However much you understand about a culture, you still suffer from uncomfortable feelings when you arrive this culture, which is known as “ culture shock”. According to Merriam- Webster, culture shock is a term used to describe the anxiety produced when a person moves to a completely new environment. This term expresses the lack of direction, the feeling of not knowing what to do or how to do things in a new environment, and not knowing what is appropriate or inappropriate. The feeling of culture shock can usually set in after the first few weeks of arriving in a new country.
Personally, I have experienced a language culture shock when I was an exchange student in Korea for 6 months. Untill now, I vividly remembered feeling hopeless and frustrated in my inability to understand what people are saying and how to go somewhere by subway. Although, I have studied listening skill in my country for a long time, and found out some famous cultures before going to Korea, everything was almost different from my imagination. It is partly because I donnot know that daily language may be much different from academic language I learned at school. Besides, Korean food I saw in the movies is also contrary to the real life, typically Korean rice, it is very sticky and hard to swallow without having soup. At that time, I didnot want to go out because it took too much effort to communicate and discover a new-brand culture. Even simple tasks such as call a taxi or order food may become more difficult when I cannot understand the language.
Nevertheless, after one week, I realized that rather than cower and curl up at home, I should take time to learn some spoken language phrases that can be used for communicating in my daily routine. I aslo tried to go out and participate in the campus activities that sound interesting to me, which makes me more comfortable with new customs. Besides, I made friends with both Koreans and international students living at the same campus as me so that I could practice with them and improve my speaking skills. Moreover, these friends might understand my feelings and give me some useful advices. By making friends, I could reduce the feelings of loniness and form new bond with new surroundings.
Last but not least, patience is the most precious lesson I may gain after the story. Instead resist behaviors or practices that are different from my own, I had better learn the reasons behind the behaviors. Everything needs to have time to adopt to a new culture, thus I should see positive things to try as well as view negative ones as learning opportunities. Since then, I have tended to think and accept everything in my life in a more positive way. I am no longer easy to give up something difficult.
In conclusion, I have gained a wige range of knowledge from this course and its roles in our life through these assignments and activities at class. From this, I have learned that I should be myselft and use proper languages when communicating with other people from different backgrounds. Moreover, we should consider cultural differences as important resources rather than barriers for successful intercultural communication because it is differences among cultures that boost the curiosity and study about intercultural communication.
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