Cross-cultural Immersion: Perceptions and Experience of Chilean Migrants in the UK

By Sandra Lopez-Rocha.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The significance of the study of cross-cultural perceptions and reactions is rooted in the way individuals adapt to the cultural differences observed and their effect on their own behavior. Where the cultural differences clash with people’s own way of behaving, values, or life outlook often causes psychological stress, or culture shock, which account in part for some of the difficulties experienced in the process of intercultural adaptation. This paper addresses the impressions and intercultural observations of Chilean exiles and voluntary migrants after arriving in the UK. This portion of an extensive research project deals with the way Chileans observed and perceived English culture from their own point of view, often drawing comparisons between the two cultures. The ethnographic depictions collected from informants show a shift of attention, initially drawn towards surface observations, to deeper impressions as the result of constant interactions with members of the host culture. Although the circumstances surrounding their arrival are varied, there are observations and intercultural experiences shared by most informants. Their narratives are full of pleasant surprises, shock, admiration, and even criticism (often derived from ethnocentric attitudes). This is the narrative of people’s experience in a country different from their own.

Keywords: Cross-cultural and Psychological Adaptation, Intercultural Immersion, Nonverbal Communication, Cross-cultural Interactions, Adaptation and Acculturation

Global Studies Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.115-126. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 640.169KB).

Dr. Sandra Lopez-Rocha

Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

As a socio-cultural anthropologist, researcher, and language instructor Dr. Sandra López-Rocha’s training and experience includes interdisciplinary studies, ethnographic research and instructional systems design, derived from her first PhD work at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Her ethnographic work over the years involved the study of Egyptian, American, Latin American (Chilean and El Salvadorians in particular), and English cultures. Her research focus has been centered on diasporic communities (i.e., movement, adaptation, identity, and community making) and cross-cultural communication (nonverbal communication, culture shock and acculturation, and linguistic change). Further research interests include urban anthropology, linguistic and psychological anthropology, as well as nethnography/anthropology of the cyberspace. Dr. López-Rocha has just completed her second PhD at the University of Bristol in the area of social anthropology.

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