Coping with Culture Shock

Five Stages of Culture Shock

1. Initial Euphoria

At this point, everything is new and exciting. You will probably notice a lot of similarities between your home and host country,  and the differences that you do notice are charming and refreshing. The first few weeks are also referred to as the “honeymoon” phase. You’re seeing new places, trying new foods, meeting new people, and you’re excited to learn about a whole new way of life…

2. Irritation/Rejection

After things start to settle down and the reality of daily routine sets in, you’re likely to notice more cultural differences and grow frustrated with local mannerisms. Speaking a foreign language can be stressful and difficult, and you may begin to feel misunderstood, depressed, and homesick.

3. Gradual Adjustment

Luckily, stage 2 does not last forever. Your English will slowly improve, you will begin to grow accustomed to social norms, and you will form meaningful relationships. You grow to appreciate the cultural contrast between two countries and remember why you decided to study abroad in the first place.

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4. Adaptation/Bi-culturalism

At this point, you begin to integrate the local culture and embrace the customs that were once alien. You can comfortably communicate with native speakers, and you no longer feel isolated from the local community. You have adjusted to American lifestyle, and you feel confident in your new-found identity living in a foreign country.

5. Reverse Culture Shock

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Often times if you spend a long time living abroad you will experience a similar process when you return to your home country. Without realizing it, you have grown accustomed to the lifestyle in the States and upon returning back will see your native culture in a whole new light!

Coping with Stage 2

1. Learn about American culture

Understanding a culture and its values is the best way to begin to feel at home in a new country. Do some research! IELP releases a monthly newsletter and a calendar of activities, and these can be great resources to discover what’s happening on campus and around Seattle. Learn what the locals are doing and how you can get involved!

2. Make local friends

Having local friends will help a lot with improving your English and learning about American culture. As easy and tempting as it can be to only spend time with other international students, it is important that you move outside of your comfort zone and befriend people who don’t speak your language.  IELP also offers a Language exchange program that will match you with another UW student or volunteer that is interested in learning about your language and culture. Email langex@uw.edu for more information!

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3. Make a REAL effort to learn the local language

The more of the local language you know, the easier your everyday life and studies will be. It is very tempting to exclusively spend time with other students from your home country during your time off, especially if your level of English is very low. However, this will result in only speaking and practicing English in a classroom setting-which you can do anywhere in the world! Take advantage of all of the English resources that surround you in Seattle; immersion is the quickest and most fun way to learn a new language. Doing your homework and going to class are good first steps-but the real progress happens outside of the classroom.

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4. Journal!

Writing in a journal is a great practice no matter where you are. However, while studying abroad, you will be doing experiencing new things every day and growing rapidly. You can write down what you love about the country during the honeymoon phase to look back on when you’re feeling depressed. If you want to further challenge yourself-try keeping a journal in English! While I was studying abroad in Spain I kept a journal in Spanish. Not only was it great language practice, but when I came back to the States I could reflect on the experience in depth. I could also see how much my Spanish improved over the course of my stay!

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5. Talk it out

Although making local friends is important, connecting with other international students is also very helpful while adjusting to a new culture. Talk about the differences you’ve experienced-what you like, what you don’t like, what you miss about home, what you don’t miss about home. Talking to others experiencing the same transition is a great way to feel connected if you’re feeling lost in a new country. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your peers about how you’re feeling, UW also has a counseling center in Schmitz Hall: https://www.washington.edu/counseling/

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American as Apple Pie

Hot dogs, milkshakes, and grilled cheese are all iconic American foods, but none are quite “as American as apple pie.” A pie is a baked dish made up of a pastry dough exterior that is filled with sweet or savory ingredients. However, not all pies are made equal. Pie was initially a practical dish because it required less flour to make than bread, making it the ideal, cheap, and filling dish for hungry immigrants. As colonists (and their pie recipes) spread towards the West, variations developed and came to represent different areas of the United States.

In Northern states, Native Americans taught settlers how to extract sap from maple trees, and pumpkin pies sweetened with maple syrup became very popular in this area. Maine, which boasted a plentiful blueberry harvest each year, claimed blueberry pie as their signature dessert. The Midwest, with its abundance of dairy farms, specialized in cheese and cream pies. Southern states indulged in various kinds of “chess pie” which was filled with rich buttermilk or cream, sugar, egg, and sometimes bourbon.

