of life, the habits, the building, the language, … • But like any other Honeymoon, it also has and end!
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Crisis Stage
Comfort Level These people are so ___! We would never do that at home!

I can’t wait to go home!

Time
Indicators: Unmet expectations, frustration, unable to understand
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Symptoms
• You begin to desire more personal relationships with members of the host culture. • You find you have little time or few opportunities to make friends. • You are feeling isolated and out of place. • You may feel tired, sick, depressed, angry and / or frustrated. • You have a growing awareness that your home culture’s behaviors may not be accepted in the host culture. • You may have to give up, suspend, or modify your own behavior. • You blame the host culture for your problems. • You spend lots of time with members of your home culture complaining about the host culture. • You can’t understand why they study English in school if they can’t even speak it. • Depression is not uncommon. • “My culture is better than this one!”
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Recovery Stage
Comfort Level There’s no reason why they shouldn’t do that. Imagine if I did that back at home?!? Time

Indicators: Exploration, self-reflection, adjustment
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Symptoms
• You choose to become an “explorer” in the new culture – the need of more information. • You accept the challenge of self-reflection. • You assume responsibility for your own cultural adjustment, trying to understand the culture and people • You begin a process of constructive criticism, researching the similarities between the two cultures • You begin to accept the culture ways with a positive attitude
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Adjustment Stage
Comfort Level You don’t understand them the way I do.

I’m beginning to like this.

Time Indicators: greater tolerance, become part of the comunity, improved language skills
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

We do that, just differently.

Symptoms
• Your language skills improve noticeably. • You begin to understand why members of the host culture do what they do. • You have finally made friends. • You feel like part of the community. • You develop a greater tolerance for what is strange and new in the host culture. • You become a mediator between your culture and your host culture. • You are able to laugh at yourself – take yourself less seriously. • You are able to participate fully and comfortably in the host culture
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

Dealing with it
• Keep yourself busy and active • Make friends with host country members • Realize that everyone that goes abroad experiences a Cultural Shock • Be an active learner about the new country. Find out all the information you can • Avoid foreigners who spend their time complaining about the host culture • Work at maintaining a healthy sense of humor. Be ready to laugh at yourself • When talking about experiences, focus on your feelings rather than the causes
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

eXchange is a journey, not a destination!
y o !  it

E
Prepared by AIESEC Lisboa Nova

j n