Saturday, November 12, 2005

Cultural shock?

Yesterday participated in “Intercultural Training” a workshop by BISS.. When the trainer read the list of symptoms of stress from handout, i was checking what i’ve experienced in germany. At the end i had everything checked!!!!! F koz not all variants from every symptom i had, like under weight probs loosing or gaining – mine was loosing; eating probs – i had loss of appetite & not increase.. etc.

3rd part ot training was a simulation. We were divided into 3 groups, an “aborigines” & 2 diff/conflicting groups of newcomers (we were aliens:P). we were given certain codes of behavior, background, culture, values, & should play according to them, the others don’t know them, we can judge only from the way we act in the simulation, when we all meet in aborigines’ land. The developments of events & reactions were shocking! Our group of higher intelligence scientific society was refused! We came with good will, with knowledge if we don’t stop the global warming together, everyone’s world will be destroyed, everyone will die.. & aborigines are primitive tribe, who can only dance, sing, laugh… we were perceived as enemy, not as friends who want to warn & help, only koz of cultural conflicts! We don’t understand emotions, don’t show/have them, aborigines are full of emotion, they greet touching nooses, we can’t let them so close, as in our culture their red color is taboo, they alter our personal space, for them we’r not friendly, cold…. We forgot that it was just a game!! & everyone in their role was acting, attacking, protecting… if it was a real case, the world wouldn’t be saved, just koz of MISUNDERSTANDINGS!! Another story was with the 3rd group.. i can talk days telling about that simulation result, discussions after it.. but one should just experience it oneself! It was so amusing.. then we all told what we felt, why we acted like that in this & that moment, what could have than better, could save the situation.. we had a chance to put ourselves in the shoos of “aborigines” – the hosts, who were living their life in their land & suddenly so diverse strangers INVADE & they can’t even understand why, what they want from them.. this game thought to be more tolerant, try to understands others, in my current case towards germans & other int’l students..

Resuming last study year in Germany.. it was total catastrophe. Personal life, health, study, career, social life.. just everything! Complete failure. Why?? & this was 1st time in life that i was financially, socially secured by a nice monthly scholarship, didn’t have to so hardly as before earn my living. 1st time living in a clean, green, beautiful county.. with a rich culture, with so much comfort, with highest living standards i’ve ever lived! All conditions were just ideal, i couldn’t even dream of.. then why it went so wrongly? Wondering where is my brain, where r my skills, where is my energy, where am i?????? why in germ i lost everything instead of gaining smth??

Negative experience can also be useful. One should learn to loose, to fall & get up, to keep rolling up his/her sizif’s stone… it still gives us strength, training, knowledge, skills.. & next time we face such a situation, we won’t get lost, we’ll know how to cope. Yes, i have problems, i am experiencing cultural shock. Just sit down & clear things out.

Well… Traveling never caused me any shock. Meeting new ppl, learning new places, crossing borders & cultures, taking smth with u, in exchange leaving a touch of ur own culture, own self, learning, experiencing, & again learning, growing as a personality.. little things i can recall that i enjoy more than these.
But. Cultural shock is not abt traveling, it’s when u’r thrown into a completely new environment that conflicts with ur previous one, ur culture, experience… & u have to LIVE, WORK, STUDY & COMPETE in that environment & with ppl who’r originally from there. unlike u, they know everything around, they know how to do things, how to react in all situations, how things work etc in THEIR PLACE (country, city, uni..). it all give them a huge advantage over u. but u have to play by their rules, compete as if u’r in the same level.. this all can be justification why i did so badly here.. then comes another question: why i did great in USA?? The conditions were the same as in germ, & the competition was even tougher . It was same me, my same brain, my skills/knoledge that at the time were even less than now..

i have a big prob, my brain thinks much faster than i’m able to speak out or write down. I wasted myself till was typing:))) thought by myself, told myself all i needed.. & now gotta wash dishes, will continue later:)


Anonymous Alexander said...

I've experienced it too. When I just came in Berlin we played this game too: and I was the head of the space ship crew (so, the 3rd group in your case). I was very funny to see how one group was just keeping a distance all the time and they wanted to help the aborigens cure the wounded chieftan. But those took them for cold-blooded emotionless creatures who are not able to commiserate and show empathy. To my regret even in our simulation we failed to solve the problem. The "key" was the wounded chieftan, who was supposed to be cured by us. And we somehow missed this point.
I remember my impressions after this simulation. I was completely shocked to see how big problems just a cultural MISunderstanding could lead to.
I hope it was useful for you, this simulation. It is better to play this game once, than one day become the victim of such a misunderstanding.

3:09 AM  
Blogger Lilith said...

unfortunately i played this game too late:) 1 year is lost.. why didn't u tell that passed it yourself, when asked to tell ab it?? btw, Grit Kümmele sent us some pics, vot:

& i promised to continue, but hardly will. i rili started & wrote some paragraphs, then realized that i don't need it, just wasting time! 1st time i was telling of my experience, i compared, remember, analyzed, understood all reasons, just couldn't catch up my thoughts to write 'm down:))) for me everything is clear & i don't have to write for others!:P

8:37 PM  

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