Today, pies of all kinds are enjoyed throughout the States, especially during American holidays like Thanksgiving and Fourth of July. If you haven’t tasted pie yet, it is a classic (and delicious!) part of American heritage that you need to try at least once while in the States. With Independence Day coming up, you will likely find pies on display in any major American supermarket, but Seattle also has a slew of specialty pie shops if you want a taste of the traditional homemade goods. Here are a few of the most popular:

 

Pie Bar Ballard

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This family-owned business has a weekly-rotating menu of sweet and savory pies as well as craft cocktails and ciders to compliment! Check out their unique selection of treats here.

A la Mode Pies

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“Quite simply, exceptional pie – the kind Mom would be proud to serve.” – Chris Porter (Owner)

This hand-baked pie shop has expanded from its original location in West Seattle to open a second in Phinney Ridge across from the Woodland Park Zoo. Their 9-inch pies are made-to-order with the fruit filling sourced from local, organic farms. They also offer pie-making classes on Tuesdays and delivery for orders consisting of of 5 or more pies. Explore their website to browse their flavors, order online, and check out their extended summer hours.

 

Pie

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As its name would suggest, this is a one-stop-shop for all of your pie needs. Baked fresh throughout the day, each one (meat pies, vegetarian pies, sweet pies, savory pies, morning pies, late- night pies) is individually sized which ensures freshness and the perfect portion. Their menu changes daily in rotation so you can expect a new treat for your taste buds with each visit!

 

 

Pie-history Credit:

http://toriavey.com/history-kitchen/2011/07/the-history-of-pie-in-america-2/

 

Celebrate 4th of July this Summer!

Independence Day is one of the biggest American holidays during the summer. Traditional activities include having a BBQ, eating apple pie, watching fireworks, and wearing red white and blue. Even if you don’t identify as American, it’s a fun and easy holiday to celebrate, and there are so many ways to get involved around Seattle! Here are some of the many activities going on in Seattle this July 4th.

1.Seafair Summer Fourth

This free, family-friendly fair takes place at Gasworks Park, only about a 20 minute walk from West campus! There will be food vendors, live entertainment, and “All-American games” such as pie-eating contests and sack-races during the day, with a spectacular firework show after the sun sets over Lake Union.

Event Website: http://www.seafair.com/events/2017/seafair-summer-4th

Credit: seafair.com

2. Family Fourth of July, Seatac 

This festival takes place all day at Angle Lake Park and features a free water spray park with spray nozzles for children to run through, carnival rides and bouncers, and a fantastic firework show at night.

For more Info: http://www.ci.seatac.wa.us/government/city-departments/parks-community-programs-services/special-events/family-fourth-of-july

3. Burien’s Fourth of July Parade

This parade is one of the oldest and most highly attended in King County! Beginning at 3pm and running for about 2 hours, this parade features floats, pirates, marching bands, and so much more! For more information on how to get involved, visit their website:

http://www.discoverburien.org/events/2017/07/04/

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4. Kent Fourth of July Splash

This unique festival features traditional American games from noon-5pm such as pie-eating contests and T-Bird puck and shoot. Kent also provides free shuttle transportation and parking close to Lake Meridian, and of course, no Fourth of July would be complete without a fireworks finale!

Event website: http://www.kentwa.gov/residents/parks-recreation-and-community-services/events/fourth-of-july-splash

Holidays in April and How You Can Get Involved

We hope that you have been enjoying your courses and life so far at UW and in Seattle. As you are more introduced to American cultures during your study at UW, we want to introduce some April holidays and tell you how you can get involved!

1. EASTER

Date: Sunday, April 16, 2017.

WHAT IS IT? Easter starts as a Christian holiday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It is also now celebrated around the world to welcome the spring. The celebration always involves different activities with Easter bunny, Easter eggs, and other Springtime creatures and themes.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED?

  • “Beat the Bunny 5K Run & Walk” with your friends on Saturday, April 8th, 10am at Redmond Central Connector Park. Adults who are 15 or older need to pay $20
  • “2017 Bunny Party” on Saturday, April 8th, 11am to 6pm at Ugly Baby and La Ru (1430 Western Ave, Seattle). This is an egg hunt activity down Western Avenue. You can participate in sidewalk art, color pages, and pet bunnies. Cost: $5 to $10.easter-e1427190346683

2. EARTH DAY

Date: Saturday, April 22, 2017

WHAT IS IT? Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. In 1968, Morton Hilbert and the U.S. Public Health Services organized an environmental conference for students to hear from scientists about the effects of environmental degradation on human health. This was the beginning of Earth Day.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED? 

