Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Adjusting to Life in a New Culture | Intercultural Blog Carnival

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 @ 07:20 AM

adjusting to life in a new cultureWelcome to the Intercultural Blog Carnival, brought to you by English and Culture! We have gathered eight outstanding articles from some of the best professionals in the intercultural field. These articles offer guidance, entertainment and inspiration for your adjustment to life in a new culture. Have you recently moved to the United States or another foreign country for work or education? Are you looking for tips on how you can feel comfortable in your new home, meet new people and understand the new culture? If so, this is the place for you!



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1. That Critical First Meeting


eye contact, nonverbal communication in the United States

"Every culture has rules for when you first meet someone. American culture is no different. Americans make a judgment about the person they meet based not only on his/her language and behavior but also on such intangibles as facial expressions and perceived warmth." - Alan Headbloom


Alan Headbloom from Headbloom Consulting provides insight into the verbal and nonverbal customs and expectations during first-time introductions in the U.S.

View the Article: That Critical First Meeting



2. Adjusting to your New Home | Identify your Cultural Values

cultural values, life in a different culture"Moving to a new country can be extremely demanding – both in logistics and in emotions.  Difference in culture – especially the difference in cultural values and beliefs – takes its toll on our emotional health as we begin to find our way in the new culture.  And in order to find our way, the way we will be happy with, not only do we need to know the new culture, but first and foremost, we need to know ourselves, our values and our beliefs." - Margarita Gokun Silver

Margarita Gokun Silver, from Global Coach Center shares how we can examine our cultural values to make the transition to life in a new country smoother.

View the Article: Adjusting to your New Home



3. Culture Shock Lessons from E.T. : The Extra Terrestrial


ET movie poster“An alien from outer space lands on another planet. That’s how many of us expats and foreigners feel when in another country – it’s like an out–of-body experience. So many things are different, and we have to relearn all the things we thought we knew … all over again! Life in another country, in many cases is nothing short of feeling like an alien on another planet." - Jennifer Kumar

In this article, Jennifer Kumar, from Authentic Journeys tells us what we can learn about culture shock from the movie E.T. : The Extra- Terrestrial

View the Article: Culture Shock Lessons from E.T.



4. Parenting in Different Cultures

adjusting to life in a new culture, raising kids in different countries

 "Learning how to parent from people in other countries is all the rage on the best-seller list. From Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Americans are learning how to help our children get all A's and play Bach with fervor. From Bringing Up Bébé, we are learning how to sit and chat with a friend in a café while our bébé plays happily at our side, crunching some arugula for fun." - Anne Copeland


In this article, Anne Copeland, from the Interchange Institute, shares her thoughts on what we can learn about cultural differences based on the way we raise our kids in different parts of the world.

View the Article: Tiger Moms, Bébés and Warm Eskimos



5. The 3 P's of Culture Shock

culture shock"For me, culture shock is the closest way to feel like a baby in an adult’s body because everything is new again. I feel blessed to have had the experience of living and adjusting to many countries. Why do I love culture shock? Well, it’s because of what I’ve come to call “the three Ps of culture shock”: Patience, Persistence, and Positivity. Through these three P’s, I have come to realize that culture shock can be a blessing if you allow it to be." - Juanita Kwarteng


Juanita Kwarteng gives us her perspective on how to use culture shock as an opportunity for growth. Juanita is an intercultural blogger at 1,000 Cultural Encounters

View the Article: The 3 P's of Culture Shock



6. Culture Flows Like a River 


river and person swimming"People afloat in the stream of their culture are carried along in the direction in which it flows. But, they can also swim against the current. It may be hard but not impossible. On the other hand, there are quiet bends in the river where the main current has very little force. Those whom life has placed in these backwaters find it easier to swim in different directions." -Natalia Pérez de Herrasti


In this post, Natalia Pérez de Herrasti, author of Gramática de la Cultura, discusses how culture influences us and what happens when we swim upstream by not conforming to our culture's norms and values.

View the Article: Culture Flows Like a River



7. Working in the U.S. as an Au Pair


first intercultural experience, working as an au pair in the USA

"At the young age of 14, I had a dream to travel the world as soon as I was old enough. I spent many hours reading travel magazines, and my fascination with new places and cultures grew. At the time the internet was not available everywhere and was very foreign to me. Therefore, I read books, brochures and visited the library often finding everything I could on other countries and ways of life." - Sylvie Nappey

In this article, executive coach Sylvie Nappey, from Expat Synergy, shares her own personal story about her first intercultural experience as an au pair in the United States.

View the Article: My First Multi-Cultural Journey

(Please scroll to the bottom of the page to view the article)



8. What Rip Van Winkle Taught Me About Repatriation

 Rp Van Winkle, repatriationRip Van Winkle was an amiable, somewhat lazy man. His neighbors – especially the children – loved him. He loved to wander through the woods with his dog and his rifle. A favorite expression of his was, “Today is nice”. - Norman Viss


 In this article, Norman Viss from Everyday Expat Support Center, tell us the story of Rip Van Winkle and the ways in which it might parallel the life of an expat returning to his or her home country.

View the Article: What Rip Van Winkle Taught Me About Repatriation



Information for the Next Intercultural Blog Carnival:


Thank you to our intercultural professionals for participating! Let's make this a regular event! Our next Intercultural Blog Carnival in September will be hosted by Alan Headbloom from Headbloom Consulting.

If you would like to participate in the next carnival and you are not on our list, please contact Lindsay at



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photo credits: Steve and Sara, Michael W. May, forchilli, .aditya., kids shoes = D. Sharon Pruitt (Pink Sherbert)   Epiclectic, wader

Topics: Daily Life in the US, Expatriate Support, Cultural Competence, Cross Cultural Coaching

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