Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 3.16.40 PM

Here's a chance to find out who we are and what we're all about. Plus, we'd love to hear from you.


 

Travel changes lives.
Travel with a purpose ... Make a difference ... Do good.

It no longer matters what travelers do; it matters why they do it.

Take The Next Step!

Screen Shot 2022-05-19 at 7.28.14 PM copy

    Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 5.00.27 PMWhere Can I Be A Homestay Tutor?

    Homestay tutors volunteer to teach conversational English to a screened host family and receive free room and board.

    Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 5.04.39 PMWait! Learn More. Read The Program Overview!
    Reasons to Homestay Tutor
    • Improve or learn a language
    • Experience a new culture and food
    • Help someone learn English
    • Live like a local in your host community for free
    Should you be a Homestay Tutor or an Au Pair?  Click here to compare:
    Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 7.19.43 PMTravel With A Purpose

    Help a family learn English. For 1, 2, or 3 months. You'll become a part of the community.

    When your host family learns English, you're leaving a lifetime skill that they (and you) will never forget.

    Deirdre copy

      Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 5.00.27 PMWhere Can I Be An Au Pair?

      Au Pairs take care of the children, help with homework, keeps children's rooms & play areas clean, and prepares snacks and meals for the children for about 30 hours a week.

      Reasons to be an Au Pair
      • Improve or learn a language
      • Get paid to travel
      • Use your childcare skills to help a host family in another country
      • Make a difference when you travel
      • Live like a local in your host community for free and experience a new culture & food
      Click Here to Compare being an Au Pair to a Homestay Tutor:
      Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 7.19.43 PMTravel With A Purpose

      Depending on the location, you can be an au pair for a month or up to a year. You'll become a part of the community.

      ninos y yo copy

        Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 5.00.27 PMWhere Can I Teach English Abroad?

        Teach Abroad with the peace of mind knowing we have your back 24/7.

        Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 5.04.39 PMWait! Learn More. Read The Program Overview!
        Reasons to teach abroad
        • Learn a language
        • Get paid to travel
        • Experience a new culture & food
        • Contribute to people improving their life opportunities
        • Make a difference when you travel
        • Live like a local in your host community
          Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 7.19.43 PMTravel With A Purpose

          Depending on the location, you can teach for a month in the summer, a semester, or a year. You'll become a part of the community.

          Teaching English Abroad is ideal for anyone wanting to have an amazing cultural experience, earn a sustainable income, and contribute to people improving their life opportunities.

          Teach_In_Thailand

           

            Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 5.00.27 PMWhere Can I Volunteer Abroad?

            Volunteer Abroad as a summer camp counselor in a language camp or dramatically improve the lives of at-risk animals. Find out here where you can go for these experiences.

            Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 5.04.39 PMWait! Learn More About The Program By Reading The Overview
              Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 7.19.43 PMTravel With A Purpose

              This is an immersion opportunity. Depending on the location, you can be an au pair for a month or up to a year. You'll become a part of the community.

              Au Pairs help the children with their homework and assist in keeping children’s rooms and play areas clean. They prepare snacks and meals for the children and drop them off or pick them up from school or activities.

              56312127_2258573240878150_5216619363066445824_o

               

                This is our Travel Blog. Press the red link below to read our posts from staff and participants.

                 

                Subscribe to our Travel Blog here with your email address. Then you can decide how we'll notify you of new posts.

                  A collection of stories, updates, extended reviews, recipes for success, teaching ideas, and travel ideas you can use anywhere, anytime.

                  Home Page Feature 01-3

                   

                    Become A Homestay English Tutor

                    Tutor Conversational English To A Host Family

                    As you enter into a family's life as a guest with the purpose of helping, you will also have the opportunity to learn. It's stepping into the Global Classroom!

                    Free Download (or read the pdf online)

                    A Tutor's Guide

                    Everything you need to become a Homestay English Tutor.

                    Claim Your Tutor's Guide

                    Welcome to A Tutor's Guide ...

                    Congratulations on your interest in becoming a part of the Homestay English Tutors program by The Cultural Exchange Project! Get ready to embark on an exciting new chapter in your life, where you will not only learn but also teach in a global classroom. Both you and your host family are filled with anticipation, anxiety, and high expectations for the adventures that lie ahead. Your host family will be eagerly preparing to welcome you into their home, wondering about the wonderful experiences you will bring. Who are you? What are your interests? How can they make you feel at ease? And most importantly, what unique contributions will you make to their family and its members?

