Prompt: Problems in adjusting to a new culture?My professor asked us to write an essay about this topic, so I need help to write a good essay.

Expert Answers
clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first step to writing this essay is to brainstorm some examples (feel free to adapt and include those posed above by other students).  Though this prompt is somewhat personal in nature, a strong essay will include more than opinions as examples.  An easy way to organize your ideas is to brainstorm answers to the following questions:

  1. What problems have you personally experienced in adjusting to a new culture?  (Even if you have not moved to another country in your life, you could consider something like the change from middle school to high school as a "cultural change.")
  2. What problems have you observed others experienced in adjusting to a new culture?
  3. What cultural adjustment problems have you read about novels, history books, or current media sources?

By brainstorming several answers to the above questions, you've already organized your paper into three paragraphs.  Turn the original question into a topic sentence then expand your ideas by using one or two well-detailed, actual examples.  These will become your body paragraphs.

Once you've done that, all you need to do is add an introduction and a conclusion.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many different types of problems that could arise from adjusting to a new culture.  The types of problems a person encounters depends largely on what culture that person came from and what culture they are going to.

One example of a cultural difference might be religion.  A person moving to a middle eastern culture might experience a form of culture shock when moving to a predominately Muslim country.  It would take some time to get used to the canters calling out prayers over a load speaker that can be heard for miles.

Another example, especially for Americans, has to do with space.  Every culture has its own ideas about personal space.  Here in America, we tend to want a lot more space than some other cultures.  An American going to Japan would be very uncomfortable ridding the subway; they literally push people into the cars so the doors can have room to close. 

In order to be effective in writing your essay, you will need to find some specific examples.  This is a very broad topic and it is important to narrow it down.  Remember to be clear and concise.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This has to come from your own experience.  If you have experienced different cultures, what problems did you have?  If others around you are from different cultures, what problems do they have?

I, personally, had many problems in adjusting to American culture.  Americans seemed too familiar with one another, not having enough respect for one another.  Where I grew up, people act in a much more reserved way until they know one another well.  This is not the case in the US.

Ironically, I also had problems with American authority figures not thinking that I respected them properly.  This was because I would not look them in the eye.  This was seen as politeness and deference where I grew up, but not in the US.

I guess what this adds up to is that the sorts of nonverbal communications I am talking about are perceived very differently in different cultures.  What is perceived as friendly in the US would have been rude and presumptuous where I grew up.  What is seen as polite where I grew up is evasive here.  These things make it very hard to adjust to a different culture.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Do you have any personal experience with this? If you do, proving personal anecdotes can be useful in an essay. For example, have you been an immigrant? How about changing schools or joining a club? Think of any time you have needed to adapt to a group.
qurooj | Student

One main point that makes culture hard to adapt to for is customs. Example: If you go to the middle east or southern Asia where Pakistan and India live it is a whole different perspective of living than the way people live in America. People exspecially in the more religious areas have customs such as arragned marriages and the fact that you are not even suppose to touch or look at men you could possibly marry. When they come to America where women and men are more free with their sexuality it is actually a big difference. Little things like this can make it hard for any person to adujust to culture.