HomeIAMURE International Journal of Educationvol. 4 no. 1 (2012)

Coping with Culture Shock in Second Language Settings: A Phenomenological Study in the Philippines

Safary Wa-mbaleka | Sarah Ryszewski



Adjustment to a new culture with different people and in an unfamiliar environment mostly brings along some significant challenges. For many years, a number of studies have focused on the issue of culture shock, that is, the negative physical and emotional effects of entering a new culture. Busines people, missionaries, students, and other groups of people who move from one culture to another are prone to facing culture shock. This paper reports on a phenomenological study that was conducted about this topic in an educational institution in the Philippines. The aim of this study was to understand how international students, experience and cope with culture shock at this extremely diverse institution of higher education. This paper discusses “culture shock”, its phases, causes and symptoms, as well as ideas on how professors in higher education can help their students in coping effectively with their culture shock experience. Participants in this study were six students from six different countries who had to study English before they could take graduate courses at Diversity Institute (pseudonym). The study reports the findings of a focus group interview. Results show that students indeed experience culture shock and use different coping strategies. Some overlap with the the literature.