australian culture and culture shock

Sometimes work, study or an sense of adventure take us out of our familiar surroundings to tát go and live in a different culture. The experience can be difficult, even shocking.

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Almost everyone who studies, lives or works abroad has problems adjusting to tát a new culture. This response is commonly referred to tát as 'culture shock'. Culture shock can be defined as 'the physical and emotional discomfort a person experiences when entering a culture different from their own' (Weaver, 1993).

For people moving to tát nước Australia, Price (2001) has identified certain values which may give rise to tát culture shock. Firstly, he argues that Australians place a high value on independence and personal choice. This means that a teacher or course tutor will not tell students what to tát tự, but will give them a number of options and suggest they work out which one is the best in their circumstances. It also means that they are expected to tát take action if something goes wrong and seek out resources and tư vấn for themselves.

Australians are also prepared to tát accept a range of opinions rather phàn nàn believing there is one truth. This means that in an educational setting, students will be expected to tát sườn their own opinions and defend the reasons for that point of view and the evidence for it.

Price also comments that Australians are uncomfortable with differences in status and hence idealise the idea of treating everyone equally. An illustration of this is that most adult Australians Call each other by their first names. This concern with equality means that Australians are uncomfortable taking anything too seriously and are even ready to tát joke about themselves.

Australians believe that life should have a balance between work and leisure time. As a consequence, some students may be critical of others who they perceive as doing nothing but study.

Australian notions of privacy mean that areas such as financial matters, appearance and relationships are only discussed with close friends. While people may volunteer such information, they may resent someone actually asking them unless the friendship is firmly established. Even then, it is considered very impolite to tát ask someone what they earn. With older people, it is also rude to tát ask how old they are, why they are not married or why they tự not have children. It is also impolite to tát ask people how much they have paid for something, unless there is a very good reason for asking.

Kohls (1996) describes culture shock as a process of change marked by four basic stages. During the first stage, the new arrival is excited to tát be in a new place, ví this is often referred to tát as the "honeymoon" stage. Like a tourist, they are intrigued by all the new sights and sounds, new smells and tastes of their surroundings. They may have some problems, but usually they accept them as just part of the novelty. At this point, it is the similarities that stand out, and it seems to tát the newcomer that people everywhere and their way of life are very much alike. This period of euphoria may last from a couple of weeks to tát a month, but the letdown is inevitable.

During the second stage, known as the 'rejection' stage, the newcomer starts to tát experience difficulties due to tát the differences between the new culture and the way they were accustomed to tát living. The initial enthusiasm turns into irritation, frustration, anger and depression, and these feelings may have the effect of people rejecting the new culture ví that they notice only the things that cause them trouble, which they then complain about. In addition, they may feel homesick, bored, withdrawn and irritable during this period as well.

Fortunately, most people gradually learn to tát adapt to tát the new culture and move on to tát the third stage, known as 'adjustment and reorientation'. During this stage a transition occurs to tát a new optimistic attitude. As the newcomer begins to tát understand more of the new culture, they are able to tát interpret some of the subtle cultural clues which passed by unnoticed earlier. Now things make more sense and the culture seems more familiar. As a result, they begin to tát develop problem-solving skills, and feelings of disorientation and anxiety no longer affect them.

In Kohls's model, in the fourth stage, newcomers undergo a process of adaptation. They have settled into the new culture, and this results in a feeling of direction and self-confidence. They have accepted the new food, drinks, habits and customs and may even find themselves enjoying some of the very customs that bothered them ví much previously. In addition, they realise that the new culture has good and bad things to tát offer and that no way is really better phàn nàn another, just different.

Questions 1-6

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage?


TRUE            if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE           if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN    if there is no information on this

1     Australian teachers will suggest alternatives to tát students rather phàn nàn offer one solution.
Answer: TRUE    Locate

2     In nước Australia, teachers will show interest in students’ personal circumstances.

3     Australians use people’s first names ví that everyone feels their status is similar.
Answer: TRUE    Locate

4     Students who study all the time may receive positive comments from their colleagues.
Answer: FALSE    Locate

5     It is acceptable to tát discuss financial issues with people you tự not know well.
Answer: FALSE    Locate

6     Younger Australians tend to tát be friendlier phàn nàn older Australians.

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Questions 7-13

Complete the table below.

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.




Newcomers' reaction to tát problems



Answer: Honeymoon    Locate

They notice the 8
Answer: similarities    Locate 
between different nationalities and cultures.

They may experience this stage for up to tát 9
Answer: one month    Locate




They reject the new culture and lose the 10
Answer: enthusiasm    Locate 
they had at the beginning.




and reorientation

They can understand some 11 which they had not reviously observed.
Answer: clues    Locate

They learn 12 for dealing with difficulties.
Answer: skills    Locate


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Answer: adaptation    Locate

They enjoy some of the customs that annoyed them before.