America is known as the land of the free where all people of different cultures wants to live to make a life for themselves as well as their family. However, grief, pleasure, anxiety, happiness, anger, excitement, and frustration are various ways of how some people may respond to working, studying, or living in the foreign country. While some individuals have practically no problems in integrating with different cultural customs and habits, others appear to be struggling. These people usually experience culture shock when trying to deal with the new environment, leaving them depressed, strained, disinterested, and isolated.
As a result, the increasing numbers of culturally diverse people in a particular country brings about second culture, yet the ways by which these people are exposed to other cultures, and the influence played by second-culture exposure in shaping their cultural identity have received little theoretical attention. With this regard, this paper attempts to systematically examine the aforesaid concerns. Cultural Diversity Culture is broadly conceptualized to include the system of belief of a variety of groups.
Culture involves patterns of transmitted symbols and acquired behavior, making up the distinguishing characters of certain human groups, together with their personification in works of art (Mediscan, 2009). Basically, the indispensable foundation of culture is composed of historically selected and derived ideas, particularly their attached values. Cultural diversity refers to the distinctions between people founded on shared ideology and a valued set of customs, norms, meanings, and beliefs evidenced in everyday life (Mediscan, 2009).
It is basically multiformity or a variety in religion, morality, culture, tradition, language, ethnicity and race existing within a population, organization, or community (Mediscan, 2009). An excellent way to estimate or qualify cultural diversity is to determine the number of languages spoken within a particular region. Accordingly, a sudden increase of language use may point out a corresponding increase in the region’s cultural diversity. Immigration and overpopulation are some of the explanations believed to cause such increase. Culture Shock
Culture shock is the disturbance an individual experience when he or she moves into a country that is culturally different from his or her country of origin (University of Northern Iowa, n. d. ). The nonverbal and verbal forms of communication of other culture, along with its value system and customs, are only some of the problems that come with lack of understanding, which expectedly results to culture adjustments. This happens when people transfer to other country where the dominant culture is very different from the culture that they have been accustomed to.
The variations that people may experience include fear of personal safety, different bathroom facilities, unacceptable standards of sanitation, lack of tolerable food, family and community standing, etc. In other words, culture shock is basically the result of being weighed down by major life changes that establish patterns without adequate support systems. Ways of Exposure from Other Cultures People all over the world are continually heading overseas either to stay permanently or for a while; however, once they are in the foreign countries, everything starts to go differently.
These diverse people are not just entering into a different country, but entering into a different civilization. The country’s values may be extremely different from what these immigrants are accustomed to at their respective country. What is regarded as ordinary from where they lived could be totally prohibited to where they are going. The form of government may be different, the religions may be completely different, and a simple smile may convey a different meaning.
Many of these people experience culture shock, and as they adjust to an entirely new environment they constantly feel like a fish out of water until such time when they openly adapt to the new culture. I. Classroom Exposure Students go to schools that have different levels of ethnic and racial diversity in their student bodies. However, despite recognition of significant differences among students, school practices still continue to direct uniformity (Guild, 2001).
For this reason, students are more exposed to practices and norms of the majority culture. Most schools today still operate as if every student is ethnically similar. Students use the same materials for learning, the same textbooks, and are required to work on the same amount of material at the same pace. All students likewise work through the same curriculum and study the same content on the same schedule. Moreover, teachers lecture with whole groups of students, simultaneously conveying the same information to everyone.
Unquestionably, efficiency validates some uniformity and consistency in the educational process given the large numbers of students to be educated. Even more justifiable is the argument for equality and general standards across states, districts, and schools (Guild, 2001). Because of this one-sided, practical perspective, the imbalance between diversity and uniformity has not been matched by educators, leading to disturbance of, and abnormal exposure to, other cultures. Presently, schools are overwhelmingly inclined toward uniformity over diversity.
An appropriate balance that considers research, theories, and beliefs instead of efficiency has not been thoughtfully determined, seeing that educators are not deliberately assessing what should be diverse and what should be uniform for students. Schools have hardly any teaching models that properly accommodate both student diversity and consistent educational values. As such, cultural adjustments are constantly accommodated than diversity in view of the fact that education practices, in general, have been developed to intentionally encourage the same education for every student.
II. Workplace Exposure In countries’ that are significantly founded by immigrants, diversity is all over the place particularly in workplaces. In recent years, an ethnically diverse workplace is very much widespread in the United States as a result of equal rights, and minorities consequently are given the same opportunity as majority people. Because of the noticeable diversity in the workplace today, it would be unlikely that cultural exposure would not arise among the employees.
Accordingly, working in a culturally diverse organization gives employees an experience of their outside world, and what they will handle if they decide to go in a foreign country. The United States, for instance, is composed of numerous diverse communities and for this reason it is impossible to walk down the street or work in the office without seeing individuals from different races or cultures. Most employees believe that it is an enormous advantage to work with people from a diverse cultural background, given that these employees have been able to relate and open their eyes with other employees that are different from them.
They have learned and adapted various things with regard to people with different cultural background, such as their personalities, work ethics, and morals. III. Neighborhood Exposure Exposure to racial and ethnic diversity could also result from constant meeting with diverse peers in the neighborhood environment. In the United States, many people are expected to identify themselves not by their nationality, but by their region or cultures.
Accordingly, neighborhood integration has remained the goal of public policy, seeing that popular opinion perceives it as confirmation of the country’s model of equal opportunity (The White House, n. d. ). Through the cooperation and efforts of business and community leaders, cultural diversity initiatives have concentrated on developing programs that improve racial understanding and awareness. Through these initiatives, people within the neighborhoods have been exposed to, and have improved their, cultural consciousness and adjustments.