Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Nature of Science, Research, Systems of Higher Education, Museum Science
Abstract ‘Culture shock’ has been identified as a psychological reaction to a change in cultural environment. The main symptoms of culture shock are reported to be psychological disturbance, a negative reaction to the new surroundings and a longing for a more familiar environment. Research has identified culture shock as a component in the difficulties that international students face when studying in another country. One way that institutions of higher education have responded to these difficulties is to provide initial cultural orientation. In the study reported here, a group of post-graduate students who had participated in a study skills and cultural orientation course at a British university were compared with a group who had not. Contrary to the research hypothesis, the group that took part in the orientation course were significantly more homesick and reported more psychological difficulties. The overall findings cast doubt on the received view of culture shock as it affects international students. They suggest that culture shock is exacerbated by personal and social factors and this has implications for the way that international students may be helped through the experience.
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