The Adjustment of Students from Lithuania to the Socio-Cultural Environment of the United Kingdom

Loreta Chodzkienė

Abstract


Every year a considerable number of Lithuanian school-leavers enter higher educational institutions in the UK. Their decision to study in an English speaking country not only provides them with the opportunity to master their competences in a multicultural academic environment, encompassing studies and participation in various extra-curricula activities, but studying in the UK also exposes them to a completely different academic culture. This presents challenges which occur due to unfamiliar social and cultural life spheres, as well as forcing the students to encounter the phenomena of diversity and otherness.

The paper aims to identify the most important components of the Intercultural Communicative Competence (further—ICC) necessary for one’s successful adjustment abroad, to be more precise, the students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes that helped them feel comfortable in the UK socio-cultural environment. In order to achieve the aim set, the preconditions for ICC to be developed in foreign language curricula of secondary education in the Republic of Lithuania are studied. Further to it, a framework of ICC to be mastered at the foreign language lessons from theoretical perspective is reviewed. Finally, the data obtained via the diagnostic survey is discussed. The analysis is based on the reflections presented by 73 respondents of Lithuanian origin who have recently been studying and residing in the UK. The reflections encompass comparative self-assessment of the respondents’ three basic ICC components, i.e., their English proficiency in social contexts, their command of English for specific and academic purposes, and their culture-specific knowledge within two periods of their lives, i.e., before leaving for the UK and while getting adapted to the environment of the UK. Unfortunately, the results reveal, that Lithuanians’ adaptation is grounded at emotional level relying more on motivation, personal character traits and language proficiency rather than intercultural knowledge and skills.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.sal.0.23.5488


Keywords


Lithuanian school-leavers; self-assessment; Intercultural Communicative Competence; adjustment to the culturally new environment

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Print ISSN: 1648-2824
Online ISSN: 2029-7203