Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Learning Journal 27

While discussing culture shock it was interesting to think about the times I've experienced it. After arriving in a new culture there is a definite period where everything is awesome. When I moved to Ghana I felt that way. But reality set in pretty quick and it was made known to me that I was a foreigner. Within the first few days of being in Accra, my Mom and I decided to go for a walk and explore our new neighborhood. Within 5 minutes we had a small group of Ghanaian children following us around and adults giving us a double take. I realized then and there, no matter what we did we would stand out. It was the shock of realizing I was in a completely new and very foreign environment. Everything was exciting to see, but as the years passed many of those things became commonplace. In thinking about the reading, I would say that in three years I didn't reach bi-culturalism. I definitely had moments where I felt I understood Ghanaian culture, but I still came across social situations where I was surprised by the proceedings. Even after hearing an explanation of why certain things were accepted, I didn't agree.
Culture shock is a fact of traveling. It affects people to different degrees but we all have to deal with it for some period of time. Being aware of it makes it easier to deal with and recognize. However, I think its important to remember that even though culture shock may occur instantly, coming out of it can take time. Its not easy to adapt to a new culture on a daily basis. The upcoming experience in Tonga will be trying for me, but in a good way. Even though I've lived in several cultures different from my own, I either had my family or a companion that understood my culture. But I guess as I've progressed through the semester I've realized that will be the excitement of a field study.

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