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Theme 1: Culture

Practice 1

Culture Shock!

  • Each society has its own beliefs, attitudes, customs, behaviors, and social habits. These give people a sense of who they are, how they should behave, and what they should or should not do. These ‘rules’ reflect the ‘culture’ of a country.
  • People become conscious of such rules when they meet people from different cultures. For example, in some cultures, being on time can mean turning up several hours late for an appointment, even for a business meeting; in others, 3 p.m. means 3 p.m. Also, the rules about when to eat vary from culture to culture. Many North Americans and Europeans have three mealtimes a day and organize their timetable around them. In some countries, on the other hand, people often do not have strict rules like this – people eat when they want to, and every family has its own timetable.
  • When people visit or live in a country for the first time, they are often surprised at the differences that exist between their own culture and the culture in the other country. The most common way of comparing two cultures is in terms of their differences – not their similarities. For some people, traveling abroad is an exciting experience; for others though, cultural differences make them feel uncomfortable, frightened, or even insecure. This is known as ‘culture shock.’
  • Here are several things to do in order to avoid culture shock: Avoid quick judgments; try to understand people in another culture by looking at things from their own point of view. Try to become more aware of what is going on around you. Don’t think of your cultural habits as ‘right’ and other people’s as ‘wrong.’ Be willing to try new things and to have new experiences.
  1. Match the paragraphs with the headings below.

____    Culture shock

____    Culture

____   How to avoid culture shock

____   Cultural differences

  1. Answer the following questions.
  2. What shouldn’t you do when traveling to or living in another country for the first time?
  3. What should you do when traveling to or living in another country for the first time?

III. Mark the statements as True (T) or False (F).

____ 1. In some cultures, it is not unusual to be late for a business meeting.

____ 2. North Americans do not have strict rules about mealtimes.

____ 3. People usually compare the similarities between two cultures.

____ 4. Cultural differences make everybody feel frightened.

 

 

Word/Phrase Part of Speech Pattern + Definition + Collocations Context in which the word/phrase is used
attitude noun [C, U] (an)   attitude   (to/towards   sb/sth):   a

feeling or opinion about sth or sb, or a way of behaving that is caused by this It’s   often   very   difficult   to   change people’s attitudes. to have a good/bad/positive/negative attitude towards sb/sth

Each society has its own beliefs, attitudes, customs, behaviours, and social habits.
custom noun [U, C] something that is done by people in a particular society because it is traditional Each society has its own beliefs, attitudes, customs, behaviours, and social habits.
reflect verb [T] reflect sth: to show or be a sign of the nature  of  sth  or  of  sb’s attitude  or feeling These ‘rules’ reflect the ‘culture’ of a country.
conscious adjective (be)  conscious  of  (doing)  sth  /  (be) conscious    that    …[not   before    noun]: aware of sth; noticing sth People become conscious of such rules when they meet people from different cultures.
vary verb [I] vary (from sth to sth): to change or be different according to the situation Also, the rules about when to eat vary from culture to culture.
exist verb [I] [not used in the progressive tenses] to be real; to be present in a place or situation When people visit or live in a country for the first time, they are often surprised at the differences that exist between their own culture and the culture in the other country.
compare verb [T] compare A and B / compare A with/to

B:   to  examine or judge  two  or  more things  in order to show how they are similar to or different from each other

The most common way of comparing two cultures is in terms of their differences — not their similarities.
judgment judge noun [C,U] verb [T] an opinion that you form about sth after thinking about  it carefully;  the act of making this opinion known to others to make a judg(e)ment about sth … : Avoid quick judgements; try to understand people in another culture…
point of view noun phrase [C] the particular attitude or opinion that sb has about sth …; try to understand people in another culture by looking at things from their own point of view.
aware adjective [not before noun] (be)  aware  (of  sb/sth) / (be)  aware (that …): if you are aware of sth, you notice it, especially because you can see, hear, feel or smell it Try to become more aware of what is going on around you.
willing≠ (reluctant) adjective (be)   willing   (to   do   sth)   [not  usually before  noun]:   ready to  do  something without being forced Be willing to try new things and to have new experiences.

 


 

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