Living abroad is good for your personal development


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In contrast to the majority of early and some recent literature which see culture shock as a negative construct, a positive view is offered by Juffer (1987) who considers culture shock to be caused by a “growth experience” in which change and transition are synonym of potential growth and personal development (cited in Pedersen 2005). Most of the recent literature tends to support this positive assumption. As a matter of fact, Furnham and Bochner (1986) state: “The implication is that although it may be strange and possibly difficult, sojourning makes a person more adaptable, flexible and insightful”(p.47).

In addition, recent empirical research about growth the potential of the sojourn demonstrate that although the visitor faces difficulties to adapt to the new environment, there is also an increase in awareness and understanding of oneself (Kauffmann et al., 1992 cited in Pedersen 1995), in the interest towards cross-culture issues, and a more critical attitude toward one’s culture (Carlson & Widaman, 1988, cited in Pedersen 1995). Kim (2001), asserts that the difficulties faced when experiencing culture shock lead the individual to make a greater effort in changing their old ways to carry out daily activities, achieving a better quality of life in the new environment.

Gudykunst and Kim (1984) identified the stress related to the initial culture shock a characteristic of the intercultural transformation theory, according to which an individual goes through a stress-adaptation-growth dynamic which over time becomes cyclic and continual. This initial stress the individual faces living in the new culture, which is named in the literature as acculturative stress, is believed to be not necessarily unconstructive and might in fact lead to positive results. After all, the acculturation process is a step towards assimilation as the individual makes a great effort to change their cultural patterns  in order to make them suitable to the new environment.

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The stages towards biculturality


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Alder(1975) further develops Oberg’s framework and approaches culture shock in a neutral manner rather than in a negative one. He describes the initial contact as the “the honeymoon” stage when the visitor experiences the curiosity and the enthusiasm of a tourist, but maintains their identity which is still well rooted in their cultural settings. The second stage includes the removal of the familiar cues, and the individual has to respond to the new requirements of the host culture. It is in this stage that the individual experiences self-blame and a sense of frustration for not being able to cope well with difficulties encountered. The third stage involves the reintegration of new cues and an increased ability to deal with daily life activities. The feelings associated with this stage are anger and resentment as the individual perceives the new culture as the root of the problems they have been forced to cope with. The fourth stage is when the reintegration continues. In this stage the individual continues to work towards a gradual autonomy and is able to recognise the good and the bad aspect of both cultures. It is when a more balanced view is achieved. The fifth stage is when supposedly the individual is totally confident in dealing with both cultures and therefore, has achieved biculturality of the old and new culture. However, there is some controversy over whether it would ever be possible to achieve this stage.

For further information contact me at raffaella@languagesalive.com

Hand picked activities with Kids in.


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Hello folks,

I hope life is treating you well

I recently came across the” kids in” website and by browsing it, I found loads of activities for children; from holiday clubs to birthday parties you name it. The best activities are hand picked for the best experience your child will benefit from. They operate all around London and in many cases the entertainers will come straight to your place at your  convenience. However, activities are also carry out in nursery and schools, a wide choice is given.

Birthday parties vary from cooking to science and are customised to the client’s wishes.

I highly recommend their services, here is their website www.kidsin.club so you can have a look, do not miss out!

 

5 common misconceptions about Italian food


pepperoni1) Pepperoni Pizza

The real original pizza is the pizza Margherita, named after the Queen Margherita visiting Naples in 1889. This pizza was created by a pizzaiolo called Esposito and his wife and it represents the colours of the Italian flag. With time, many variations became part of the Italian pizza history, but never pizza pepperoni. Actually, peperoni spelled with one p means peppers and not spicy salame.

2) Spaghetti with meat balls

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Seriously? I had never heard of pasta with meatballs in all the life spent in Italy. It was a bit of a shock when I realised that. Meatballs which have the size of marble balls are usually eaten on their own and only in the South in regions such as Puglia, Calabria and Sicily they are put in between pasta layers and baked. So NO to spaghetti or fettuccine with meatballs.

3) Pasta alla carbonara with cream

carbonaraCream on Carbonara? You ask a chef in Italy and they will look at you like an alien. It will sound like a blasphemy even. The original carbonara is made with eggs, pecorino cheese and guanciale (pork lard), the only exception which became common nowadays is eggs, parmesan and pancetta. That is it folks! Anyhow doesn’t it look a bit pale and sad with cream?

4) Pasta Bolognesepasta al raguThis is the first dish I could not understand when I arrived in London. As soon as I said I came from Italy, people will tell me straight away: pizza, pasta bolognese. Pasta bolognese? What the heck was that? It took me a little while to realise they talked about pasta al ragu’ (minced meat in tomato sauce). Even though people in London became more familiar with the Italian food, this myth is still going around. I hope one day it will be named by its original name.