                    Life flows, and we seldom remark on the little things surrounding us and daily life. These are natural actions in our lives. However, entering another culture accentuates all you are about to enter that realm.

                    Relax! Be Yourself.

                    Embrace the unfolding adventures as they come. No need to fret if things don't align with your expectations. Embrace the uniqueness of the culture you're in, as it will add an exhilarating touch to your life's journey and shape your future in ways you can treasure.

                    As you enter into a family's life as a guest to help, remember that you will also have the opportunity to learn and grow. This interaction will be an exciting journey for both you and the family members, sparking countless questions and observations. It's important to keep in mind that you are an ambassador, carrying a significant responsibility.

                    We hope that this information will be valuable to you on your adventures. There are several sections that can assist you in working with children of different age levels. Families may request your assistance in their children's studies, helping them excel in their academic journey. This could involve anything from a kindergartener to a student aiming for a high score in a major exam. In most cases, the hope is that your interaction will foster a better understanding of both language and culture. This is the essence of the experience.

                    We are here to provide you with helpful suggestions and guidance through this booklet. We value your input and welcome any comments or feedback you may have based on your own experiences. Additionally, we have included resources to help you find useful information and give you a glimpse of what you can expect when entering a new culture.

                    Expectations

                    When considering other cultures, we often come into the situation with preconceived notions based on our previous knowledge. These ideas can influence our expectations of how we will react or adapt to a different culture. Sometimes, we tend to jump ahead and imagine how things will unfold and how we will respond. However, if we hold too tightly to these expectations, we may find ourselves having negative experiences that don't align with our idealized version of the situation.

                    Maintaining a sense of humor and being flexible is crucial when living and working in a different culture. It's important to set aside any preconceived notions and approach the culture with an open mind. This presents a genuine opportunity for both you and the family to learn and grow, and it's an experience that should not be overlooked.

                    When fulfilling your role as a teacher, it's important to be realistic about what you can accomplish within the given time frame, both on a daily basis and throughout the entire experience. Put yourself in the shoes of the child and the family to understand how you might react in different situations.

                    The host family will also have their own expectations, including their cultural beliefs, behavioral norms, and what they hope to gain from the hosting experience. They, just like you, are stepping into the unknown and may feel a sense of nervousness about what might unfold. They want the best for their child and anticipate a certain level of growth and learning, although it's important to consider that realistic goals may vary depending on the child's age. Ongoing communication with the family can help ensure that expectations for the child and the overall experience remain grounded and attainable.

                    Embrace the richness of the host culture and fully immerse yourself in the vibrant life of the family. This is a magnificent journey of cultural exploration that awaits you.

                    Enjoy your adventure!

                    Your Own Bag Of Tricks

                    Suggestions for the younger students:  Ages 3 to 6 Years

                    Younger language learners eagerly embrace every task without any preconceived notions. They approach new experiences with joy and effortlessly absorb what they are learning. Every encounter is a chance for discovery.

                    Keep in mind that young learners have a brief and restricted attention span and, although they are receptive to new experiences, they may quickly become tired of a task and seek additional stimulation.

                    The teacher should always be prepared with multiple plans, including Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. It is important to consider the timing of working with the child and avoid overstimulation, as it can lead to fatigue. Make sure to have a variety of activities ready, both for indoor and outdoor settings, including rainy day activities.

                    Younger students find great joy in engaging with vibrant colors, participating in activities that require hand-eye coordination, singing songs, playing physical games, and immersing themselves in stories that involve body language. The ability to recognize objects in another language brings them personal satisfaction and earns them praise from adults. Puppets, whether they are finger puppets or hand puppets, provide an excellent means of expressing stories and language. Young learners thrive when they learn through hands-on experiences and interact with their peers. Play and physical activities come naturally to them, and they quickly incorporate new words to match their actions and experiences. It is unnecessary to overly analyze or correct mistakes made by younger learners. Instead, repetition is key to providing them with correct models to follow. It is important to communicate with parents to understand their goals and how their child responds to different situations. Adjusting your expectations based on the child's age is crucial, and flexibility is essential.

                    Things to Remember

                    • Short-term tasks
                    • Lots of color in anything you do
                    • Visuals
                    • Puppets: simple stories
                    • Task-specific simple vocabulary
                    • Materials for drawing or painting
                    • Use of the child’s own toys in creative activities. Play games that include:

                      • What is this/that...
                      • Where is this/that...
                      • I see something (color)...
                      • When is...