  • “RainWise 101 Workshop” on April 17, 2017 at 6-7:30pm at Montlake Library, 2401 24th Ave E, Seattle WA 98112. At this free workshop, you will learn about applying for a rebate from Seattle Public Utilities and King County for up to 100 percent of the cost of your rain garden or cistern.
  • “Wild and Scenic Film Festival” on April 20, 2017 at 5:30pm at 511 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA. You can enjoy multiple film sessions, happy hour, and a drawing activity at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, featuring environmental and adventure films (Cost is $30). 
  • You can find more interesting activities here

3. ARBOR DAY

Date: Friday, April 28, 2017

WHAT IS IT? Arbor Day is a holiday in which people are encouraged to plant and care for trees. Lots of countries around the world are celebrating this holiday to educate about the importance of trees.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED 

  • Plant a tree!!! You can go on Seattle.gov for instructions on how to start planting a tree.

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Besides these well-known April holidays, there are some “weird” and interesting holidays.

4. National Siblings Day 

Date: Monday, April 10, 2017

WHAT IS IT? It is a holiday recognized annually in some parts of the United States to honor the relationship of siblings.

5. Blah Blah Blah Day 

Date: Monday, April 17, 2017

WHAT IS IT? It is a day to do all the things everyone has been nagging you about!

For the complete April holiday calendar, check it out here. This calendar also includes some holidays in other countries.

Cover Photo: Credit to Dennis Wise.

April Events You Don’t Want to Miss

As a student living in Seattle, you never want to miss the most beautiful season of the year: the spring. You can go hiking in the national park, see the cherry blossoms on campus, and have a picnic with your friends at Gas Works Park. In addition, there are lots of interesting events and activities happening around Seattle in April with thousands of people participating. Let’s see what is happening in April and be part of the community!

1. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Time: April 1-30, 2017

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival was inaugurated in 1984 by the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce to attract more visitors to see the tulips in Skagit Valley. Today, the festival is composed of a variety of fun events including art shows, gala celebrations, concerts, tours of local shellfish, and cheese operations etc. Two major events during this period are Downtown Mount Vermon Street Fair and the Kiwainis Salmon Barbecue.  The tulips will bloom depending on their own schedule during the festival. Don’t worry if you can’t make it on the weekend when the tulips started blooming!

 

2. Seattle Restaurant Week

Time: April 2-6 and 9-13, 2017

Seattle Restaurant Week is a ten-day celebration of food in King County that always takes place in April and October. The dining celebration features over 165 restaurants in King County. All the participating restaurants will offer a three-course dinner for $32 (some restaurants even offer $18 deal) with an appetizer, entrée, and dessert with at least three options under each course. It is absolutely a great opportunity to have some awesome Seattle food!

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Seattle Restaurant Week, The Seattle Times

 

3. National Park Week

Time: April 15-16, and 22-23, 2017

National Park Week is America’s largest celebration of national heritage. As you have read from our previous posts, Washington State has lots of resources of national parks. So why don’t you take the advantage of the resources you have, discover and make connections with the nature? During these days, all National Park Services that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone. The fee waiver will include entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees.

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Credit to Pinterest

 

4. Seattle Cheery Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival

Time: April 21-23, 2017

The Festival first started when Japan’s former Prime Minister, Takeo Miki, sent 1,000 cherry trees to Seattle on May 8, 1976 in commemoration of the long friendship between people of Japan and Washing State. The Festival is free with beautiful sakura, cherry tree, and traditional Japanese music and dances.

 

5. National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) 

Time: April 27-30, 2017

NFFTY is the world’s largest film festival for emerging directors. It is the premier showcase for young directors who are 24 and younger from all over the world to express their voices and their understanding of the world. The festival includes film screenings, filmmaking workshops, panels, concerts, and a gala opening night.

 

There are lots of events going on our campus as well. Make sure to check out our Campus Calendar regularly to keep updated about what is going on in our school! Go Huskies!

