Publication Date

2003

Abstract

This paper explores the familial relationships in cross-cultural contexts. The study focused on participants who serve as Fellows for the English Language Fellow Program which is sponsored by the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau (ECA) of the United States Department of State (DOS). The program sends ESL teachers overseas to developing nations. Both the Junior and Senior Fellow positions are a 10-month-long contract, which usually spans the academic year. Peter Adler’s article “The Transitional Experience: An Alternative View of Culture Shock” and Paul Pederson’s The Five Stages of Culture Shock: Critical Incidents Around the World to serve as theoretical foundation for this study. Using these theoretical frameworks, the participant’s cross-cultural adaptation was mapped over six-months through email questionnaires. The instruments focused on interaction with the host culture, Fellows’ perception of their home country, how frequently the Fellows interacted with host nationals, relationships they made while living in the host culture and interdependence of family members during stressful times. The study concludes that there are a variety of uncontrolled conditions that impact cross-cultural adaptation. Family members do effect one's ability to adapt in new environments. The study suggests that a change in the family structure hinders cross-cultural adaptation and that families that adapt together as a unit are more successful in cross-cultural adaptation.

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