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Tiny but Nontrivial Differences in Newcastle
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승인 2016.03.11  15:34:16
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

▲ Orientation about facilities, English classes and timetables for international students

     Have you ever heard of the U Curve of Cultural Adaptation? According to this graph, there are four stages of adjusting to a new culture: Honeymoon, Culture Shock, Recovery and Adjustment. At first, a foreigner who faces a new world comes to be attracted to everything that he or she can experience. After a while, some unexpected and shocking incidents, so-called ’culture shock’, can happen. As the U graph heading to the top, the alien gradually gets used to his or her daily life and can be more effective in functioning. Before going to Newcastle, the U curve was only a theory to me. A few months later, I adapted and did not feel culture shock anymore. 

▲ With her classmates at Beamish Museum

     As for the name of the first stage which sounds sweet, I felt like my honeymoon period was even happier than it was for other students. Because all the new experiences were interesting, I did not want to go back to Korea. The only strange thing until then was a tap in the toilet. In my flat, there were two taps in the toilet and from each tap, hot and cold water came out separately. It was strange because in Korea, hot and cold water comes out of a single stream from a single tap unless the facility was built long ago. As a nursing student, I know how to wash my hands properly and enjoy it, reminding me of what I have learned in class. However, it was hard to wash my hands because water on the right side was freezing cold and the other one was boiling hot. At first, I only used cold water but after many trials and errors, I came to find out how to use two taps by turning on both water taps and mixing it.

▲ With her classmates at the Lake District

     The other unfamiliar thing was jaywalking. Of course there are few people, in Korea, who do not pay attention to the signals and cross the street, too. Even so, in England, people who know the red light is on just cross the road without waiting for a traffic signal. There are even some special zones for pedestrians to cross the street. My friend Katie explained that the crossings painted in black and white stripes with two amber-colored lights are called ‘zebra crossings’. According to the law, pedestrians always have the right of way and motorists should give way to people in zebra crossing. Now I can roughly distinguish tourists from inhabitants by their reaction at the crosswalk. Because tourists or newcomers either wait for signals or follow other people, while most people just cross the road.
     Before going back to Korea, there was still one thing that I could not adjust to. Like someone addicted to a mobile phone, I was always looking for the place to use the cell phone without interruption. Because the signal was lacking underground, a basement floor and even under the bridge, I was one of the discontented users with the service. Even so, the advantage of lacking signal could be found in Paris as well. Most people using public transport read a book instead of using cell phones. Before perfectly adapting to the changes and going to another honeymoon period, I came back home again. I hope that I can experience more cultural shock from a new culture.

By Son Hyun-jee, Guest Repoter

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