                    To make learning more engaging, incorporate activities that align with the child's age, such as understanding concepts like in/out, up/down, directions, and telling time. Additionally, take into consideration the child's cultural background to enhance their learning experience. If possible, try to visit the child's school as an observer to gain further insights.

                    Building a strong rapport with the child is essential. Engaging in activities like taking walks and visiting the park with the child and their parents or family members can help you become a part of their daily life. It is also important to understand the child's schedule and determine their optimal learning times based on their energy levels and tiredness.

                    If you happen to play a musical instrument, it can be a wonderful way to connect with the child and teach them simple songs. If you know that you will be visiting a home with young children, consider visiting a children's store to buy a book of songs specifically for young ones.

                    It is crucial to keep in mind that language teaching and learning can incorporate a wide range of materials and activities. As an educator, you have the ability to be creative and imaginative, and children are usually receptive to your ideas. Utilizing activities that involve color, movement, short tasks, simple vocabulary, and adjusted expectations based on the situation are all essential for achieving your teaching goals.

                    Tutor France 03-1

                    Suggestions For Middle/High School/Adult Learners

                     
                    Here we go with some conversation starters
                     
                    Brown Bag Impromptu Talks:

                    To make it more interactive, you can write various topics on separate pieces of paper and place them in a container or hat. Then, have the students randomly select a topic and give a brief talk about it. This list can also be used for casual conversations or if the host family wants to practice English during dinner, these ideas can create a fun-filled meal with the family.

                    1. My favorite song. Why.
                    2. My plans for the future.
                    3. The proudest day of my life and why.
                    4. What I like about people and why.
                    5. What I dislike about people and why.
                    6. The subject I like the most in school and why.
                    7. The subject I like the least in school and why.
                    8. My favorite actor or actress.
                    9. My neighbors (describe).
                    10. The greatest mistake of my life and what happened.
                    11. My home (describe).
                    12. My parents (describe)
                    13. What I do in my spare time.
                    14. My favorite holiday and why.
                    15. My hometown (describe).
                    16. The best vacation I ever had, and why.
                    17. My favorite book and why.
                    18. My favorite sport and why.
                    19. My hobbies.
                    20. My country is famous for......
                    21. Foods I like and dislike.
                    22. What is friendship?
                    23. Something that is not fair.
                    24. Something I hate doing.
                    25. Something I love doing.
                    26. The best thing to happen to me today.
                    27. Riches are for spending. Agree/Disagree
                    28. An unexpected event (describe).
                    What Would Happen If ...?
                    1. Everyone who told a lie turned green? (good for a ‘white lie’ discussion)
                    2. If men were not allowed to become doctors or pilots
                    3. If gold were found in your area?
                    4. If a film was made at your school (with a famous actor or actress)?
                    5. If you won a trip for two to the city of your choice?
                    What Would You Do If ...?
                    1. If you have seen a teacher steal something from another person’s belongings?
                    2. If it rained every day of your holiday?
                    3. If you received a love letter from someone, you didn’t like?
                    4. If you found a snake under your bed?
                    5. If you could not remember numbers (How important are numbers)?
                    6. If someone hit a small child very hard in your presence?
                    7. If you found a large sum of money in a library book?
                    8. If you suddenly found you could become invisible by eating cucumbers?
                    9. If you broke an expensive vase while visiting a friend’s home?
                    10. If you could never sleep at night?
                    11. If...........
                    Add your own to the list. These are all good discussion topics and a good way to compare cultures.
                    I’d Rather Be.....

                    (A ‘choice’ exercise. Students should defend their choice).

                    • soft – hard
                    • hammer – nail
                    • glass – wood
                    • rose – cactus
                    • Water – fire
                    • mineral water – whiskey
                    • bitter – sweet
                    • square – round
                    • beauty – ugly
                    • cold – hot
                    • sparrow – snail
                    • candle – light bulb
                    • hawk – mouse
                    • village – city
                    • chicken – egg
                    • orange – potato
                    Create A Story

                    Generate a list of 10-20 randomly selected words that can function as nouns or verbs, or have multiple meanings. Encourage students to construct a story using each of the words. They can rearrange the words and form sentences to create their narrative. To make the activity more interactive and engaging, have the students work in pairs for increased fun and interaction. If needed, dictionaries can be utilized to clarify the meanings of the words.

