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Honorio Gonzalez EDU 533 Intercultural Competence Article of Explanation Going Abroad: The journey of a lifetime!

So you are finally going overseas to work abroad? Well, Congratulations on accomplishing this undertaking that you have achieved! All that hard work you put into achieving your dream has finally paid. But you may have several question and worries about going overseas, right? You are worried about leaving behind all of your friends and family so suddenly and that you are unprepared to go overseas, right? Well, not to worry because I will be going over the following three steps that will help you prepare for this journey of yours: leaving your home country, living in your host country and culture, and coming back home to your home country and culture. Leaving your home country You are now preparing to go overseas since receiving the exciting news that you finally obtained that new opportunity abroad. However, there are several things that begin to worry you. Am I making the right choice? Is this a good idea? How will I survive without my friends and family? Well, not to worry because you just have to research on what you are worried the most about. That way you will be less when the time comes for your departure. There will be fewer things to worry about and thus, less stressor to trouble you while preparing for your journey. Additionally, if there is a few things that you have you cannot absolutely live without, make to sure to either bring enough of them with you since you dont know if your host country will have those supplies or objects available to you. Or you can make sure you know at which stores in your home country those supplies or objects will be available to you. Furthermore, make a list of everything that you want to take care of before leaving. For example, how will you communicate with your family and friends, things, that you will need when first settling in like plenty of money, the work environment and job benefits in your host culture and job, and how to relax and have fun when your finally over there. Learning to have fun and relaxing will help you along the way while on your host country. It will also help free your mind of the worries that will come to your mind from time to time while in your host country. Therefore, you should get to know more about your host country and their culture since you will be living there for quite a while. The following is a checklist that I would use and formally recommend that you use when officially preparing to leave your home and go overseas. Information Gathering Checklist about your Host Country and Culture 1. Symbols: Symbolism of flag, national anthem, myths and legends of ethnic groups, national holidays, traditional dress, national flower, etc. 2. Human and national resources: Geography and topography, regional characteristics, major cities, natural resources, climate, demographic information, transportation system, communications system, mass communication media. 3. Family and social structure: Family life, role differentiation among family members, social classes, male/female relationships, friendships, social organizations, social welfare, and customs.

4. Religion and philosophy: Religious beliefs, philosophy, proverbs, and superstitions. 5. Education: General approach, school system, colleges and universities, vocational training 6. Fine arts and cultural achievements: Painting, sculpture, crafts, folk arts, architecture, music, dance, drama, literature, poetry, and cinema. 7. Economics and industry: Principal industries, exports/imports, cottage industries, industrial development, modernization, urban and rural conditions, agriculture, fishing, marketing systems, and money. 8. Politics and government: System of government, political parties, government organization, current political figures, police system, and military. 9. Science: Inventions and achievements medicine, research. 10. Sports and games: Sports unique to the country, modern world sports, and traditional childrens games. 11. Foods: Dietary restrictions, unique products, special cooking techniques. 12. Language: Local dialects/languages. *Information checklist used above is from L. Robert Kohls book, Survivals Kit for Overseas Living, (p. 153-155, 2001). Logistics Checklists-Preparations for assignment abroad: 1. Apply for passport and any necessary visas. 2. Make appointments for medical examinations for each family member. 3. Request copies of important records, x-rays, or prescriptions. 4. Be sure to have each persons blood type. 5. Inquire about gamma globulin shots. 6. Arrange to have copies of eyeglass prescriptions. 7. Make dental appointments. 8. See your veterinarian regarding your pets. 9. Each adult member of the family should have an up-to-date will. 10. Draw up power of attorney. 11. Arrange with your home bank to mail your monthly statements. 12. Obtain a supply of local currency. 13. Purchase travelers checks. 14. Put credit cards in a safety deposit box. 15. Notify your childrens teachers of departure date. 16. Write schools in the new city for information. 17. Arrange for adequate personal liability insurance. 18. Ascertain that you have appropriate health insurance coverage. 19. Complete a change of address card. 20. Notify all accounts. 21. Check absentee voting procedure. 22. Obtain an international drivers license. 23. Give notice of your moving date to all utility companies. *Information checklist used above is from L. Robert Kohls book, Survivals Kit for Overseas Living, (p. 159-162, 2001). If there is anymore information that you feel you will need or missed, feel free to contact your countrys embassy in your host country for more information.

