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Adopting Strategies for Personal Development

Discover the various approaches that might help you overcome the negative effects of culture shock.

This video points out approaches that might help you overcome the negative effects of culture shock. We introduce strategies and tips to facilitate your intercultural adaptation process, and summarize course outcomes.

Culture shock is best seen from the “both/and” perspective: both an enriching and also a painful process, both with positive outcomes and also realistic stressful challenges. Here are some suggestions to help each of us as learners keep engaging in this process constructively:

  1. Keep an open mind and increase our motivation to learn; Seek to see, hear, learn, understand what we didn’t before.
  2. Recognize that we may be experiencing this shock process; Don’t deny it, realistically lower expectations, face it.
  3. Expect uncertainty, ambiguity, and strangeness in new environments; Seek to be tolerant of and to understand things that are not clear; Expect to encounter new cultures in unexpected places; Be ready to be more adventurous, ready to encounter newness, explore.
  4. Develop social support networks to overcome loneliness; Try to meet new people, develop acquaintances, make new friends; Use social media to stay connected with home, friends (people “like me”), and reach out to and engage in new networks (people “different from me”).
  5. Try to be non-judgmental, suspend ethnocentrism (withhold own norms); Suspend our insistence that “my way is right” to consider other ways; Broaden our perspective, consider a wider range of options, negotiate; Maintain our own values with grace, but give due respect to others.
  6. Maintain a good sense of humor, able to laugh at yourself; Don’t take ourself too seriously, or make other groups the laughing stock; Learn to take things easier, relax, let laughter help release tensions.
  7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learn through them and treasure them; Let such stories become part of our learning and connecting process.

This list can also serve as an overall course summary. These suggestions generally touch on new ways of looking at how we approach intercultural encounters, our and others’ identities, communication styles, values, and various adaptation processes.

In any of these areas, as we recognize, face, or overcome barriers, we expand our personal capacity to enhance our intercultural competence. Our goal for these weeks spent together has been to expose and orient you to these basic concepts, attitudes, and practices so you can develop as an interculturally competent communicator!

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Intercultural Communication: Dynamics of cultural identities in global interaction

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