Cultural adaptation and swimming: here's some similarities

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Get in the Pool!

If you”ve every traveled to a new country, whether for a short time or for an extended period of time, you”ve probably experienced the stresses that a new culture and language can put on you.  Change can be just like jumping into a pool or lake on a hot summer day…. You know you”ll enjoy it but you know that there”s going to be an initial shock as your body adjusts to the water”s temperature and situates itself to swimming instead of walking.  For some of us we relish the exuberant feeling of jumping in and being soaked in the cool water, for others it’s a more tempered process of touching the water to test it out and a gradual step by step entrance into something we know, once adapted, that we’ll enjoy.

The same can be said about stepping into a new language or culture.  It can be intimidating anticipating the plunge but for the most part we know it will be worth it.  What we can do though is understand our acclimation style and make a plan to help us learn, grow and live better in a new setting.

Here are 3 different acclimation styles to help you move forward:

The Jumper:

There’s always those who just jump in and love the shock of entering into a new setting.   These are your typical world travelers and quick adapters, eager and willing to interact with locals and with a wealth of experience to help them learn quickly.  They’re often the ones who are calling out to all their buddies saying “Come On! This is great!”  Being this kind of an adapter is great for socializing and becoming a part of the culture quickly.  One caution, however, if you’re this kind of an adapter would be to make sure you’re getting online casino the depth, especially in language.  Some people settle for being understood but hurt themselves by not taking the time to learn how things like grammar and certain pronunciations work.

The Stair Stepper:

This person is eager, but timid.  It’s very different in there and after sticking their foot in they decide they need to take a more moderate approach. They go for the steps and acclimate themselves one inch at a time to their new setting.  In enculturation and language learning this tends to be your committed learner, one who loves the new setting but isn’t keen to just start speaking and acting.  They need to understand things before they try them.  Unlike the jumper, they might spend more time learning through books than in application, thus they enter into their new culture with casino more general understanding and insight.  They’re timid to talk, but when they do, speak with well-structured sentences.  Timidity of course can slow things down and it can take this type longer to really enter into their new culture and language.

The Sun Bather:

And then there are those who having stuck their toe in decide this acclimation thing is too much and they head right back to the comfort of their pool chair.  Overseas you see this in the expat communities that stick together, gather around their embassies and try and have as little interaction with locals as possible.  They may have some interest in their host culture, but don’t think they have what it take to dive in.  What this type of person needs is to get around someone who’s already in who will encourage and help them see how much fun can be have once your swimming in the waters of a new culture.
So what type of a swimmer are you? eager to jump in? a little apprehensive?  A great first step in language learning and enculturation is knowing yourself.  Then you can make a plan and set goals to fit who you are and not just what you”ve seen others do.

For me personally, it took a while to realize that I”m more of a Stair Stepper, at least when it comes to language.  I like to understand before I speak and really don”t like making grammatical mistakes.  There were definitely times when i felt i was being left behind by more extroverted, talkative friends who seemed to be so much quicker to speak.  Of course secretly i winced every time they made what i knew was a grammatical  mistake or called a he, a she.

In the long run what I”ve found out is that despite the two different approaches, if either of the them is dedicated to learning and growing, they both end up in the same place.  Eventually those who just go with it and jump right in learn the grammar and nuances of language and culture and eventually the more timid get the boldness to speak.  In the end our bodies adapt and we find ourselves simply enjoying a nice cool swim on a hot summer day.


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