This year over 100,000 Indians will study in America. If trends hold true about 20% will come home to India disappointed without a degree. This course is designed to help Indian students prepare for study in the US. If you are already in the US it offers you opportunity to gain insights into what you are experiencing and gives practical advice that will enable you to adjust faster.
In a study by Dr. Daljit Kaur students interviewed, all successful and from very competitive academic environments, felt that their academic adjustment would have been much easier had their problems been identified and dealt with earlier. This course is intended to do just that.
Your course instructor, David Peace moved with his family from NYC to New Delhi in 2001 where he has worked as an Interculturalist; consulting, training and coaching both Indians and expats. One of the things he has enjoyed most is training Indian students going to the US and American students coming to India.
Before coming to India he lived in New York City for 18 years where some of his closest friends were from India. During that time he served as an adjunct professor at a college just north of NYC. In this course he will draw on his experiences both in India and the US to narrow the gap of understanding as you step across cultures to study in the US.
Topics will include;
• Learning About Culture – Why is culture important?
• Planning for Your Move -- What do I need to do before I get on the plane?
• Understanding the American Context – Why do Americans do what they do?
• Adjusting to American Everyday Life – What should I do? What should I not do?
• Communicating with Americans -- Why do misunderstandings occur?
• Studying in American – How will the classroom be different?
• Indentifying Support Structures -- How will I cope?
In addition to 4 hours of lecture the course includes; downloadable resources and web links to important sites for additional information and study, check lists to help you prepare for your journey, interactive exercises to enable you to engage with American culture, reflection questions to help you process your transition.
Looking forward to seeing you online!
With the availability of American Movies and TV throughout the world many international students feel that they already know American culture. Perhaps you have even vacationed in the US. You may be surprised about how much you have yet to learn about American culture. Culture is often more subtle and nuanced than we imagine.
Although reading is a helpful way to learn about American Culture. We can't learn about culture through books or a list of does and don'ts. In order to learn culture we must experience it. During this course we will give you resources to process what you are experiencing.
We relate because we are all human. Throughout this course we will be talking about the many differences between cultures. Before we dive into differences we want to make sure we affirm our commonalities.
What is culture? Understanding how culture works will prepare you to recognize cultural differences and be better able to adapt when you reach the US.
During this course we will make numerous generalizations about American culture and some about Indian culture. There is always a danger of stereotyping. It is our desire to speak to a very wide audience. If what we say doesn't fit you experience I want you to know that I believe you and that there are numerous exceptions to the generalities that we are describing.
Please download America Calling course notes for lectures 7 - 11 which include check list and reflection questions. Lecture 7 is given by Cindy Peace who presents practical tips for booking your tickets
An overview of required documents and immunizations as well as anticipated cost for the first year.
Saying Goodbye helps us get off to a good start when we arrive. Please use the questions in the course notes to reflect upon this lecture.
Practical information and considerations for packing your bags. See the course notes for a packing list.
Values are an important part of life. When you arrive in the US you will be faced with decisions about what values to keep and which ones to let go of. When we reflect on values before we leave we are better able to make conscious decisions rather than drifting with the crowd.
What should expect after your plane lands. This session gives practical help to walk through immigration and get your luggage.
When we understand why cultural confusion or misunderstandings occurs we are better able to overcome them and make adjustments. The culture tree model help us discover why cultural incidents occur, process cultural incidents and better adapt to American life.
Spend time reflecting on these two cultural situations. Why did situation occur? When you are in a similar situation how will you move beyond the misunderstanding. There is a downloadable resource for this lecture.
When we understand the historical events that have shape a national culture we are better able to understand values expressed in everyday life. Historical context helps us understand why some issues are sensitive and highlights the need to avoid costly cultural mistakes.
This lecture is one person's take on the events that have shaped American culture and is presented in hopes of encouraging you to keep learning and studying about American culture as well as you own culture.
When we hold two values which compete in our minds and hearts it is harder to make decisions. When we are in a new culture and we may have a hard time understanding why someone would make a decision contrary to the ones that we prefer or think is obviously right. The confusion usually happens because we have different value preferences or can't understand the value system of the other culture.
