Ready, set and go! Cultural shock, adaptation and optimal integration

Monday, June 14, 2021

The Italian and American cultures are very different from each other and, sometimes, they can even be conflicting. The frenetic pace of the States goes perfectly with “All day away from home, for lunch a sandwich on the fly…” (cit.). I rarely remember sharing meals that coincided with the idea of ​​conviviality, Americans occasionally cook and sit at the table. Lunch or dinner are moments that we Italians take advantage of to create interpersonal relationships and find aspects that unite us and anyone sitting at the same table. Humor is also different from how we perceive it. Self-hernia is often confused with a lack of self-confidence and it is always better to specify the good-natured nature of our jokes (just kidding..!!”) in such a way as not to offend anyone. Furthermore, our turning around concepts to embellish sentences is perceived as a waste of time. In American you must always be direct and fast.

These elements, accompanied by an initial language barrier, can create discomfort in the student-athlete in the first months of college. However, any activity that enhances our cultural difference forces us to learn, even when we are frustrated and not receptive. My intent is certainly not to create panic. Your difference will turn into the element that will make you special and, assuming the right one mind-set, you will be able to assimilate the culture of others. The partnership between your culture and that of America will represent that “something extra’” which can guarantee you coveted jobs. Because? Because it will allow you to grasp crucial aspects of business without having to study them in books! Having a open-mindset, being at ease in a multicultural work group, taking appropriate attitudes in meetings where our interlocutor is from another country, and knowing how to understand and forgive the mistakes of those who, like us previously, are beginners in a context completely new, they are all fundamental features in today'sbusiness world. Getting to know other people's cultures can also allow us to conclude a deal in our favor.

After one;shock initial, therefore, we will pass to a phase of adaptation. Everything becomes easier again, we laugh and joke, we create friendships and connections. Without even realizing it we will arrive at the stage of integration, which is nothing more than an improvement from the previous phase. Thanks to this experience you will have learned and practiced, almost automatically, a fundamental concept: the contextual-intelligence. It is the realization that our perception of the world is not universal and has various limits. Once we understand this concept, we can adapt and rebuild our knowledge to better address a different environment and culture. The acceptance of diversity is fundamental if we want to develop economic, social and managerial models more suited to the new university and work context in which we will enter. Introlte, the contextual-intelligence can ensure greater collaboration, productivity and conflict reduction especially in team sports. This type of intelligence allows us to face new contexts and to enter the phase of integrazione and falling in love with the States.

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