4.3 Intercultural Adaptation

There are different models for the intercultural adaptation process. For instance, a traditional viewpoint has been to see the process as a U-curve (Lysgaard, 1955; also Chang, 1973; Oberg, 1960), where a migrant moves from initial excitement about the new place into a crisis, and then to adjustment. Later on some scholars expanded the U-curve into a W-curve, where they also took into account the re-entry shock and readjustment of a migrant who returns to her/his home country. Adaptation can be also seen as an ongoing process, where a migrant gradually adapts to the new environment. This is called a Stress-Adaptation-Growth model (Kim, 2001).

It is useful to know something about culture shock and intercultural adaptation before moving to live in a new country. Awareness of what one can expect always helps in the process, but it is also important to remember that there is no one right formula, since every experience is unique.

(original text by Maria El Said, 2006)


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