A Guide to Minimizing Culture Shock or Don't be an "Ugly American"
we facilitated a class on minimizing culture shock
Here are a few of the tips we've put together for people preparing for a cross-cultural experience, like a summer missions trip:
- You are a guest in the host country. A customer may demand that their desires be met but a gracious guest receives with gratitude what their host offers them.
- Don’t judge the people of a country by the one person with whom you have a negative experience. There are good and bad people in every culture, even your own.
- Your ability to communicate in a new context is no reflection on your IQ. It is easy to feel stupid and get down on yourself, but there is no reason. A five year old might speak the new language better than you do, but he or she has been working on it or…five years.
- Don’t make comparisons between the host country and yours in front of local people. They will feel belittled when you talk about things back home that are bigger, better, faster, etc. You may think you are just pointing out differences but it is easy for your comments to come across as boastful.
If you're interested in more, click here
to download the 5 page pamphlet that we created for the Minimizing the Impact of Culture Shock
class we led last night : DONT_PANIC.pdf
Update on Grandmother
Thank you for asking about and praying for my Grandmother (original story here).
Two months after her hip surgery, her health continues to improve, her spirits are good and she seems at peace with her new life in assisted care.
Before we moved back to Orlando, I was delighted when I found out that the apartment where we would be living here was only two blocks away from my Grandmother’s. I envisioned Tim and me dropping by frequently like we did in the early 90’s before moving to Mexico. But those visions never materialized. When Grandfather died a few years ago, Grandmother stopped opening the door for unexpected visitors. So we’ve needed to schedule our visits. And since we were out of the country 40% of last year that happened less than I would have liked.
In the past few weeks, however, we’ve been extremely grateful that we live nearby. Just after she moved from the hospital to the nursing home we could stop by her place and pick up pictures or whatever she needed to make her new residence homier. We spent almost a week going back and forth to her place constantly as we worked alongside other family members to empty, clean and prepare the house for sale.
This is another reminder that, although life doesn’t usually work out the way I envision it, it does work out well in the big picture, as Ruth Myers says in 31 Days of Praise:
I praise You for Your sovereignty over the broad events of my life and over the details. With You, nothing is accidental, nothing is incidental, and no experience is wasted.
Chase and Chris Heavener invited a group of their friends to travel to Ethiopia with them to get involved in a rural school that they are sponsoring (did I mention they're all in their mid-20s). As they drove up to the school, the students lined up to greet them with Ethiopian and American flags and big, bold signs. This one caught my attention.
Our theory about its meaning is that it's a cure for the He who dies with the most toys wins disease. Whatever its original intent, the phrase makes you think, doesn't it.