                    Here Are Some Random Questions
                    1. How does a person decide whom to marry?
                    2. What is the best age for a person to get married?
                    3. How can a stranger tell if two people are married?
                    4. What do most people do on a date?
                    5. When is it OK to kiss someone?
                    6. Is it better to be single or married?
                    7. Any What, How, Why, When questions...... Be Creative!
                    Hangman is always a good quick vocabulary review

                    Word search puzzles are a valuable tool for vocabulary building. Bringing Word Search puzzle books is an excellent way to enhance students' vocabulary skills. Additionally, utilizing English language newspapers can improve their reading abilities. A great activity to further develop their language skills is to have students describe the chosen article.

                    Group Discussion Topics

                    These can be used as discussion or writing topics. They ask for opinions. Students may wish to keep a private journal of their writing.

                    1. Misunderstandings between the older and younger generations.
                    2. Women’s role in modern society.
                    3. What sports are popular?
                    4. The population explosion.
                    5. How we can improve our natural environment.
                    6. Goals of developing countries.
                    7. Responsibilities of developed countries.
                    8. Features of the English language that a non-native speaker finds difficult.
                    9. The role of TV, books, radio, movies, and magazines in our lives.
                    10. Qualities of a good student/teacher/parent.
                    11. Childhood is the happiest time of life.
                    12. The younger (older) generation knows best.
                    13. Travel is the best education.
                    14. Examinations are unnecessary.
                    15. Old traditions prevent progress.
                    16. Civilization brings progress.
                    17. Fashion contributes much to society.
                    18. The education system should be reformed.
                    19. Parents are too permissive with their children these days.
                    20. It is better to marry for money than for love. (Or you can reverse this)

                    Kat and Vilma-1

                    Idioms are always found in all languages.

                    Consider bringing along a small idiom book for some added fun during discussions. For example, phrases like "He got the answer right off the bat" can be explored. Many of these idioms can be found in the student's class books or storybooks.

                    Maps

                    Navigating and understanding directions is crucial in every culture. Encourage students to describe how to reach a specific location in the area or city from their current position. They should use terms like right, left, straight ahead, names of buildings and streets, as well as any necessary modes of transportation.

                    Exploration

                    Exploring the city, visiting museums and parks, or simply engaging in a walk-and-talk session with the students can be a delightful experience. Consider taking a silent walk and then asking the students to share what they observed or heard upon returning. Each student will have their own unique perspective and insights to contribute.

                    Stereotyping

                    Engage in a thought-provoking activity with the students by discussing different professions and asking them to share their immediate associations with gender. Create a list on a board or large piece of paper, including professions such as doctor, nurse, taxi driver, clerk in a store, teacher (elementary), teacher (secondary), college professor, airline pilot, airline service attendant, bus driver, bank manager, business owner, etc. This exercise encourages students to reflect on stereotypes and preconceived notions, promoting a discussion on cultural differences. Feel free to use your creativity and include other professions like hairdresser, masseuse, truck driver, etc.

                    Magazine photographs and advertisements are always good for descriptions.

                    Proverbs

                    This activity is an enjoyable opportunity to explore and compare different cultures. It not only expands vocabulary and familiarity with idioms but also encourages students to analyze the meaning and applicability of proverbs. They can discuss whether the proverb provides good advice, share any similar sayings from their own culture, consider the historical context or origins of the proverb.

                    1. Variety is the spice of life.
                    2. It’s an ill wind that blows no good.
                    3. Many hands make light work.
                    4. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
                    5. Children should be seen and not heard.
                    6. A fool and his money are soon parted.
                    7. Beauty is skin deep.
                    8. Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today.
                    9. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
                    10. Every cloud has a silver lining.
                    11. Haste makes waste.
                    12. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
                    13. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
                    14. Let sleeping dogs lie.
                    15. Birds of a feather flock together.
                    16. Rome was not built in a day.
                    17. Better to be safe than sorry.
                    18. Charity begins at home.
                    19. Oil and water don’t mix.
                    20. No news is good news.
                    21. When poverty comes to the door, love flies out the window.
                    22. It’s no use crying over spilled milk.
                    23. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
                    24. Practice makes perfect.
                    25. Give him an inch, and he’ll take a mile.
                    26. Necessity is the mother of invention.
                    27. Misery loves company.
                    28. Spare the rod and spoil the child.
                    29. A rolling stone gathers no moss.
                    30. Don’t count your chickens until they’re hatched.
                    31. Actions speak louder than words.
                    32. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
                    33. Honesty is the best policy.
                    34. Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it.
                    Free Download (Or read the pdf online)
                    A Tutor's Guide
                    Teaching English To Families And Children
                    Written by The GeoVisions Foundation, which is now The Cultural Exchange Project

                    CC_logo_cmyk space copy

                    Claim Your Tutor's Guide

                    Internet Resources For More Ideas

                    Looking for some quick inspiration? Browse through the websites listed below for creative ideas. It's also helpful to consider what resonates with your own cultural background and keep a record of successful ideas in a "Good Idea" file for future reference.

