Wanderlüst or Büst

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Let Them Eat Borscht

Preemptively fearing that we would flounder here, our director presented us with a mathematical plot depicting the “stages of cultural adaptation” during orientation. Consequently, a sarcastically meticulous self-examination of our current stage of cultural adjustment has quickly become an ongoing joke within our microcosmic group of seventeen Americans. Take notes from the premed students – a sine curve can save your life. Culture shock, for example – and evidently a favored topic of discussion by Russians – can be split into four subgroups:

  1. The Honeymoon: You have arrived and are fascinated by the language, the people, and the food. You are so excited, not even jet lag can hold you down (!).
  2. Frustration: You become critical of your host country and the culture because you cannot understand it or are confused by it.
  3. Adjustment: After some time has passed, you begin to feel more comfortable and competent in the…

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