5) Latte

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It would be amusing to see one’s face when they ask for latte and the get a weird glimpse and eventually are presented with a glass of plain cold milk. What you really want to ask in Italy is caffelatte. Usually is an alternative to cappuccino and it is drunk in the morning not at the end of main meals. In fact, you could order un espresso or espresso macchiato (with a bit of milk) after meals.

This post will continue in the next few days, so stay tuned for more news!

 

Go beyond language, discover Italian cultural awareness.


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Ok Italian gesture

Before going into the Italian business meeting protocol, I would like to give you a little introduction about the way we address to somebody in Italian and why. As in Spanish and French, in Italian there are two ways to address to somebody: informally and formally. The informal uses “tu” and the formal uses “Lei”. So, how do we use these two ways?

We use “tu” when we know somebody and they are around the same age as us, or we don’t know them but they are the same age or younger. This does not apply to a business environment. They usual greeting used is “ciao”, which we use to say hello and say bye when we are leaving.

We use “Lei” (always capital L when writing), to address formally to somebody who is older than us and we don’t know very well, remember always address with Lei as the older person could take offence otherwise. It can happen that the older person will tell you to address to them with “tu”, however, if it’s not happening, keep addressing with “Lei” even if they do address to you with “tu”.

Also, we use “Lei” when we are in a business environment and you are new to the people you are doing business with. Sometimes you will be asked to address with “tu” if it’s not happening, keep addressing with “Lei”. If you are talking to your boss or someone higher in the company, address with “Lei”. There is a strong power relationship distance in the Italian business context so the boss will have to be addressed with Lei unless specified he/she wants to be addressed with “tu”.

Formal greeting are “buongiorno” (good morning), “buonasera” (good evening), careful when you say “buonanotte” (good night) your night is finished and you are going to sleep. Another way is “arrivederci, or arrivederLa” (good-bye).

I hope this was useful, are you going to do business in Italy or relocating there? If you need more tips, do not hesitate to drop me a line at raffaella@languagesalive.com.

Next: Italian business meeting protocol.

Go beyond language, discover cultural awareness with Italian lessons at www.languagealive.com

Go beyond language, discover Italian culture.


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Culture diversity

Introduction

Italy is made of 20 regions; each one has its traditions, customs, traditional food and even dialects. Moreover, there is also a big difference in climate, with Northern Italy being colder during winter and Central and South enjoying mild winters.

Food and cooking

Even though each region varies so much, it can be said that they all have something in common when it comes to cooking. Indeed, all the traditional food is made with fresh ingredients, which guarantees a healthy nutrition for adults and children alike. The most traditional dishes are parmigiana aubergines, lasagna, gnocchi, cannelloni, pizza of course, fettuccine, and many more hailing from each region. As per desserts, we find the popular tiramisu, ciambellone the favourite Grandma s cake, ideal for the afternoon snack (merenda), strufoli, crostata (tart), panna cotta and many more. Eating is a big part of the Italian culture with people enjoying going out for a meal or staying at home and inviting friends for dinner. Drinking is mostly conceived as a complement to food and rarely people drink alcohol without eating.

 Cultural Values

The most important value in Italy is Family. Personal relations are scrupulously maintained with loyalty in the family and in the work environment. As per family, young people are encouraged by their parents to stay home as long as possible as especially mothers cannot conceive their children living in a separate accommodation. It must be said that the economic environment does not facilitate the moving. However, young people enjoy staying at home, they usually do not contribute to the expenses and their mother does all the house work. Only when they marry young people move out. However, it is a common practice to stay in a separate apartment in the parents’ house. The mother in law has a strong power towards their daughter in law and male Italians have dependent relationships with their own mother. That is why we usually refer to them as mammoni. As per work, people tend to stay in the same job for many years; they value their employer and establish loyal relationships with them.  However, the mentality of the job for life impedes self-development and does not improve the quality of work as especially in public posts where people assume a lying back attitude, neglecting their work duties.

Next business etiquette.

Go beyond language, learn culture too with Languages Alive.

World cup, one tournament, multiple cultures


 

We´ ve got used to the football world cup taking place every 4 years, however, before 1930 the world cup did not even exist. The first time it took place was in Uruguay and only 13 teams were invited by the FIFA. Below are the winners and hosting countries since its beginning.

However, I would like to point out how the football sub-culture embraced so many cultures that it  became part of culture itself. Even people, mostly females, who do not follow football in general become all of a sudden  wild-eyed fanatics. Especially with Italians there is a togetherness feeling which usually is not present in everyday’s life.

So is the world-cup an event to be together an rediscover our roots or is it a simple tournament which generates business and out of control salaries for footballers?

What’s your opinion on this?

Winners