A Guide to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula

by Molly FitzMorris, IELP Student Coordinator

 

Did you know that there’s a huge beautiful rainforest just a few hours from Seattle?  The Olympic Peninsula, just west of the Puget Sound, is home to Olympic National Park and the Olympic Mountains.  It is also home to emerald moss-covered trees, rivers, lakes, and stunning waterfalls.  The Olympic Peninsula is one of my favorite places on Earth, and a spring weekend is the perfect time for a visit.  Below I’ll give you some tips and places to see should you decide to go.

 

My must-see spots on the Olympic Peninsula:

Below are my absolute favorite places on the Olympic Peninsula.  If you plan carefully and spend one night in a town like Sequim or Port Angeles, you can leave Seattle Saturday morning, see all five spots below, and be back in Seattle Sunday night!

 

  1. Lake Crescent

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East Beach, Lake Crescent, March 2017, photographed by Molly FitzMorris

 

Lake Crescent is a glacial lake, near the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula.  When the water is still, it reflects the mountains that surround it.  If the weather is warm, you can swim or rent a boat to explore the lake, and on cooler days, you can hike nearby.  Check out the National Park Service’s website for more information.

 

  1. Hurricane Ridge

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Hurricane Ridge, photo courtesy of the National Park Service

 

Hurricane Ridge is nestled in the Olympic Mountain range.  You can drive about 17 miles from the town of Port Angeles up into the mountains to find the view pictured above (on a clear day, anyway).  You can look at the Hurricane Ridge webcam to see if the mountains are visible before driving up.  Be aware that you’ll need to pay to access Hurricane Ridge ($25 for a one-week pass, or $50 for a pass good for one year), and you’ll need to carry tire chains in your car if the road is snowy.  Check out the National Park Service’s website for more information.

 

  1. Cape Flattery

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Cape Flattery, February 2017, photographed by Molly FitzMorris

 

Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point in the 48 contiguous United States.  When visiting Cape Flattery, you can take a short, easy hike through a beautiful forest to several lookouts like the one shown above.  (I also highly recommend the nearby Makah Cultural and Research Center, a museum created by and about a local Native American tribe.  You can find more information about that here.)

 

 

  1. Lake Ozette

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Cape Alava and Tskawahyah Island, near Lake Ozette, February 2016, photographed by Molly FitzMorris

 

While Lake Ozette is undoubtedly beautiful, what I enjoyed most about this area was the Ozette Triangle Trail.  This hike takes you a few miles, from Lake Ozette through a stunning rainforest to a gorgeous Pacific Ocean beach.  Once you reach the beach, you can see Tskawahyah Island, pictured above, and some magnificent ocean stacks.  Check out the Washington Trails Association’s website for more information about this hike.

 

 

  1. Sol Duc Falls

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Sol Duc Falls, October 2014, photographed by Molly FitzMorris

 

Sol Duc Falls is one of my favorite waterfall hikes, and it’s not far from Lake Crescent!  You can drive a few miles from Highway 101 down Sol Duc Road to the trailhead.  From there, it’s a short and easy hike to the waterfall.  Unlike a lot of waterfall hikes, this hike takes you across the Sol Duc River, so you can view the waterfall from above, instead of from below.  Check out the National Park Service’s website for more information.

 

Other great spots:

  • Marymere Falls (info)

  • Hoh Rainforest (info)

  • Dungeness Spit (info)

  • Ruby Beach (info)

 

Be sure to check out all the relevant websites before going to the spots listed above, as sometimes roads can be unexpectedly closed or there might be a fee for parking or to visit certain spots.  Also, don’t forget to pack a rain jacket with a hood and comfortable waterproof shoes; it is usually very wet and rainy on the Peninsula!  Enjoy your trip to this nearby paradise, and take lots of pictures!

Top 5 Spring Break Activities

Spring break is coming! Time to pack your suitcase and go on a short journey with your friends around Seattle!

Don’t know where to go? No worries. We have listed top 5 spring break activities for you. Let’s check them out!

1. Visit one of Washington’s three National Parks!  

Washington State is well known for its three beautiful national parks: Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Mount Rainier National Park. You can go boating, fishing, camping, hiking, tidepooling, climbing, and see various wild animals in these parks. If you are a wilderness explorer, definitely check it out!

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Olympic National Park, Credit to RootsRated, Marmot

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North Cascades National Park, PHOTOGRAPH BY GREG VAUGHN, National Geographic 

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Mount Rainier National Park

2. Visit San Juan Island! 

San Juan Island is the second-largest and most populous island of the San Juan Islands. Originally served as the seasonal fishing island by Native Americans and local people, San Juan Island is now a popular tourist site. People usually visit San Juan Island for whale watching, kayaking, cycling, fishing, hiking, and enjoying local seafood.

3. Take the ferry to Victoria, British Columbia!

Victoria is internationally renowned as the “City of Gardens”. It is also the capital city of British Columbia in Canada. You can find heritage architecture, outdoor adventures, beautiful gardens, and local seasonal events in Victoria. And it is very convenient to take the 2.5-3 hour ferry between downtown Seattle and Victoria’s Inner Harbor.

4. Take a train down to Portland or up to Vancouver

If you can’t drive to Portland or Vancouver, it is a great idea to take the train: Amtrak Cascades. Amtrak Cascades connects Vancouver, British Columbia, Seattle, Portland and Eugene, Oregon. You can also see Mount St. Helens and the Columbia River Gorge during your trip. You will get a chance to see some of the best city views and natural attractions on your way.

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Amtrak Cascades, Credit to Dealmoon

5. Have some fun in Leavenworth!

Leavenworth is a city in Chelan County, WA. The entire town center is modeled on a Bavarian village. It is a good place to relax and enjoy some local food.

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Leavenworth, Credit to Pinterest

Have fun during spring break!

You are Welcome Here!

We welcomed almost 70 students to the IELP for Winter quarter. If there is a new student in your class, please give her or him a nice, warm welcome to Seattle.  We went high tech this quarter for the  Strategies for Success workshop at new student orientation. Students answered questions with text messages. These messages appeared live on-screen, so we learned a lot about each other.  I wanted to share the responses with everyone.  So here they are!

What are my goals?

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What do I want to try in Seattle?

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What am I good at?

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What questions do I have about classes?

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Tours in Seattle

In Seattle there are many ways to experience the rich culture and history behind many of our neighborhoods and sites. One way to do this is by tours. Tours are a fun way to learn more about a city, visit place you may have never noticed before, and have an opportunity to ask questions!

Below are some fun tours in Seattle, click on the title to learn more!

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Pike Place Market

Seattle Free Walking Tours

Tours in large cities like Seattle can be very expensive. Seattle Free Walking Tours does not charge a fee and a tip, instead they ask you to “pay what you feel”. This means that you can pay as little or as much as you’d like.

This company offers two tours:

  1. Market Experience Tour
  2. Seattle 101

The Market Tour focuses on Pike Place Market while Seattle 101 focuses on downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square, and the waterfront. The Market Tour is a little over an hour long, and the Seattle 101 tour is about 2 hours long.

Washington Arboretum Tours

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IELP students on a tour at the arboretum

On Sundays at 1PM you can stop by the Graham Visitors Center to go on a tour at the Washington Arboretum! You can learn about plants, ask questions, and enjoy the park!

On the first Thursday of the month you can stop by the Graham Visitors Center at 11AM to go on a Tram Tour! However you do need to register online.

Both of these tours are free. See here to learn more!

Click here to read about when IELP students when to the arboretum!

Olympic Sculpture Park Tour

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The Olympic Sculpture Park

The Olympic Sculpture Park, an outdoor exhibit, is a great place to enjoy the weather and see some cool sculptures! The tour lasts about an hour and you can learn all about the history, landscape, and of course, the sculptures themselves!

Check out the calendar here for more specific dates and times!

Theo Chocolate Factory Tour

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IELP students and volunteers enjoying the free samples at Theo Chocolate

You can take a peek inside the factory of Seattle’s very own chocolate maker: Theo Chocolate! A typical tour is $10 per person, lasts about an hour, and includes chocolate sampling!

They also have fun events such as “Kids Ganache and Chocolate Bark Class” where you spend the day learning how to make chocolate ganache and bark. See here for more information.

On the first Thursday of the month starting August 2016 Theo Chocolate will begin offering 2 free tours that day. Make your reservations in advance!

You can book a tour here.

 

Underground Tour

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Here you can see glimpses of Seattle’s past

In 1889 there was a large fire in Seattle. When officials began rebuilding the city they actually built it on top of some of the older, burnt sections of Seattle! Now there are many passageways and basements underneath the Seattle we know.

The Underground Tour takes people down to the area beneath Pioneer Square. Tickets are $20 for adults, or $17 with your husky card!

Visit here to learn more.