Chapter 5 - Oxford University Press

Understanding Intercultural
Communication Second Edition
Chapter 5
What is Culture Shock?
Stella Ting-Toomey & Leeva C. Chung
PowerPoint Slides Designed by Alex Flecky and Noorie Baig
I. Unpacking Culture Shock
II. Intercultural Adjustment:
Developmental Patterns
III. Reentry Culture Shock
IV. Intercultural Reality Check: Do-Ables
I. Unpacking Culture Shock
Considering Culture Shock …
Have you ever experienced culture shock? Share a
What were you experiencing emotionally?
What caused your anxious feelings?
How did you handle the culture shock situation?
In retrospect, would you like to have handled the
situation differently?
What does culture shock mean to YOU???
I. Unpacking Culture Shock
Characteristics of Culture Shock
Culture Shock: a stressful transitional period
when individuals move from a familiar
cultural environment to an unfamiliar one.
Watch a group of Sudanese men as they experience
culture shock, arriving in the United States for the first
time. Click here.
I. Unpacking Culture Shock
ABCs of culture shock:
• Affectively,
sojourners often feel anxiety, bewilderment,
confusion, disorientation, and intense desire
to be elsewhere.
they are confused as to norms and rules
that guide communication appropriateness
and effectiveness.
they lack competence to interpret or explain
“bizarre” behaviors.
I. Unpacking Culture Shock
B. Pros and Cons of Culture Shock
C. Approaching Culture Shock: Underlying
Motivation Orientation
Personal Expectations
Cultural Distance
Psychological Adjustment
Sociocultural Adjustment
Communication Competence
Personality Attributes
A Mini-Experiential Exercise
“Writing with My Non-Dominant Hand…”
2 Writing Rules:
1) Write with your non-dominant hand.
2) Write from right to left.
• What did you experience? What did you feel?
• What did you learn?
I. Unpacking Culture Shock
D. Initial Tips to Manage Culture Shock
1. Increase motivation to learn about the new
2. Keep expectations realistic and increase familiarity
with diverse facets of new culture.
3. Increase linguistic fluency and appropriateness
and understand core values linked to specific
4. Work on tolerating ambiguity and other flexibility
5. Develop close friends and acquaintanceships to
manage identity stress and loneliness.
6. Be mindful of suspending ethnocentric evaluations
of interpersonal behaviors of host culture.
II. Intercultural Adjustment:
Developmental Patterns
A. The U-Curve Adjustment Model
1. Initial adjustment:
optimistic or elation phase.
2. Crisis:
stressful phase when sojourners are
overwhelmed by own incompetence.
3. Regained adjustment:
settling-in phase, involving effective coping.
II. Intercultural Adjustment:
Developmental Patterns
B. The Revised W-Shape Adjustment Model
II. Intercultural Adjustment: Developmental Patterns
The Revised W-Shape Adjustment Model
A. Honeymoon
“Everything is Beautiful”
B. Hostility
“Everything is Ugly”
Three types of reaction: Early Returnees, Time Servers,
or Participators
C. Humorous
“Everything is Quite Funny”
Rebounding stage
D. In-Sync
“Everything is OK”
II. Intercultural Adjustment: Developmental Patterns
The Revised W-Shape Adjustment Model
E. Ambivalence
“Everything is Sweet & Sour”
Departure stage
F. Re-Entry Culture Shock
“Everything is Off Center”
G. Re-Socialization
“Everything is Home Again… Maybe?!”
Resocializers, Alienators, Transformers
II. Intercultural Adjustment: Developmental Patterns
The Revised W-Shape Adjustment Model
Media Activity: The Namesake film clip
Discussion Questions:
• What is your reaction to this clip?
• Where is Ashima in the W- shape model? Can you
describe her feelings?
• How do you think her husband, Ashok, could better
prepare his wife for the American cultural
• What can Ashima do (how might she reach out to
seek help) to reach the in-sync stage?
III. Re-entry Culture Shock
If you have experienced re-entry culture
Did you experience any re-entry culture
shock stress? How so?
 Any tips to make the re-entry culture
shock less stressful?
IV. Intercultural Reality Check: Do-Ables
Realize that culture shock is inevitable.
• Maintain an ethnorelative attitude.
• Acknowledge your roller-coaster emotions.
• Reach out and seek help when needed.
• There are many caring individuals and resources
out there awaiting to help you.
• Take care of your physical & mental health daily.
• Do something creative every day – write your
travel blogs, express yourself in a journal, snap
fun photos.
• Stay in touch with supportive others.
Parting Thoughts…
When you leave one home for another,
there’ll always lessons to be learned.
~ Kofi Annan

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