Saturday, April 03, 2010

Initial Adjustment

Today as I was teaching an upper level English student, we read an article about the different stages a person goes through when he or she moves to another country. The first is the Honeymoon Period where everything about the new country and culture seems fascinating. The second is “Culture Shock”, when the person is overwhelmed by everything that is new and different. The third is the “Initial Adjustment” period. This is when the person can successfully navigate everyday tasks in the new culture such as going to the grocery store or a restaurant. At this point the person has probably settled into some kind of routine involving work and some semblance of a social life. The fourth stage is “Mental Isolation”. This is a where now the person is really starting to miss family and friends they’ve been away from for a longer period of time along with other things about their native country and culture. And then finally, the fifth stage is the Adjustment/Integration stage. According to the article the whole process could take about a year!

So, as I told my student today, I think I’m kind of in the “Initial Adjustment” stage where I can handle everyday tasks. I have my job (finally!), I can go to the grocery store, I can go to a restaurant, etc. But I’m definitely still dealing with different aspects of culture shock as well, or maybe it’s part of the “Mental Isolation” part, I don’t know. It does help to know I’ll see my family and a lot of friends in May…

No comments: