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  • Vanessa: Hi, I'm Vanessa from the website, SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com.

  • Welcome to the sample conversation video lesson from the course The Fearless Fluency Club.

  • In this video, you'll see myself and my sister Cherise having a conversation, a natural,

  • real conversation about reverse culture shock.

  • If you don't know what this term is, watch the video.

  • If you'd like to hear natural conversations, I'm sure you'll enjoy it, and to analyze and

  • learn about the vocabulary, the grammar, the pronunciation that we use in this video, make

  • sure that you watch the other videos in this series.

  • That way you can more completely and fully understand the conversation and use the English

  • yourself.

  • To join The Fearless Fluency Club, you can click the link here in the description or

  • up here at the top, the little I in the corner.

  • Thanks so much and let's get started.

  • Hi everyone.

  • I want to introduce you to my sister, Charisse.

  • Charisse: Hi everyone.

  • Vanessa: Today we're going to talk about a cool topic, reverse culture shock, but first

  • I want to introduce my sister, because you probably don't know her.

  • Can you tell us first a little bit about where you've lived or different countries you've

  • lived in?

  • Cherise: Yeah, sure.

  • Well, I lived in France.

  • I lived in Argentina, and I recently returned from South Korea.

  • Vanessa: Cool, cool.

  • What were you doing in France?

  • Cherise: In France, I was an au pair.

  • In Argentina, I had multiple jobs actually.

  • First, I worked at a volunteer organization, then I taught English, every odd job.

  • Then, I moved directly to South Korea, where I also taught English.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, so you're also an English teacher or yo used to be an English teacher.

  • That's really cool.

  • We have something in common.

  • Cherise: Yeah.

  • Yeah, we do.

  • Vanessa: The topic for today is reverse culture shock, and maybe some people know about what

  • culture shock is, but how would you describe culture shock?

  • Cherise: Reverse culture shock is when you go from the country you've been living in,

  • a foreign country, let's say, South Korea, you come back to your home country, and then

  • all of a sudden everything feels foreign, as if you're returning to a foreign country

  • and not your home country.

  • You don't connect with people.

  • You feel very different from everything around you.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, you feel kind of disconnected from what used to be really normal for you.

  • Cherise: Exactly.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, and that's a terrible feeling because you feel like, "Oh, I should be going

  • home.

  • I should be really comfortable," and then you feel really weird.

  • Cherise: Exactly.

  • You don't expect it.

  • You hear of culture shock, but reverse culture shock is something you're not expecting.

  • Because you don't prepare for it, it hits you harder.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, that's a good point.

  • I don't know.

  • Have you ever felt culture shock, regular culture shock when you moved to Argentina

  • or France or Korea?

  • Did you feel like, "This is a new culture"?

  • Cherise: I definitely did to an extent, because you're preparing for it.

  • You know you're going to another country.

  • You're going to feel discomfort of some sort, and you're expecting to feel it, so I think

  • you prepare more for this culture shock, but reverse culture shock, you're not ready, you're

  • not prepared, and it just hits you.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, especially when you go to another country and you know you're going to live

  • there for a while, you probably do a lot of preparation.

  • I know when we moved to Korea, I was watching videos all the time about Korea and what's

  • life like, some of the language, some culture different stuff, but when we came back to

  • the US, I didn't think about that at all.

  • It's just like, "Oh, it's just the US.

  • It's my home country."

  • Cherise: Exactly, right.

  • It's definitely real.

  • It's definitely there and it's something that you don't think about.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, especially when you've been living away for a while.

  • How long were you living away from the US before you came back?

  • Cherise: Four years.

  • Vanessa: So Argentina, and then- Cherise: First Argentina for a year, then

  • South Korea for three years.

  • Vanessa: Yeah.

  • That's a long time.

  • Cherise: It had been a long time.

  • I hadn't made any trips, just to visit friends or family.

  • My friends weren't even American, I would say, so I wasn't even getting some culture

  • from my American friends.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, you're culturally disconnected.

  • Cherise: Most of my friends were foreign or from the country I was living in.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, so when you lived in Argentina and Korea, you didn't really have American

  • friends so much.

