Culture shock and identity

Ioana Cupşa (PTSTA-P, CTA-P, Psychologist)

Conference: Sunday, October 30th, 11.00 – 13.15

This is an experiential workshop in which I invite you to explore the phenomenon of “culture shock” and its impact on a person’s identity. The proposed framework for this exploration is that of the stages in which culture shock develops. Loosely, culture shock is a phenomenon which a person can undergo as a result of being exposed to unfamiliar and unexpected life experiences, which require a role adjustment and the formation of new identities. This process, so often encountered nowadays in an ever moving and changing world, is often left unnamed, causing discomfort, pain, tensions. Cultural origins are modeled at the levels of society, family, and organisations. All people are connected culturally and develop their own identity, which integrates values, attitudes and beliefs about the person’s culture of origins. In this sense, acculturation is defined on Wikipedia as “explains the process of cultural change and psychological change that results following meeting between cultures”.

Starting from the creation of a setting for learning and exploration which is safe and engaging, participants are invited to develop, based on their own personal and/or professional experience, as well as on the discussions and exercises in the group, a model for understanding the stages of culture shock and the way in which it influences a person’s identity.

Here are some questions on which I invite you to reflect together in the group:

  • How do we take into consideration, at both personal and professional level, the implications that culture shock has on our lives or on others’ lives?
  • What and how can we learn about us or about others through this process of culture shock and of forming a new identity?
  • Who are we and who could we become by submerging in a new culture or by going through a radical change?
  • What is necessary to do and/or to change as a TA community in order to prepare for the near future?

Format: workshop.
Number of participants: maximum of 20.