American Individualism is reflected in many of our proverbs: The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Learn to stand on your own two feet. Speak for yourself. Be true to yourself.
In this session we will explore the value of individualism in American society, how it works and how it may impact you.
Americans are very concerned with Equality as a value. Sometimes we don't live out that value in everyday life. In other words, our normal behavior doesn't always match with the value of equality. But at heart we are very egalitarian. We take pride in our lack of hierarchy, rank and status. If someone acts as if they are superior in any way to others, We will say things like "That promotion has gone to his head." or "Who does he think he is?"
Anthropologist Edward T. Hall says that America is the most time obsessed and time compartmentalized culture in the world. We break time down into small formal units of time – such as one minute, five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, half an hour, and an hour – units that are meaningless in most other cultures. Understanding how time works in America and how it impacts our behaviors will help you adjust to life and study in the US.
You have finally arrived! You are in the US! This session will give practical advise for your first week.
As you get into American life you will experience numerous cultural behaviors and expressions, some of which you may misunderstand. At times you will also be misunderstood. This session will help you navigate life and avoid embarrassment or misunderstandings because you misinterpret others actions or you do something that others misinterpret.
A study at the Stanford University School of Business tracked a group of MBAs 10 years after they graduated. The result? Grade point averages had no bearing on their success -- but their ability to converse with others did.
In this session we will consider causes for communication break down and give you practical ways to improve your communication.
Spend time reflecting on this cultural communication situation. How will you avoid the misunderstanding or correct a misunderstanding that does occur.
Communication is more than just the mechanical transfer of information. Culture plays a very significant role in communication expectations and styles. In this session we will discuss how culture impacts politeness, interruptions, conversation starters, humor, formality, apologies and direct / indirect communication.
My friend Raj who graduated from a top college and graduate school in India went to the US to do his MBA. He found that Indians were much better at theoretical knowledge. They knew formulas inside out and could solve difficult math problems far better than the American Students. But American Students did much better with the case studies. They excelled at coming up with solutions for business problems.
Much of this has to do with differences in Educational Systems. There are advantages in both systems. This session will help you prepare for those differences and help you make adjustments early and make the best of that first year.
A key to a successful first year of study is in understanding the professors expectations. Expectations are stated on the Syllabus which is usually given during the first class of the semester. In this session we will work through a syllabus so that you will learn how to interpret your professors expectations.
Plagiarism is a very serious offense at the American University. Because of differences in educational systems it is important to understand how plagiarism is understood in the US. This session explains plagiarism and includes a downloadable resource for further examination.
It is not uncommon to experience some homesickness or culture shock when you move across cultures. This session describes culture shock and gives practical suggestions to overcome it. Remember when you do feel emotions that you never felt before you may be experiencing culture shock. It is normal and you will get through it.
When you do encounter a problem, where do you go for support. There are numerous support structures available to you. Fellow Indian students may be your best resource, but don't fail to consider the variety of both forma and informal support structures available to you. Your university wants you to succeed and will provide help if you need it.
David is the senior consultant and director of Shanti Consulting and has lived in Delhi since 2001. He guides executive leaders and teams to increase their global effectiveness. His understanding of global leadership behaviors comes from years of multicultural interaction and is foundational to his work in increasing productivity in international organizations.
David has been active as a professional and life coach helping his coachees develop momentum in achieving their goals. He has trained hundreds of students going to the US and coming to India including work with USIEF's Fullbright Scholarship program, the Ford Foundation's International Fellowships Program and SIT America's oldest study abroad program. In addition to his work with educational institutions has developed cross-cultural competencies for executive leaders and virtual teams with a broad range of clients including: The Canadian High Commission, The World Health Organization, The World Bank, IBM, Convergys, Sears/Kmart, CPA Global, Canon, Samsung, Covidien, SafeNet, COWI, Dayton Phoenix Group, Accor Hotels, YUM Restaurants, BMW Financial, and Bombardier.
David reads widely in the areas of history, sociology and current events, and enjoys several Indian authors including Amartya Sen, Dipankar Gupta and Gurcharan Das. He enjoys travelling, competitive sports and morning walks and can be found exploring Delhi on foot. He lives with his wife in Delhi and stays connected with his three adult kids by Skype.