EFFECTS OF CULTURAL ASYMMETRY ON STUDENTS' ADAPTATION TO INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENTS
The paper aims to study cultural and language assymenry and to analyse its indluence on students' ajustment in new educational context
The paper focuses on the problems of foreign students' adjustment in new educational environments due to asymmetric elements in their native language and culture and the new ones. In the last two decades, increasing attention has been paid to this phenomenon with the aim to guarantee good standards of quality in all aspects of language learning and teaching. We are analyzing manifestations of cultural asymmetry on different levels of interaction and its influence on communication. The purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that knowledge of asymmetric elements in two cultures can promote better understanding and easier adjustment.
A longitudinal research involving the focus group of 37 students (25 men and 12 women) from 6 countries was used to track changes in adjustment strategies of learners and in perceptions of their learning environments. Systematic observations and in-depth interviews were used to examine and compare the psychological and socio‐cultural adjustment of the students.
It was found that degree of asymmetry played an important part in successful adjustment of the students. Those who have shorter culture distance were better adjusted, both socio‐culturally and psychologically. These results support the asymmetry hypothesis. But knowledge of cultural asymmetry and analyse of intercultural misunderstandings, made by the students in the course of the experiment enabled them to avoid further misunderstandings.
The findings support the idea that ignorance of cultural features and cultural asymmetry is indeed an important cause of misunderstandings in educational intercultural communication.
Intercultural asymmetry can lead to misunderstanding, awkward situations and even conflicts, reducing the effectiveness of communication. Though overcoming difficulties, while adapting to a new environment, gives to a person valuable life experience, is challenging and rewarding.
So we can recommend that working with cultural asymmetries during adjustment period can be a valuable tool for intercultural communication training.