Culture Shock and Intercultural Adaptation: The Experience of Egyptian EFL Teachers in the United States
Dr. Sandra Y. Lopez Rocha.
Culture shock, or intercultural stress, is a common phenomenon among visitors and immigrants to the United States (and in any other country), which has been studied for several decades. However, the way culture shock is experienced differs in each situation, because of the cultural make up of the individuals or group of individuals, and the culture environment they are entering. The effects of culture shock on the individuals affect their behavior, attitudes, their performance (at school, work, and even within the family), and the development of social networks. Culture shock is also part of the process of adaptation into the new environment, the host culture. The study of the process of adaptation provides the basis for helping individuals to perform and function better in a different cultural environment; also, through the promotion of cultural awareness and culture learning, the effects of culture shock are minimized (Brislin, 1993).
This study is focused on the experience of a group of Egyptian scholars (EFL teachers) traveling to the United States for a semester in a program of professional development for EFL teachers. The ethnographic research conducted with 30 of these scholars focused on the description of the perceptions, types of interactions, effects of cultural differences, sources of intercultural stress, and the strategies they used to adapt to the new environment. The analysis of the process of adaptation of this group of Egyptians is based on Bennett’s (1993) model of intercultural adaptation (which ranges from ethnocentrism to ethnorelativism).
Dr. Sandra Y. Lopez Rocha
Dr. Sandra López-Rocha has worked as an intercultural trainer with various cultural groups including Egyptian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, American, and Latin American. She has taught ESOL and Spanish in various colleges and universities. She has developed and implemented programs for ESL/EFL/ESOL teachers and has conducted research focused on aspects of cultural anthropology and education; Dr. López-Rocha has also served as an international student advisor in academic and cultural matters.
(Virtual Presentation, English)