Culture Shock

The SYG1000 Culture Shock Essay is designed to evaluate your understanding of Florida Gateway College’s Cultural Awareness General Learning Outcome: Students will explain how aspects of culture relate to the human experience. This essay draws from and exemplifies key themes discussed thus far in the course: The cultural artifacts and ideas we generate and share as members of a society are important for organizing social life. Culture helps us make sense of the world and know what to expect in social interaction. Our discussion of culture has focused on five specific elements of culture: material culture (physical products), norms (scripted routines), values (goals), definitions (ideas of what exists in the world), and worldviews (basic ideas about cause and effect in the universe). We have discussed the relationships between different elements of culture, especially highlighting connections between particular visible elements (material culture and norms) and more general, invisible ones (values, definitions, and worldviews) that help explain the particular forms we see. You have been asked to consider an example of “culture shock” in which you were exposed to unfamiliar material culture or norms. You will describe how you became aware of the values, definitions, or worldviews that made sense of the unfamiliar; as well as comparing your “culture shock” to more familiar elements of your own culture. To illustrate the relationships described above, write an essay in which you: Describe a personal example of a time when you felt “culture shock.” Identify each example of unfamiliar material culture or norms and analyze how they might make sense in relation to a deeper value, definition, or worldview important to that culture. Then compare and contrast with your own culture to reflect on your experience and evaluate its impact on your life. Your essay must be at least 1,000 words and must be written in multiple, indented paragraphs. Here is a suggested outline for each paragraph: Write an opening paragraph in which you introduce the topic of “culture shock” (briefly defined in your own words) and provide some description of your personal example (where did you go? Another country, another town, a new school, church, etc…any setting with its own culture or subculture, rules and routines and ways of thinking foreign to your own everyday life…ask me if you have trouble picking a topic!). Will you be focusing on “shocks” from material culture, norms, or both? [100 words minimum.] Write one or more paragraphs in which you focus on specific examples of unfamiliar material culture and/or norms. You may mention one example in detail, or several different ones; but be sure each example is appropriately labeled as material culture or a norm. [250 words minimum.] Write one or more paragraphs in which you analyze each of the examples of material culture/norms described above. Each explanation should suggest a possible relationship between the things you saw (material culture or norm) and the deeper idea (value, definition, or worldview) that makes sense of it. (For example, you might be shocked by a friend’s family kissing your cheek when they meet you [a norm]; but then you might explain this as reflecting the value of intimacy, casualness, friendliness, etc…But don’t use that example!) [250 words minimum.] Write one paragraph comparing each of the unfamiliar examples with the similar-but-different material culture, norms, values, etc. you’re familiar with from your own culture. Be sure to use the same terms—compare norms to norms, values to values, etc. What might be a major reason or two for the differences/similarities you notice across your unfamiliar and familiar culture? [250 words minimum.] Close with an evaluation of your experience of “culture shock.” In a general way, do you think this changed your outlook on life and new experiences? If so, how—good or bad? In particular, what are some real-life, specific circumstances (work, travel, family life…) you can imagine facing in your life today or in the future, in which this experience of “culture shock” might be helpful or harmful to you, and how? [150 words minimum.] GENERAL REQUIREMENTS: Outside research is neither required nor allowed for this essay. You will speak from your own experience and using the terms and concepts from your text and notes/slides, none of which needs to be cited or referenced. No outside sources may be used, even if quoted or paraphrased. Essays should be 100% in your own words. You may go over the word-count minimum, but make sure you are still accomplishing all the key objectives (listed 1-5, above). If you include extra examples in your essay, you must label and analyze them with the same course terms—material culture, norms, values, etc. Take some time to proofread your essay. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. as well as organization and clarity of argument will all be considered in your overall score. (You may want to use [linked on the left side of our Canvas page] or schedule tutoring with the FGC Academic Success Center for additional writing help.) Essays must be formatted properly: one-inch margins, double-spaced, indent all paragraphs, standard 10- to 12-point font (Times New Roman, Calibri, etc…something normal!). Save documents in Word-compatible format (doc, docx, odt, rtf, or PDF) and upload to Canvas using the submission link. Check the rubric before you submit. There are no late submissions without documented medical or personal issues. There are no revisions or resubmissions; however, I am happy to review and critique any early drafts you send me via Canvas message.

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