Culture Shock

Culture Shock

Discussion Questions on Page 209

  1. Can you understand what Dita is going through and empathized with her?

I understand what Dita is going through having moved to a new country without having prior preparation on what she was to expect. Dita comes from a different country that has a different culture from that of the USA. I empathize with her because she had no options aimed at improving her situation. She did not have any support in the USA or any person who spoke in her native language. This made her feel lonely in a place where she faced a lot of demand for success in the programs she was undertaking.

  • What kind of person is Dita? How would you describe her?

Dita is a person who is reserved and not able to share much of what she is going through. Therefore, she was hoping that her roommate would recognize her loneliness and may be invite her to some of the outings she was going. Consequently, Dita is the kind of person who feels some difficulty when it comes to approaching people as she thought they would reject her based on where she came from. For example, she does not want to raise her problem with the professor in her art class despite her having difficulties in understanding what the professor was saying.

  • How well has she been coping with her college life?

Dita has not been doing well with her college life. It is evident she did not have any prior preparation on what she was to face in the American society. She is facing a culture shock that starts with the foods she is eating in the school, the ease with which people discuss sexual relationships, and the outgoing nature of the students. She has been unable to blend in the American society and take advantage of the diversity in the country. She has not engaged her roommate in meaningful discourse on how well she can cope with the American setting. Her friend being an American would have been ideal for Dita in understanding how to succeed in the country.

  • What specific problems is Dita having in adapting to American college life?

Dita has the problem with the food she is required to eat in college. The food is not similar to what she had been used to in Indonesia. The other main problem that Dita is facing is the question of language barrier between her and the professor who is teaching he in the art class. She is unable to follow what the professor is saying as he speaks at a speed that us a challenge to Dita. This explains why Dita is unable to perform well in the art class despite drawing being one of her passions. The issue of language barrier is also evident in the poor performance she had in other English course. The third challenge is the issue of culture that is different from the one that she was used to in Indonesia. She was not used to people speaking openly about sexual relationships. She did not have one either and, therefore, did not see the need to keep talking about those relationships. Dita did not have the much needed support and preparation to succeed in the USA a country that has a different culture from the one in her country.

  • What kind of person is Sandra, Dita’s roommate? How would you describe her?

Sandra is a person who is outgoing based on the accepted aspects of her culture. Although the US is a multicultural nation, she does not take interest in the differences that she has with Dita. Despite Dita spending much of the time in her room, Sandra is out with friends. If she was keen, she would have noted that there was something wrong with her friend and it was hard for her to fit in the American culture. For example, Sandra did not notice the loneliness that was affecting Dita at the time. She was the only person that Dita new, which means Sandra, was in a better position to help Dita in the process of fitting her culture with that of the USA.

  • What types of support does Dita’s college offer to International Students?

The college has a program that provides counseling to international students when they need such assistance. However, the same program does not take interest in guiding the international student in the process of settling in the campus. The program is also ineffective, as it is not well staffed as evidenced by the incidence when Dita sought assistance only to realize that the facilitators were on vacation.

  • How important are friends in helping a student adjust to a new life?

Friends are important to a student who is trying to adjust to a new locality especially one that is characterized by a difference in culture. The student can speak to them on the challenges that he or she is facing in the settling process. This will reduce the stress such as the one that Dita was having at the time. The friends are also important in that they provide support based on experiences they also had as well.

  • What steps could Dita take to become more comfortable in the United States?

Dita is suffering from culture shock and needs to conduct research about the American culture. This will enable her to understand the differences that exist between her culture and that in the USA. Consequently, it is important for her to seek friends who come from other nations who can guide her in settling in the USA. For example, it would have been ideal for her to seek help from a person from any other East Asian country who has had the experience of settling in the US because getting an Indonesian was hard. She also needs to be more talkative to her friend and express her stress to Sandra. Sandra is better placed to help her in the process of dealing with the culture shock. For instance, Sandra can show her around the city where they can seek Indonesian restaurants in order to make Dita feel at home by experiencing the food she was used to.