                    Dave's ESL Cafe

                    (Good exercises and ideas; good site to learn about other ex-pats worldwide.)

                    Transitions Abroad

                    The Original Guide to Purposeful Travel, Work, Study and Living Abroad.

                    ESL Headquarters

                    Great spot for flashcards and worksheets.

                    A4 ESL

                    Quizzes, tests, exercises, and puzzles to help you learn English as a Second Language (ESL).

                    ESL Galaxy

                    Lots of links for students.

                    There are countless other websites waiting to be discovered. Additionally, your college or university may provide a valuable resource directory. The ideas presented in this booklet are just the beginning, designed to assist families with children of various ages.

                    Shanny 2

                    Nuts And Bolts

                    This section includes good ideas to consider that will make your stay abroad more comfortable.

                    Embassies: When traveling abroad, it's a good idea for Americans to register their presence with their Embassy. This can be very helpful in case of emergencies, as well as for receiving important bulletins or getting consular aid if you encounter any difficulties. Luckily, you can easily register online and just make sure to provide your day of arrival and proposed departure date. To find the address and contact information for the American Embassy in your host country, simply search on Google for "American Embassy - (name of your host country)."

                    It is crucial to have personal emergency information with you at all times, including contact details for emergencies, your homestay family's name, phone number(s), and address, as well as the contact information for your Embassy.

                    Your Host Family: Your host family will be thrilled to welcome you into their home and share their hospitality and culture. There is so much more to learn beyond language, and the family will be eager to know about your interests, likes, and what life is like in North America. Depending on your language skills, you will have the opportunity to share and learn from each other. While engaging in conversations, it's best to avoid sensitive topics like politics, religion, or trying to promote your own culture. If these subjects do come up, you can express your personal opinions and beliefs tactfully while also asking the family similar questions.

                    A great way to connect with your host family and new friends is by sharing some traditional recipes from your home region. In today's diverse and globalized world, fast-food restaurants can be found everywhere. However, each of us still carries a unique taste of our culture that can be shared with others. This can be a delightful way to introduce yourself and involve your host family members in a fun and interactive experience.

                    Maintain a daily journal to capture your exciting new adventures, as memories may fade with time and new experiences unfold. It's easy to overlook small details in our day-to-day lives, but journaling is a wonderful way to preserve your emotions, the sights you've seen, and the people you've met.

                    Things to Watch: The community, the family interactions, cultural differences, and small daily surprises.

                    Packing Your suitcase

                    What to pack in the suitcase (Beyond the personal items)

                    In most cases, you'll have a good idea of your destination and family circumstances, including the ages of the children. However, it's possible that you may not know what teaching aids will be available, down to the glue sticks. That's why it's a great idea to pack useful items that can be used with children of various ages. This way, you'll be prepared no matter what. Plus, any items that go unused can be left behind, making room in your suitcase for gifts and items for your own home. So, let your imagination run wild as we explore a partial list of possible items to pack.

                    You can leave behind anything that goes unused and use the extra space in your suitcase for gifts and items for your home. While we can assume that you will primarily be working with younger children, there is also the possibility that you may assist older children in their studies. So, let's dive into a partial list of possible items to pack and let your imagination guide you along the way.

                    More Things To Consider When Packing

                    Deciding what to pack from your closet can be a challenge, especially when you're limited to just one suitcase and a carry-on backpack. For a simple and efficient packing strategy, opt for a stylish outfit that can be dressed up for special occasions. It doesn't have to be a tuxedo, but something that stands out from your everyday attire. Keep in mind that different cultures may have different dress codes, so avoid packing short shorts, tight-fitting tops with exposed midriffs, or relying solely on flip-flops. It's important to consider how others perceive you. Opt for mix-and-match outfits that are easy to wash and wear, and don't forget to pack comfortable walking shoes.

                    To maximize space in your suitcase, try rolling your clothing instead of folding it. Not only does this method minimize wrinkles, but it also allows you to neatly stack your clothes like logs. Additionally, consider using plastic baggies to store your items. You'll be surprised at how versatile they can be for various purposes later on.

