When you attend a lecture, you almost always know what the topic will be. It is a good idea to do some background reading on the topic first so that you can become familiar with some of the terms and ideas that are likely to be discussed by the lecturer.



Before you hear the lecture on culture shock, it will be helpful to think about the concept of culture. Read the following passage about culture.

Culture has been defined as "everything humans are socialized to do, think, use, and make.” In 1966, Edward Hall compared the nature of culture to an iceberg. You can see part of an iceberg, but most of the iceberg is below the water and cannot be seen. Similarly, most aspects of culture are not visible. These invisible aspects are things that we are familiar with but don’t usually think about or question.

An example of an aspect of culture that is visible – one that is above the water level – would be the types of jobs that people have. In other words, the types of jobs may differ from culture to culture, and this is a subject that people commonly discuss. An example of an invisible cultural aspect – one that is below the water level – would be ways of being polite or impolite. Everyone in a society’ knows what behavior is polite or impolite, but they don’t often think about it consciously or question it.

® ways of showing emotion ® our ideas about what looks fashionable

® the ways older and younger people should behave

the amount of physical distance we leave between ourselves and others when we have a conversation

• names of popular musicians

• our ideas about what looks beautiful

e the kind of food that is sold in supermarkets

• how late we can arrive at an appointment without being rude

Read the list of aspects of culture. For each aspect, decide if you think it would be above or below the water level of the cultural iceberg and write it on an appropriate line in the illustration on page 25.

ABOVE the water level: cultural aspects that are easy to identify and discuss

BELOW the water level: cultural aspects that are commonly understood but

are not usually questioned

3 Compare your ideas in a small group. Then, with your group, add other items that you think should go above and below the water level.


Many professors hand out a syllabus that includes a brief description of each of the lectures for the course. If you study the syllabus before a lecture and think about the possible content of the lecture you are going to hear, it will make the lecture easier to follow’.

1 Read the following description from Professor Zatz’s syllabus.

Week 6: Culture Shock – Group Pressure in Action

– Definition of culture shock

– Reasons for culture shock

– Stages of culture shock

– Practical applications of research



Work with a partner. Look up the definition of culture shock in a dictionary.

Discuss the following questions wdth your partner.

1 Why do you think people experience culture shock?

2 How do you think people who have culture shock feel?

3 Do you think that culture shock can be avoided? How?

4 Compare your answers with the class.

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