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Cultural shock and adaptation

Our generation lives in the era of new possibilities and achievements, where the process of globalization has become as a principal feature of this century. Globalization seem pervasive. So, one might think that the world`s cultures must be converging into one homogenized global value system. But they aren’t… It seems that many components of culture can be shared among different countries: Muslim countries, Latin American countries, however the reality is not like it seems, the differences of how people live, their beliefs, values are rather obvious. We not only find no evidence of convergence- we actually find that the gap between the value system of rich and poor countries have been growing, not shrinking, during the past 20 years. (Inglehary, 2005). Moreover if in 20th century people made an attempt to start sharing common values and were focused on similarities, 21th century is oriented on cultural differences.

For some group of people, variety is a spice of life, they accept cultural differences in positive light, something as amusing and skin-deep trivialities. Dressing differently, trying strange food, celebrating of exotic holidays, joining colorful festivals seem to them as an opportunity to spend time with fun. The western world even has an expression “celebration of cultural diversity”. (Michael Minkov, 2011).

But what if cultural differences is not about what we wear, or put in our mouths, or how we celebrate holidays? What if we should think about cultural differences deeper as something that reflects our values, beliefs, norms and behavior. In this case our situations get worse, because going to new county does not mean just meeting new people, seeing the most spectacular views, visiting famous landmarks, trying local cuisine or dancing tradition dance at some festivals, it is more about getting to know how this people behave in daily life, how they react, interprets some symbols, gest, how they live. That’s why nowadays we can face a lot of difficult going abroad.

“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands’,- said Richard Burton.However it is also huge challenge for ourselves. Probably, their way of living will differs from our own, their behavior will not be understood for us, what will make us feel uncomfortable, anxious, irritated and lost. Could you overcome difficult, became as a part of new culture, adapt to in and feel free in new country. This all is about overcoming cultural shock, which in recent years has become one of the most controversial topics in the field of research.

The issue as cultural shock is quite broad, it includes various aspects. More specifically this work researches the adaptation process and culture shock experience of Ukrainian and Turkish students in Poland through similarities and differences between these tree cultures based on Hofstede dimensions. The methods of gathering data are to question the students who represent these cultures and to find out how they adapt to new surroundings and overcome cultural shock.

To get point of what is cultural shock, its aspects, causes and way of overcoming it, we should define what culture and cultural differences are.

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