  • Maybe some.

  • Cherise: There were a few, but they weren't the majority, or I wasn't even looking to

  • make those connections with American people.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, you wanted to make friends that are from the country.

  • Cherise: I wanted to, yeah, acclimate to the country and to the culture.

  • Vanessa: Yeah.

  • I think a lot of people, at least a lot of my students, if they're living in an English-speaking

  • country, that's a huge question, "How can I meet people who are from the local culture?"

  • But you did it.

  • What do you think helped you?

  • That's kind of off topic, but what do you think helped you to make friends with people

  • who weren't American?

  • Was it your jobs or you just learned the language?

  • Cherise: I think what helped was going to events that weren't for foreigners.

  • I went to those types of things where you know you're going to meet locals who live

  • there, and then just connecting with them and then a lot of times, they're very receptive.

  • They want to be your friend, too, and then that brings you into their friend group.

  • Vanessa: Yeah.

  • You mean dances or concerts, or what kind of events did you go to?

  • Cherise: Yeah, concerts, a lot of concerts in Argentina mainly, and then in South Korea,

  • I would say it was with my work because I was the only foreigner at the school I worked

  • at.

  • Everyone I worked with was a local, was Korean, and that's how I connected with them.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, so if you wanted to learn more about the culture, they were already around

  • you.

  • That's really cool.

  • I think it takes a lot of guts, though, because when you are the only person who's American

  • or from your country in an area, maybe you would be more likely to seclude yourself or

  • be like, "I feel really uncomfortable talking to them.

  • Do they want to talk to me?"

  • Cherise: Yeah, but they were very nice.

  • I never felt that awkward situation where maybe they don't want me here.

  • I felt very welcomed, and this is in South Korea.

  • Vanessa: In Argentina, was it different?

  • Cherise: No, it wasn't different.

  • This is coming from the experience of working in South Korea.

  • In Argentina, as well, but definitely in South Korea because I was the only foreign teacher,

  • but luckily I was with my husband, Toddo.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, so can you tell us a little bit about Toddo because Cherise's husband

  • also plays an important role in I think this culture shock or acclimating to a new culture,

  • so can you tell us about him?

  • His name's Toddo, so if you hear Toddo, it's not an English word you don't know.

  • It's just his name.

  • Cherise: Sure.

  • He's Colombian and we met in Argentina.

  • We got married in Argentina and then together we moved to South Korea, so he's been with

  • me through basically- Vanessa: A lot of changes.

  • Cherise: ... everywhere, in Argentina, in Korea, and then back to the US right now.

  • I think he's really helped me acclimate better just because I have somebody who's been with

  • me through all these experiences, and if no one else connects with me, I know he will

  • and I know he'll understand what I've been through because he's been through it, too,

  • and we can kind of hash it out together.

  • That has helped a lot.

  • Vanessa: I think that makes a big difference too because I know when I've traveled alone

  • somewhere and then I came back to the US, no one understood what I'd seen or the cool

  • experiences, so I felt really lonely.

  • There's no one I can talk to about this, and if I said, "Oh, I went here and I went there

  • and this was really cool, and oh, in Germany, it's like this," they'd just be like, "Oh,

  • that's really cool."

  • Maybe they thought it was cool, but they just can't get it.

  • Cherise: Right.

  • Exactly.

  • Either I feel like I'm talking too much about Korea and they're like, "Oh shut up, please

  • stop."

  • Vanessa: That's hard because it's part of your past.

  • Cherise: I want someone to tell.

  • Yeah, I want someone to be able to appreciate or just even listen.

  • You've been somewhere and you want to be able to share what you've seen, what you've learned.

  • Vanessa: Yeah.

  • We're like grandmas.

  • We want to just tell our stories.

  • Cherise: Exactly.

  • It's really helped having Toddo around and being able to connect with him stronger just

  • because we've been everywhere together.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, you guys have a closer bond because you've been through a lot.

  • Cherise: Right, right.

  • Vanessa: I think there's something ... Oh, what was I going to say?