You will have to expect to experience many things when preparing to go overseas. One of the things that all people experience as soon as they arrive in their host country is culture shock. Now what is culture shock? Culture shock is the term that has been given to the experience all people go through; that is the shock that many people go through when encountering and experiencing a new culture for the first time. The new sights, sounds, customs, and even language can become a bit overwhelming to people abroad for the first time. For example, you might not want shopping at your local store because you think everything in the store is different and strange to you, or you might to like using the local transportation system because is different from the transportation system you use at home. Whatever it may be, all people go through this shock and each person comes out with their own unique experience and perspective on it. You just have to give the place that your are going to a chance and not let the shock ruin your whole stay and experience there. Relax and have fun; who knows, you might like your host country a lot after a while. Living in your host country and culture So you have finally arrived and have begun to settle into your new host country. Your new place of residence is beginning to feel ok to you. However, there are a few things that you have to take into consideration also. Since you are new to your host country, there might be a few things you might not know where everything is or how everything works. But fear not, help and assistance is available to you from your place of employment. Ask for help if you feel that you have a hard time adjusting or you dont get something in your place of residence or work. Ask your fellow office workers that are from your host country for assistance/advice on anything you might not understand like customs, transportation/directions, and work customs. Also, if your workplace has foreigners/westerners there, be sure to ask them for help on anything you might need or understand. Theyll be glad to provide since they went the same experience you are going currently through. Be sure to also make friends with both people from you host country and foreigners outside of the workplace. You never know when you might need their help or advice; plus, you will come to appreciate you relationship with them over time. After living in your host country for a while, you will find that observed and experienced a few unique things in your host culture. Be sure to continue to be involved in your host culture in every opportunity that you get. Like at work with fellow office workers or outside the workplace with friends that you might have made. Doing so will help you learn more and understand your host country even better. It will help you adapt even better and faster your environment. This will help you in the long run while in your host country. There is a term known as the Cultural Iceberg that a man named Gary Weaver came up with. It is a term that represents that an essential facet of culture. Anthropologist Gary weaver suggested looking at culture as a kind of iceberg: one portion is clearly visible above the surface of the water, while the much larger chuck of ice is hidden below. The part above the water can be can be considered surface culture-what we can physically see or hear, including behavior, words, customs, language, and traditions. Underneath the water, invisible to all, is the deep culture. This place includes our beliefs, values, assumptions, worldview, and thought processes. On other words, there is the part that everyone can see about how say we

will do things, and another part that people cant see on how we actually do those things. *Part of information used above is from David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Rekens book, Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, (p. 42, 2009). Returning to your home country and culture So after a while you contract with your employer has expired and you have decided to return home. It could also have been quite a few years and you just miss home and want to go back home. So then you get on the plane and simply go home. However, there is one thing that you will experience when you return home. Its and experience akin to culture shock that again, everyone goes through and experiences when reentering their home culture. Reverse culture shock is the name and term that what given to the experience that people experience when returning home. It is when everything begins to seem boring or different because you have been away for so long and things are just not the same as before you left. Reverse culture shock normally sets in when you have finished your rounds of visits with family and close friends and the time has come to settle down and start your new life back home. However, dont worry about this because everything will go back to how it was before you left. It will go back to that after a while. *Part of information used above is from Craig Stortis book, The Art of Coming Home, (p. 51, 2003). Returning home will not always be easy to anyone. It will take a while and you will be sure to remember everything you experienced while in your host country. Whatever you have experienced will be a memorable for you. Be sure remembering that for when you prepare to leave and for when you actually return home. It will always be something to talk about with your family and friends and something good to remember and enjoy.

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