Case Studies

Chapter 14: Case Studies
These case studies were selected to illustrate basic concepts in this chapter.  As you review the case example see if you can "spot the concept" from the chapter which is illustrated in the case.  These case examples may be useful for classroom discussion, for role playing in class, or to put the concepts from this chapter in a real-world context.
1. A Middle Eastern student attending a university on the east coast was experiencing a difficult time in meeting American students.  One day after his chemistry class, he decided to talk with a student who sat next to him in class.  The classmate was an American female who easily engaged in a conversation with the Middle Eastern student.  After a few minutes of conversing, the American student on several occasions glanced at her watch.  The Middle Eastern student noticed her behavior and felt as though he was intruding or boring her with his conversation.
On another occasion, the Middle Eastern student was having lunch at the campus cafeteria.  While he was eating, he noticed that many American students were eating and reading at the same time.  Others were eating and writing letters or doing their school work.  He found it very interesting that American students rarely relaxed.
2. Pélin, an international student from Taiwan, was asked to share her experience with students who recently arrived in the United States from China.  Pélin shared that when she first arrived she was excited about attending an American university.  In her spare time she went to see American movies and ate a variety of American foods.  After some time she began noticing the major differences in the behavior of American students and how their belief, values, and lifestyle conflicted with hers.
Pélin lived in the residential halls and had an American roommate.  She spoke of how offended and embarrassed she was when her roommate's boyfriend came by to visit and how openly they would kiss and hug each other. She also shared the difficulty she experienced when using the community showers for women.  Her sense of privacy and personal space was constantly being challenged.
Pélin shared with the group that at first, her adjustment as a student at an American university was difficult, and although much of the values were different from hers, she was able to adjust.  Pélin ended in saying that her biggest growth was being able to appreciate her values by learning to appreciate American values.