                    When selecting a suitcase, it's a good idea to choose one with wheels and a pull handle. The four-wheeled swivel suitcases are particularly convenient. If the suitcase also has outside zipper pockets, that's an added bonus. Soft-sided suitcases are lighter in weight, which can be beneficial. Keep in mind that weight allowances can vary depending on whether you are traveling domestically or internationally, and from country to country. It's always best to check the specific requirements wherever possible.

                    excited-young-black-woman-packing-bags-for-holidays-pretty-hispanic-girl-preparing-sui-SBI-330550216 copy-1-1

                    Packing Checklist -- Important Items

                    Passport/photocopies – You can conveniently carry them in a pouch around your neck or in a purse slung across your chest and over one shoulder. It's important to remember to keep a copy in another location and one at home or with a friend who can send it to you if needed. Avoid carrying valuables in trousers or shirt pockets.

                    • Extra Passport Photos
                    • At least one credit card good for international expenses
                    • Record of vaccinations, especially COVID and boosters
                    • Insurance Coverage for international travel
                    • Band-Aids
                    • Diary or journal
                    • Small sewing kit – similar to hotel kits
                    • Seasonal materials – If you know you will be abroad during a typical North American holiday.

                    More Things to Consider When Packing Your Suitcase

                    A sturdy backpack that can also serve as a convenient day pack is an excellent choice for your second piece of luggage and carry-on. If you plan on bringing a laptop computer, it's advisable to keep it with you. Make sure to consult the airline regarding their guidelines for carry-on items. If you have any doubts or concerns, it's best to pack those items in your checked-in luggage.

                    It's important to keep your passport and other essential documents needed for exit or entry with you at all times when traveling. Avoid packing them in your check-in luggage. Also, make sure to carry them along with your money and wallet. Once you're back home, there's no need to carry them daily. It's a good idea to have two photocopies of your passport face page, one in your suitcase and one kept at home, just in case of any unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, consider having a card in your wallet and another one in your suitcase with next of kin information and emergency contact details. If you take any medications, it's beneficial to have that information (name and dosage) readily available. Similarly, if you wear contact lenses, having a backup pair or a pair of glasses is always a good precaution. Including prescription information in your personal details is also recommended.

                    Culture Shock

                    Experiencing culture shock can be quite overwhelming. It is a deep reaction to the psychological disorientation that occurs when individuals are uprooted from their familiar culture and immersed in a new one for an extended period. This can lead to intense discomfort, with manifestations such as irritability, bitterness, homesickness, depression, resentment, confusion, and even psychosomatic ailments like rashes, headaches, and upset stomachs. Culture shock can vary in duration, sometimes being brief and at other times lingering for a prolonged period.

                    While frustration can be a part of culture shock, it should not be confused with culture shock itself. Frustration typically arises from a specific action or situation that can be resolved or changed. On the other hand, ambiguity refers to a situation that does not align with our preconceived expectations, the inability to see desired outcomes or the use of methods that do not suit the problem at hand. These factors contribute to feelings of frustration.

                    However, culture shock refers to encountering differences in how things are done, organized, perceived, or valued that are different from your own. These differences have the potential to challenge your unconscious beliefs, customs, assumptions, values, and behaviors, making you question what is considered "right" or "wrong."

                    Culture shock doesn't just come out of nowhere and surprise you. Instead, it slowly creeps up on you, gradually building up over time through a series of small events that are hard to pinpoint. There isn't one specific thing that indicates you're experiencing culture shock.

                    All of us have what is called "cultural baggage" that we carry with us wherever we go. It includes our known ways of acting, cues that we unconsciously follow, cultural body language, subtle ways of expressing ourselves and our feelings, and cultural meanings that we understand instinctively. This "cultural baggage," or our personal cultural bubble, shapes how we view the world and assume that life will work for us. But what happens when this support system suddenly disappears in another culture? Our behaviors and assumptions are no longer acceptable in daily life. We are faced with ambiguity, a lack of clear rules, and our own values being questioned. We find ourselves in situations where we are expected to perform with maximum speed and skills, but the rules have not been clearly explained. Will we feel disoriented? How will we react? These situations can range from knowing what to say when meeting someone for the first time to navigating social customs like handshakes, accepting or refusing invitations, and understanding the meaning behind gestures or responses. How do we interpret these cultural differences and cues in our everyday lives? Will these differences ultimately affect us on a deeper level?

