Objective: To experience and observe your reactions to the “not-OK” feelings of disorientation in a strange cultural environment.
This activity is based on two widely recognized premises:
1. That culture shock is endemic; we cannot inoculate ourselves against it, but we can improve our recover mechanisms, and
2. that “not-OK” feelings, once recognized have a tendency to disappear.
Procedure: Within your present cultural environment select a particular location that seems especially “foreign” to you, and plan to visit it. The location must meet only three conditions:
1. Your stay should be for at least two hours.
2. You should be able to be a participant-observer within the location you choose. Do not arrange a “guided tour”. Attempt to involve yourself directly in the activities of your chosen location.
3. You must keep a record (notebook) of your experiences, thoughts, and feelings in your foreign environment.
Examples of activities: assisting nurses in a mental hospital, if you are heterosexual: visiting a gay nightclub, participating in an unfamiliar religious ceremony, spending an evening with an unfamiliar ethnic group. There are many possibilities. The critical element is to choose something very different from what you are used to and which causes — even as you think about it — some sensation of discomfort.
Format for submission:
Your report should be approximately four double spaced typed spaces. In the report you should demonstrate knowledge of course concepts and address the following topics:
1. Describe the event, its purpose, the cultural group originating from the even, when it occurred, where it occurred.
2. Are their similar events in your culture?
3. What did you see and experience at this event that you feel confident you understood accurately?
4. What did you notice that was culturally puzzling to you?
5. How did you feel or respond personally to being in a different cultural situation that was not as predictable as communication in your own culture?
6. Describe an important conclusion due to your participation in this event.
7. Demonstrate that you have a thorough understanding of culture shock and its dimensions
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