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Cultural exchange programs generally exist within the framework of some sort of organisation; this is a resource that should be taken advantage of in the event of adaptation problems.
Travelling to a different country and living there is not an easy thing to do; adapting to local customs could evolve into something somewhat traumatic, particularly if command of the common language there leaves something to be desired. It is common that cultural differences appear from time to time, some of which may result in awkward, incomprehensible and even dangerous situations that could be avoided with a little patience and maybe, some degree of advice. But for exchange students, advice that they can receive from the kind of people they usually resort to in their normal life at home, like friends and parents, may not be enough r even correct in a situation involving a different culture.
Indeed, even with the best intentions an experience such as living in a completely different place with different traditions and practices cannot be correctly appreciated from afar by people that have no practical knowledge in the matter. So, in the case of cultural exchange or international students the best source of advice, rationally speaking, will be the organisation with which they got involved to travel in the first place because within it they will surely find people working as volunteers or for little money - meaning that they do the job because they really want to help others - and they will be in a better position to provide objective advice that in many aspects will be better that the tips that friends and even relatives at home may provide for specific cases simply because they work daily with such issues and they have likely been exchange students themselves in the past.
This does not mean that students should stop listening to parents and friends, but that they should take care to discern between qualified and unqualified opinions regarding the understanding of different cultures.
Callan Driesmans, Alejandro Edronkin, Javier Gonzalez and Pablo Edronkin at Mount Plataforma, Argentina.
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