Rotary Youth Exchange…Why Culture Matters Jeanette M. Fregulia, Ph.D
Introductory Remarks • Acknowledgements • A little about me… • How I got here… • Where are we going?
Culture Is… • Universal, Cultural (today’s focus), and Personal • Values, manners, language, ways of living… • The total way of life of a people… • Located in the hearts and minds of people…
The Culture Iceberg • Most of culture is hidden • Don’t be like the Titanic and speed up when you should slow down! • Consider • What is hidden v. what is visible? • What divides us v. what unites us?
Types of Culture • High Context • High use of non-verbal elements • Learning occurs by observation • Groups preferred • Low Context • Low use of non-verbal cues • Learning occurs by following explicit instructions • Groups are not preferred
Adjusting to a New Culture • Surprise • Stress • Irritation • Fatigue • Shock
Adjusting to a New Culture http://www3.uop.edu/sis/culture/pub-_Returning_Home.htm
Help for Culture ShockBefore It Is Too Late • Symptoms include • Extreme fatigue • Eating too much/too little • Obsessive/compulsive behavior • Hypochondria • Overreacting • Loss of perspective • Other
Help for Culture ShockCoping • Some discomfort is normal • If there is no discomfort, the student is not trying to adjust • Learn as much as possible about language and culture before leaving home
Help for Culture ShockCoping • Accept, adapt and smile! • Seek help from local resources
Help for Culture ShockOther • Most clashes are temporary • It’s not strange, it’s just different • Do not condemn • If exchange were easy, not the experience we left home to seek
Getting On… • Smile • Be polite, humble, helpful, and gracious • It’s your exchange
Getting On…Don’t… • Expect English • Complain • Leave home with preconceived ideas • Disobey the rules • Call your parents (or maybe just not everyday!) • Forget to have fun…
Useful Skills • Language (did I mention this already?) • Flexibility • Open-mindedness • Observation • You mean I have to eat that? • Time and Space A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins, he always arrives precisely when he means to…” -Gandalf
A Word on Civility • Be ready to accept different values • Be generous with your smiles, your charm and your sincerity • Be hospitable – in most places this matters • Remember the children • Remember holidays • Be helpful
Consider… • What are you most looking forward to? • What worries you most? • What will you miss most? • What will you miss least? • What will your greatest challenge be? • What do you want to think/feel the day you return home?
Ten Tips… • Know your destination • Learn some language • Understand that “culture matters” • Don’t ignore practical matters • Find a local mentor
Ten Tips… • Stay curious • Watch for culture shock • Keep a journal • Think before your speak • Embrace the different, the unusual, and even the uncomfortable
Can I help? Jeanette M. Fregulia firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 406.447.4951 (w) 406.449.2679 (h)