Cultural exchange occurs when people gain more in-depth understanding and knowledge about another country, its culture, its customs and its day-to-day practices through person-to-person contact. Our participants as well as our hosts embrace this aspect of InterExchange programs and understand its importance whether they’re part of a camp, a family, a seasonal business or a professional environment.
The United States is often described as a “melting pot” attracting people from countries all over the world. It is a culture that is continuously being reshaped and redefined as more people from other countries gain exposure to the country. It is also influenced by visitors who share their cultures during their time in the U.S., and by the deeper insights and favorable attitudes about American life they return to their home countries with.
InterExchange makes it a priority to give our participants and hosts resources to explore cultural learning opportunities together or independently. We’ve created an online guide to U.S. culture, including recommended sites and activities for everyone to enjoy during time spent in the U.S.: www.InterExchange.org/american-culture We encourage everyone to discover new places and aspects of American culture, whether they’re visitors or natives!
Be aware of culture shock. Culture shock is described as the anxiety, feelings of frustration, alienation and anger that may occur when a person is placed in a new culture. Many of the customs here may seem odd or uncomfortably different from those of participants’ home countries. Being in a new and unfamiliar place can be challenging even for the experienced traveler, and some feelings of isolation and frustration are normal. Participants experience culture shock to varying degrees; some hardly notice it at all, while others can find it very difficult to adapt to their new environment. Many may not attribute their problems to culture shock. Whatever the case may be, understanding these issues and why they happen will help.
Read our brief overview about culture shock and ways that you can help international participants overcome any difficulties: www.InterExchange.org/american-culture/culture-shock