With the development of global strategy these decades, joint-venture enterprises has an obvious growth all over the world, meanwhile a large number of Chinese enterprises were built up in foreign countries and vise versa. At the same time, lots of senior managers will work or study techniques in foreign country, even their family members need to go abroad to live together with them. At the beginning of changing the work environment and colleague, most of managers can not adapt to it to some extent. Moreover, an increasing of number students choose to complete their study in a foreign country, it acclimatized international students to the strange environment.. The culture shock can bring positive effects, but at the same time, it also can affect people in a negative way.
This article investigates how overseas students encounter the culture shock when they first time to go abroad and how to minimize or prevent culture shock. It will examine the causes and effects of culture shock from the following aspects, one is different lifestyle: food and timetable; another is education system
Definition of culture shock
According to Oberg — the world famous cultural anthropologist, the culture shock maybe defined as a state that people who are the first time come to a new country because of psychological lost, language barrier, unfamiliar environment, different culture background or other aspects they can not adapt to this atmosphere immediately then caused confusion, helplessness, homesick and anxiety (Eschbach et al, 2001)
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Different food caused culture shock
Lots of students make a decision to study in foreign countries after the graduate from Senior High School or undergraduate, the first time that they come to a new strange country, the language barrier limit their communication with local people, so it will be posed many problems for them, one of them is the different lifestyle, the diet habits is very different from their native country, so they will exclude all things this country brings to them. Therefore, it is essential for students to do everything with their interest, curiosity and willingness, in contrast, if they live with exclusive emotional, it will lead to many psychological discomfort (Phillips, 2003).
First of all, the most obvious aspect present is the daily diet, especially on food, “Changes in weight may indicate that a person is experiencing culture shock. So can an obsessive increase in washing or cleaning. Avoiding social contact, sleeping too much and homesickness are all additional symptoms of culture shock.”(Barker, 2012) at the beginning of their new life, they will not eat anything or eat less than before and then they will think these sorts of food do not suit their taste. after one week or month, it is obvious that they get thinner, for example, a lot of international students the first time to go abroad, they do not like the western food, not only expensive but also not healthy, in Asia countries, people preferred to eat rice, noodles, dumplings as their staple food, then they will cook some various of vegetables or soup eating with rice, this is their diet habit. Because they can not get their ideal diet, they will extremely feel homesick. At the beginning of entering a new environment, they can not find their native countries’ stores to purchase their domestic food, the price of food maybe higher than their country, so they eat less and usually feel hungry and eager to come back to home to enjoy a great fancy dinner with their family members.
The first thing they do is to go everywhere to find their countries’ restaurant, at this time is the most difficult stage for overseas students, they will miss their domestic friends, their parents or all of the things and food of their own countries. For example, when students encounter some obstacles like culture shock, the friend is their first choice to ask for help, friends can give them some advices and problem-solving methods to them, helping them out and tide them through difficult times.(Aronson et al, 2005). Maybe it is common that people eat some pieces of bread with delicious cheese, kinds of sweet jam and a cup of coffee or milk, sometimes we can see children eat great sandwiches or hot dog with a cup of juice in their breakfast time, in lunch or dinner time, the table we see more is the potato with ketchup, bacon, steak chicken wings and different types of pasta, this is their daily diet habit, they eat much of meat. So, a lot of international students can not adapt to this kind of lifestyle. Most of students in china, they eat various of gruel, soup with an egg, it is usually for Chinese to eat noodles, rice, dumplings with soya-bean milk. Maybe they think it is healthy than others and can suit Chinese students’ taste, but coming to a new country, perhaps international students will change their own diet habit in order to adapt to this new country quickly.
Different timetable caused culture shock
Another lifestyle that international students maybe face is the timetable, every country has their own timetable, so many students can not adapt the time this country plan to , a typical example is that in UK, most of shopping malls or stores will be closed before 17:30, you can see few persons walked in the city central, a lot of overseas students think it is boring and very different from their own country, in other countries people are crazy about shopping in the evening and they had adapted to the night life of their native-born country, furthermore, the class time is also have some differences compared with other countries, in some countries ,they may start their first class after eight o’clock or later and finish it so earlier.
By contrast, in china, students begin class from 7:30 in the morning till to 6:00 in the evening, after 6:00 pm students will have self-study time , it also can be called homework time, plenty of homework for students to finish by themselves, after the first time they left home to a new start of their life, they may not like this atmosphere of this country gave them, at this time, a lot of international students will feel so boring and lonely ¼Œeven much of helpless, maybe they will cry at their accommodation at night and want to return back to home and give up studying in abroad. Moreover, they will keep in touch with their friends or parents, talking on the phone everyday with their parents, this method can reduced their helplessness, homesick and help them to develop the sense of security, and also help them to got encouragement from family members (Scheyvens, 2003).
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Different education system caused culture shock
The following aspect is the different education system–most of international students can not adapt to the different style of teaching immediately, in some countries, teachers pay more attention to the students’ self-study and practice, it can be take the British education into an example, in UK, maybe the teachers think in the process of searching the sources, students can gain more knowledge than they taught to them, teachers told students the task ,topic and the method to find information, then students need to find some resources and finish it by themselves. Sometimes, tutor will discuss with students to provide some suggestions for them. The final exam maybe several subjects not all of subjects need to sit down to write 2 long hours’ test, it is important for students to guarantee the attendance and participate part, the final essay students will complete it by themselves, maybe it accounts for the largest proportion, so, a lot of international students come to a different country can not adapt to this kind of educational system, generating heavy stress for their professional learning.
If overseas students can adapt to this education system in the shortest possible time it can bring much benefits to these students, pupils with high self-efficiency general have faith in their capability to complete their own tasks well. They work harder and experience less anxiety when they have something in trouble, due to they believe that they can succeed with much confidence However, people often not full confidence with low self-efficacy that they usually think they cannot perform works well, so they usually tend to give up easily and experience more anxiety when facing troubles. Lack of confidence is the most important reason for their failure (Aronson et al, 2005). So, it is important for international students to overcome troubles with self-confidence. They can learn more useful knowledge and continue to enhance their ability step by step.
However ,in other countries especially in some Asian countries , maybe teachers lay emphasis on theory ¼Œtutors told the answers to students and forced them to recite all of them, this cramming systems caused many of students can not adapt to that kind of self-study system when they study in UK or other countries, this kind of students do not know how to start their first step and lots of students continue to study learn by rote ,it is difficult for them to change the method at once, meanwhile, they feel so depressed and lack of confidence, after this circumstance it will result in the negative effects to international students, large number of students will not catch up with lessons and also are not available to catch teacher’s point, a long time later ,it will caused a lot of students make no attempt to make progress , get lost in his own way and give themselves up as hopeless replaced. Even more serious effect arouse to is the plagiarism phenomenon, due to the academic knowledge capability and language level limited, many students copy other’s result and caused plagiarism problems. The possible adverse impact is to fail their course and come back to home. This phenomenon often happened in university.
How to overcome culture shock
According to Ferraro (2006), the better method for students to know about the culture shock completely is from the psychological field to analyze the culture shock and improve the successful rate of living in overseas, trying to make more international friends and sharing your happiness and frustration with them, encouraging each other and spend the difficult time together.
According to the introduction, it can be see that food, timetable and education can result in culture shock¼Œculture is defined as the every side of life, large number of international students can not adapt to the change of a new environment and need time to change their mind and accept new things ,during this orientation time, with optimism attitudes to accept different learning style and with full self-confidence to overcome all obstacles ,accommodate to various food taste, set goal orientation for themselves, avoid the negative effect that culture shock bring to them.
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