  • There's something cool about, oh, you guys' relationship that we haven't mentioned yet,

  • that part of that reverse culture shock that we'll talk about in just a second is a language

  • thing, going from not being in an English speaking country to being in the US, where

  • there's English everywhere.

  • You speak Spanish, so can you tell us a little bit about your language experience with him?

  • I think this is so cool.

  • Cherise: Okay, sure.

  • Well, before I was going to Argentina because I wanted to learn Spanish, and I met Toddo.

  • Well, when we met, we didn't speak Spanish immediately together.

  • We spoke English.

  • He also speaks perfect English, but then as time grew on I was getting more like, "I really

  • want to learn Spanish, and let's speak Spanish together," which is actually really hard,

  • especially with a couple, with a pair to be like, "Okay, we're going to speak only"-

  • Vanessa: And change languages in the middle of your relationship.

  • Cherise: Exactly, yeah, but we somehow managed to do that somewhat successfully I would say.

  • I would speak Spanish almost I would say 90% of the time.

  • Vanessa: That's awesome.

  • Cherise: Which is really good.

  • It's helped me a lot.

  • It's helped our relationship.

  • I don't know why.

  • Vanessa: Yeah.

  • That's part of his native language though, so maybe for him too, he can connect better.

  • Cherise: I agree.

  • I think it has to do something with that.

  • All around, it's been great, so yeah.

  • Vanessa: That's cool that you have that connection, but coming back to the US, if you didn't want

  • to speak English, you could speak Spanish together.

  • Cherise: Right.

  • Oh yeah, I didn't mention that.

  • When we came back to the US, I felt like everyone was listening to my conversations and it was

  • just uncomfortable.

  • I didn't want to speak out loud because I thought, "Everyone's listening to me."

  • Vanessa: Yeah, that's a really weird feeling.

  • Cherise: We would speak in Spanish everywhere, but then again also, there's a lot of people

  • who speak Spanish, so it doesn't work all the time.

  • Vanessa: Kind of an illusion.

  • Cherise: You feel like you're speaking a secret language.

  • Vanessa: Yeah.

  • I feel like that's a good segue to the next thing of when have you experienced reverse

  • culture shock?

  • Coming back from the Argentina Korea experience to the US, did you experience any of that?

  • Cherise: Definitely.

  • I felt a longing for the Argentinian lifestyle I had when I was in Korea for at least a few

  • months, like, "Oh, we can just go out to all these restaurants and they have a lot more

  • varieties of food," so that was hard.

  • Maybe public transportation, although Korea also has fantastic public transportation.

  • It just stops at a certain time so you have to know what your-

  • Vanessa: Oh, Argentinian transportation went longer?

  • Cherise: It's all night, all day, 24/7.

  • Vanessa: Whoa.

  • Cherise: You don't have to think, "Okay, I've got to go home now."

  • Vanessa: Yeah.

  • Cherise: There were some things that I missed about Argentinian life that-

  • Vanessa: Weren't in Korea.

  • Cherise: Yeah, that didn't exist in Korea, and also, at least in Argentina, I understood

  • what people were saying and I could communicate.

  • Even though it wasn't my first language, at least I could communicate with people.

  • Vanessa: That makes a huge difference, though, connecting with the culture, if you can understand

  • the language.

  • Cherise: I know.

  • It opened a lot of doors.

  • When I went to Korea, I felt very closed.

  • I couldn't communicate with anyone.

  • I didn't really know what was going on.

  • There was a lot of cultural differences, too.

  • Eventually, you adapt to any circumstance.

  • I was able to adapt to living in Korea, and then-

  • Vanessa: You probably learned some of the language, enough to read or enough to minimally

  • communicate.

  • Cherise: Right, I could read, and also, yes, communicate with the students, communicate

  • with my coworkers.

  • Sometimes some of them spoke English.

  • Anyway, when I went from Korea to the US, there was another level of culture shock just

  • because America was my home country and then all of a sudden, I felt like a foreigner in

  • my own country.

  • Vanessa: That's a really weird feeling.

  • Cherise: I still feel that way to an extent, not as strongly as when I first arrived.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, and how long have you been back now?

  • Sorry to interrupt you.

  • Cherise: I think it's been four months.