Unfamiliar cultural situations can create stress for many individuals. People encountering new environments must decide how to act and communicate without being able to rely on acquired knowledge and skills. In new cultural climates, people must adapt knowledge and skills to meet the demands of the new environment. Environmental adaptation can take the form of acculturation or assimilation.
To illustrate the difference between acculturation and assimilation, consider the metaphors of a melting pot and a tossed salad. At the height of European immigration to the United States in the early 20th century, the melting pot metaphor represented a new, homogenized cultural identity. New cultural groups immigrating to America often took on the beliefs, values, and social practices of the culture they encountered to be functional in their new environment, otherwise know as assimilation. A more modern metaphor of the tossed salad recognizes the distinctiveness of each individual and his or her cultural identity adding to the flavor of the American experience; this version of adaptation is called acculturation.
In this week’s Discussion, you consider topics related to cultural adaptation – the extent to which an individual changes to fit into a new environment.
To prepare for your Discussion:
Post a 2- paragraph description of the expected behaviors an individual might change because of a long-term relocation to another country. Explain how the choice to assimilate or acculturate might affect the choice of behavior changes. Explain how these decisions present challenges in adapting to another culture.
Be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to at least one of this week’s Learning Resources. Additionally, you may opt to include an outside academic resource that you have identified.
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