                    Because you're entering a new culture for a relatively short period, your experience will be intense. It's natural for us to gauge our "distance" and psychologically adapt to the time frame. Initially, everything will be fresh, different, and exciting. New people, students, lots to explore... where are the differences? We're all the same. We're human. But after a while, you might start feeling overwhelmed by the differences because you can't control or fit them into your cultural mindset. Small things in the host culture may become significant in your own value system. For example, North Americans have certain cleanliness standards and specific attitudes toward punctuality. What about the value of human life? Or animal life? Pets? How do you feel about everyone's chopsticks going into the same bowl during dinner? And what about your sense of privacy? How will you react when things on your desk are considered everyone's property?

                    At about this time, when your cultural sensibilities have been assaulted, you will begin to start complaining about the host culture as being the cause of your discomfort. Everyone experiences culture shock differently, but there are reactions that people go through. In those areas that are unpleasant to you, you might either withdraw, or you might get aggressive and fight back. You might lose your temper, complain bitterly, or express negative attitudes to people around you. This might not be appropriate behavior in the host culture.

                    Let’s take a look at some of these manifestations of culture shock.

                    When individuals immerse themselves in a new culture, they inevitably go through a series of stages. These stages are universal and apply regardless of the duration of their stay in the host country.

                    Home Page Feature 04-1 FB

                    Initial Euphoria

                    In the beginning, there is a sense of excitement, with high expectations for the task at hand and a positive mindset. The person is open to embracing the host culture and appreciating the differences. They are eager to learn and discover the unique aspects but also recognize the similarities that bind us all together. It's truly impressive to realize that people around the world share common traits. This feeling of euphoria can last for a week or even longer.

                    Irritability and Hostility

                    Over time, individuals may shift their focus from the cultural similarities to the cultural differences, which may seem to be prevalent at every level and may cause some discomfort. It's natural for these differences to sometimes feel more significant than they actually are, and you might be experiencing certain symptoms of culture shock.

                    Gradual Adjustment

                    As you begin to decipher cultural cues, you'll find a sense of comfort and purpose returning to your life. Your sense of humor will resurface, and the disorientation you once felt will fade away. It's a realization that the situation is far from hopeless.

                    Adaptation and Biculturalism

                    You'll know that you're starting to overcome culture shock when you feel confident functioning in two cultures. You might even embrace some of the personal attitudes, customs, and ways of doing things from the host culture. These are things that you'll likely miss when you return home and may even seek out in minority communities as a way to counter "Reverse Culture Shock."

                    Research has indicated that individuals typically experience two periods of emotional difficulty during their time in a host culture. Additionally, they adapt their mindset and expectations based on the duration of their experience. For instance, your perspective on a short-term program may differ from that of a year-long program, influencing how you navigate cultural differences and similarities.

                    So... You are experiencing Culture Shock. How do you combat it?

                    L. Robert Kohls, in his text “Survival Kit for Overseas Living,” lists the following, below paraphrased:

                    1. Understand that culture shock is a common experience for anyone who spends a significant amount of time overseas. It is completely natural and does not mean that there is anything wrong with you. Just like thousands of others before you, you will overcome it and come out stronger on the other side.
                    2. Prepare yourself for the lessons of culture shock. Culture serves as a survival mechanism that not only teaches its members that their ways of doing things are right, but also instills a sense of superiority. Culture shock occurs when you deeply engage with another culture and discover that there are different ways of doing things that are neither wrong nor inferior.
                    3. Pay attention to your body and familiarize yourself with the signs of culture shock.
                    4. Gather information about the host nation by keeping a daily diary or journal where you can note down the similarities and differences you observe. It's important to do this daily because each day will bring new experiences that you might quickly forget if not recorded.
                    5. Choose one or two topics that pique your interest and delve deeper into them. This could be anything from exploring the local cuisine, understanding the daily routines, immersing yourself in sports, or discovering the unique learning styles of the culture. Whatever it is that brings the culture alive for you, take the time to investigate and learn more about it.
                    6. Take a moment to consciously explore the logical reasons behind anything in the host culture that may appear strange, difficult, confusing, or threatening. Try to put yourself in their shoes and view your experience from their perspective. Look for patterns and connections, and be open to letting go of some of your own cultural biases as part of the learning process.
                    7. Explore the underlying values behind every "strange" action you observe. How do mothers in the host culture teach their children? Does the local holiday hold the same significance as in your own culture? Take note of the differences in values, such as independence versus dependence, respect versus backtalk, and caring for parents versus pursuing personal interests.
                    8. Create a list of all the wonderful aspects you can appreciate about your current situation. Then, place the list somewhere visible throughout the day as a constant reminder.
                    9. Steer clear of other expatriates who constantly dwell in culture shock and spend their days seeking company to commiserate with. Negativity breeds negativity and can often dampen an otherwise enjoyable experience.
                    10. Avoid belittling the host culture or making derogatory remarks. Refrain from making jokes that may demean or disrespect the culture.
                    11. Work on cultivating a positive sense of humor. Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself. We all make silly mistakes that can make us feel a bit foolish but remember that these moments of embarrassment will eventually fade away. Share your funny mishaps with your friends and let out a good laugh to release any lingering discomfort.
                    12. Seek out someone who has spent more time in the host culture, gone through culture shock themselves, and has a positive outlook on the local customs. They can provide valuable insights and help you gain a fresh perspective on your own experience.
                    13. Connect with locals and foster meaningful relationships with some of them. Embrace the opportunity to delve into diverse cultural perspectives and explore the richness of these differences.
                    14. When seeking advice, it's important to prioritize how you're feeling rather than focusing solely on what you believe to be the causes of your discomfort.
                    15. No need to be concerned about compromising your values when faced with new perspectives. Embrace the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of the world through different points of view, rather than clinging to a narrow perspective from one culture.
                    16. Stay engaged, stay productive, and keep your mind stimulated. Avoid idleness and self-pity.
                    17. Find humor in the situation.
                    18. When you're feeling down, escape to a picturesque spot; go for a leisurely stroll; discover something fresh; contemplate how you'll share this extraordinary experience with loved ones back home; embrace the fact that you're part of a truly unique adventure.
                    19. Rest assured that you will overcome culture shock and emerge from the experience with newfound wisdom and strength.
                     
