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Four Stages Of Culture Shock Faced By Immigrants

1864 words - 7 pages

A sudden change in one’s surroundings can result in culture shock. Culture shock refers to the anxiety and surprise a person feels when he or she is discontented with an unfamiliar setting. The majority of practices or customs are different from what a person is used to. One may experience withdrawal, homesickness, or a desire for old friends. For example, when a person goes to live in a different place with unfamiliar surroundings, they may experience culture shock. Sometimes it is the result of losing their identity. In the article “The Phases of Culture Shock”, Pamela J. Brink and Judith Saunders describe four phases of culture shock. They are: Honeymoon Phase, Disenchantment Phase, Beginning Resolution Phase, and Effective Function Phase. These phases denote some of the stages that exemplify culture shock. The four phases are illustrated in the articles “New Immigrants: Portraits in Passage” by Thomas Bentz, “Immigrant America: A Portrait” by Alejandro Portes and Ruben G. Rumbaut, “When I Was Puerto Rican” by Esmeralda Santiago, “Today’s Immigrants, Their Stories” by Thomas Kessner and Betty Boyd Caroli, and lastly, “The New Americans: Immigrant Life in Southern California” by Ulli Steltzer, and are about the experiences of some immigrants. This essay will examine the four phases of culture shock and classify the experiences of these immigrants by the different phases of culture shock identified.

The first phase of culture shock is the Honeymoon phase. This phase is marked by anticipation. In the Honeymoon phase a person looks forward to experiencing the new culture. The person is excited about learning about the new and different place, the people, or the customs. Usually, they are excited about the new experience in general. The person may be pleased about the architecture, the climate, or the hospitality of the new place and people. The Disenchantment phase comes after the Honeymoon phase. It is the phase when excitement wears off. The person realizes they have to struggle to assimilate to the new environment. In this phase frustration or anxiety can result in feelings such as mood swings. After a person experiences disenchantment, the next phase, the Beginning Resolution phase sets in. According to Brink and Saunders, “This phase seems to be characterized by the reestablishment of a sense of humor. Social errors are no longer devastating to the ego” (333). The individual begins to accept the attitudes of the new culture. Lastly, the person adapts to the surroundings (and can possibly become bicultural). This is known as The Effective Function phase.
The Honeymoon phase is marked by the anticipation of everything being good about the new culture. The person looks forward to the experience, and they anticipate with pleasure all the good things about the new culture. People are usually excited about experiencing the new culture. In “Today’s Immigrants, Their Stories”, Alex Bushinsky, a Russian Jew, experiences...

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