ADAPTING IN A DIFFERENT CULTURE
Waters and Brooks (2011) state that, living in a region whose culture does not correspond to the home culture can be a challenging procedure and an exciting experience. Regardless of the country of origin, in most cases, it is common for students studying in other countries to pass through a cultural adjustment period that can help in acquiring support through a change process both personally and academically. The social norms, traditions, and values of London are different from the way things are done in Italy. Italian students have to pass through a transition period to enable them learn the culture of London and to live according to the standards. It is common that when people move from one country or region that upholds a given set of beliefs to another country, they tend to carry with them their culture including values, beliefs, and behaviours. They also bring their life experiences and backgrounds and dictate how the individuals will adapt and perceive the new environment. For example, some people from Italy may find it easy to adjust to the classrooms in London while others struggle to adapt.
Cultural adaptation of Italian students in London
Students from Italy may find it challenging to learn and adapt to the culture of London. The challenging experience can result in culture shock making the students be disoriented, confused and stressed when attempting to adjust to the new culture. The cultural shock that the students can show includes; increased homesickness; avoid social situations, sleeping difficulties and physical complaints, difficulty in coursework in the learning institutions and challenges in the course work. The individuals can also get angry because of minor irritations in the society and public among others. Gilardi and Guglielmetti (2011) claim that in most cases, people including the student may be confused on whether learning and adapting to the culture of another country can make him or her to lose her first culture or the culture of the country he comes from. However, it is impossible to lose the cultural identity of the country that a person was brought up in. Learning and adapting to new culture improves the appreciation of an individual and understanding of his or her home culture. Banks (2015) perceptively argues that just as the shocks occurs as a result of cultural clashes, the accumulation of minute successes brought about by the accumulation of a different culture can enhance interaction in the new cultures. As the Italian students improve their ability to understand and manage additional social system practices and values in London that may appear strange at the beginning but becomes easy to adhere to or appear less puzzling. Eventually, the students can adapt to the London culture sufficiently enabling them succeed success in their academics and in socializing with people from the country. It can be challenging learning and adapting to the language in London by the Italian students, but it becomes possible to adapt with time.
Research by Smith and Khawaja (2011) show that most Italian students find it exhilarating to study in another environment before being aware of the encumbrances. Most of them find it encouraging to study in London although some find it confusing at first. They are excited because of the new sights, experiences, activities and sounds. At first, most students find it adventurers to study. Challenges start occurring when individual starts finding the differences between the culture and beliefs exercised in Italy and the ones that London holds.
Strategies to help Italy Students to cope in London
Gilardi and Guglielmetti (2011) state that culture is considered relative and this explains why Italy students and other international students may perceive the cultural undertakings of London differently. The communication style in the country may be different from the Italian language. Other students may find the communication method of the country not direct. As an international learner, a person is likely to be exposed to new habits, ideas, and customs. The student should not label the new experience as bad or good according to the home culture. Understanding that culture is relative enables the Italian students to adapt effectively in London.
The students can also change quickly by being curious and open-minded. Crose (2011) postulates that adjusting and adapting to another culture does not always mean that the person has to deviate from his or her values, but is essential to respecting the culture of other people. By revering the culture of London, the Italian students can adapt quickly to the norms and values of the country. It is imperative to take the new situation into an adventure, and the students should be curious about how things are done in the new environment. Being curious can help in quick learning of the culture in London by the Italians and can enhance comprehension and adaption to the new culture quickly. The application of the observation skills can help them cope with the new culture. The Italian students should make use of their observation skills to understand the culture London culture. It is likely that the Italian students encounter unfamiliar norms and rules and through observation of the way other people are behaving or acting in different situations and can help the students to understand the expected behaviours. The students should pay attention to the communication styles of the London people to get the picture of the undertakings in the new culture.
Research by Marwick (2011) shows that asking questions can help one understand the new culture with ease. The students should ask the questions to help them adhere to the rules and norms of London and avoid culture shocks. Understanding other people and making the people know you require repetition, clarifications and rephrasing. It is crucial to continue asking questions, seek clarification and to understand the culture effectively.
The Italian students can seek support from other international students in London and other community members who can help explain the new culture, therefore, making it possible for the students to adapt well and quickly. The students should be patient in learning the culture to learn all the norms and rules.
Adapting to new culture is a process and may be challenging at given times. People find it challenging adapting to the new culture and therefore the application of various strategies including observation skills can help to in learning and adapting to the new culture. There are many individuals across the country and the learning institutions that can assist Italian students adjust to the new London culture through the provision of explanations to the expected behaviours. The process of adapting to a new culture is systematic and helps improve the relationship between the international students. Learning and adapting to the new culture renews the appreciation of one’s culture.
Gilardi, S., and Guglielmetti, C. 2011. University life of non-traditional students: Engagement styles and impact on attrition. The Journal of Higher Education, 82(1), pp.33-53.
Marwick, A., 2011. The sixties: Cultural revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c. 1958-c. 1974. A&C Black.
Waters, J., and Brooks, R. 2011. ‘Vive la différence?’: the ‘international’experiences of uk students overseas. Population, Space and Place, 17(5), pp.567-578.
Crose, B., 2011. Internationalization of the Higher Education Classroom: Strategies to Facilitate Intercultural Learning and Academic Success. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 23(3), pp.388-395.
Smith, R.A. and Khawaja, G., 2011. A review of the acculturation experiences of international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(6), pp.699-713.
Banks, J.A., 2015. Cultural diversity and education. Routledge.