                    Free Download (Or read the pdf online)
                    A Tutor's Guide
                    Teaching English To Families And Children
                    Written by The GeoVisions Foundation, which is now The Cultural Exchange Project

                    CC_logo_cmyk space copy

                    Claim Your Tutor's Guide

                    Re-Entry

                    Returning Home

                    Your experience will have been incredibly exciting, eye-opening, and undoubtedly life-changing. It may have had its challenges as you and your family adapted to new ideas and situations, but overall, it was a positive and enriching experience. Everyone has grown and learned from this adventure, and when it's time to say goodbye, you and your family will feel a deep sense of gratitude for the memories created.

                    You will all, however, be delighted that your paths have crossed and that lasting friendships have been formed. Ongoing communication will preserve the memories and facilitate the continued exchange of experiences.

                    Reentry into your own culture can be challenging, but it's also an exciting adventure that sets you apart from friends and family. Your experiences abroad are personal and leaving such an intense social environment can be difficult. It's natural to feel a sense of loss and not want to let go of the moment. However, you can reduce this feeling by staying in touch through letters, phone calls, emails, or even planning a reverse visit to your own culture.

                    After coming back, you might notice that certain friendships have changed a bit. Your perspectives and ideas may have expanded due to your exciting adventures and the diverse international community you were a part of. It can be challenging to articulate your experiences and have others fully grasp the same level of excitement.

                    It might be a challenge to articulate your emotions about your host family and the experiences you had while abroad. Your experiences may pour out all at once and not make sense to others. Those who haven't been in similar situations may not fully grasp your excitement in sharing your adventures.

                    Sometimes, you may have had the chance to look at your own culture from the perspective of the host culture. It's possible that you'll notice flaws in your society that you hadn't noticed before. As you compare and contrast, you might become critical of certain things. It could be helpful to keep these personal critical observations to yourself until you have gained a broader perspective and a more objective understanding of both cultures.

                    You might have embraced a fresh style of clothing, manners, or even language due to your experiences abroad. However, it's important to be mindful of how others may perceive these changes when you reintegrate into your own culture. It's not about boasting but about being aware of other's reactions.

                    Once you return, you may find that the familiar routines of the past seem dull and unexciting compared to the thrilling adventures and new friends you made in the foreign culture. It's completely natural to miss the challenges and daily excitement you experienced. However, it's important to find ways to overcome any negative feelings and continue building on the positive experiences you had. 

                    Your journey has been an extraordinary and personal adventure that will expand your horizons as you embrace upcoming opportunities. The connections you have formed will accompany you throughout your life, bringing depth and context to your future personal development.

                    Free Download (Or read the pdf online)
                    A Tutor's Guide
                    Teaching English To Families And Children
                    Written by The GeoVisions Foundation, which is now The Cultural Exchange Project

                    CC_logo_cmyk space copy

                    Claim Your Tutor's Guide