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  1. Chapter 1: Answering 6 common interview questions
    Before You Read
  2. Working With Reading
  3. After You Read
    2 Practices
  4. Building Vocabulary
    2 Practices
  5. Reading Skill
    2 Practices
  6. Discussion And Writing
  7. Chapter 2: Young Women Changing the world
    Before You Read
  8. Work With Reading
  9. After You Read
  10. Building Vocabulary
  11. Reading Skill
  12. Discussion And Writing
  13. Chapter 3: Students Learning teams
    Before You Read
    2 Practices
  14. Working With Reading
  15. After You Read
  16. Building Vocabulary
  17. Reading Skill
  18. Discussion And Writing
  19. Chapter 4: Learning to Speak
    Before You Read
  20. Working With Reading
  21. After You Read
  22. Building Vocabulary
  23. Reading Skill
  24. Discussion And Writing
  25. Chapter 5: The Man in the Moon Has Company
    Before You Read
  26. Working With Reading
  27. After You Read
  28. Building Vocabulary
  29. Reading Skill
  30. Discussion And Writing
  31. Chapter 6: Culture Shock
    Before You Read
  32. Working With Reading
  33. After You Read
  34. Building Vocabulary
  35. Reading Skill
  36. Discussion And Writing
  37. Chapter 7: Private Lives
    Before You Read
  38. Working With Reading
  39. After You Read
  40. Building Vocabulary
  41. Reading Skill
  42. Discussion And Writing
  43. Chapter 8: A Young Blind Whiz
    Before You Read
  44. Working With Reading
  45. After You Read
  46. Building Vocabulary
  47. Reading SKill
  48. Discussion And Writing
  49. Chapter 9: How to Make a Speech
    Before You Read
  50. Working With Reading
  51. After You Read
  52. Building Vocabulary
  53. Reading Skill
  54. Discussion And Writing
  55. Chapter 10: Conversational Ball Games
    Before You Read
    2 Practices
  56. Working With Reading
  57. After You Read
  58. Building Vocabulary
  59. Reading Skill
  60. Discussion And Writing
  61. Chapter 11: Letters of Application
    Before You Read
    2 Practices
  62. Working With Reading
  63. After You Read
  64. Vocabulary Building
  65. Reading Skill
  66. Discussion And Writing
  67. Chapter 12: Out to Lunch
    Before You Read
  68. Working With Reading
  69. After You Read
  70. Vocabulary Skill
  71. Reading Skill
  72. Discussion And Writing
  73. Chapter 13: Public Attitudes Toward Science
    Before You Read
  74. Working With Reading
  75. After You Read
  76. Vocabulary Skill
  77. Reading Skill
  78. Discussion And Writing
  79. Chapter 14: The Art of Genius
    Before You Read
  80. Working With Reading
  81. After You Read
  82. Vocabulary Skill
  83. Reading Skill
  84. Discussion And Writing
Lesson 31 of 84
In Progress

Before You Read

Kunthea May 4, 2021

Chapter Focus:

  • Adjusting to life in a foreign country
  • Finding the topic and main idea
  • Learning collocations

1 Saying Tamara Blackmore experienced culture shock when she
arrived here last September is an understatement. It was more like culture
trauma for this adventurous student who left Melbourne’s Monash
University to spend her junior year at Boston College (BC). Blackmore,

5 20, was joined at BC by 50 other exchange students from around the
world. Like the thousands of exchange students who enroll in American
colleges each year, Blackmore discovered firsthand there is a sea of
difference between reading about and experiencing America firsthand.
She felt the difference as soon as she stepped off the plane.

10 As soon as she landed in Boston, Blackmore could feel the
tension in the air. She was about to taste a lifestyle4 far more hectic
than the one she left. “Driving in Boston is crazy,” says Blackmore.
“It took me a while to get used to the roads and the driving style
here. I was always afraid someone was going to hit me. It was
15 particularly tricky since the steering wheel was on the wrong side
of the car. In Australia, it’s on the right side.”

Beyond the cars and traffic jams, Blackmore said it took a while
to get used to so many people in one place, all of whom seemed
like they were moving at warp speed. “There are only 18 million
20 people in Australia spread out over an entire country,” she says,
“compared to more than six million people in the state of Massachusetts
alone. We don’t have the kind of congestion you have in Boston. There is
a whole different perception of space.”

The pressing problem for Blackmore was making a quick adjustment
25 to the American lifestyle that felt like it was run by a stopwatch. For
this easygoing Australian, Americans seemed like perpetual-motion machines.
 “Americans are very time-oriented,” Blackmore says.

“Everything is done according to a schedule. They’re always busy, which
made me feel guilty about wanting to just sit around and occasionally
30 watch television. Australians, on the other hand, value their leisure time.
The pace there is a lot slower because we don’t feel the need to always be
busy. It’s not that Australians are lazy, it’s just that they have a different
concept of how time should be spent. Back home, I used to spend a lot
more time just talking to my friends.”

35 It didn’t take long for Blackmore to adjust to American rhythms.“I felt
the pressure to work harder and do more because everyone was running
around doing so much,” she says. When BC students weren’t huddled
over books, Blackmore found it odd that they were compulsively jogging,
running, biking, or doing aerobics in order to be thin. “Compared to
40 home, the girls here are very skinny,” she says. “Before I got here, I heard a
lot of stories about the pressure to be thin and that many young American
women have eating disorders. I’ll go out with a friend and just tuck into
a good meal and have a good time, whereas an American girl would just
pick at her food.”

45 But it’s BC’s laid-back[4] and friendly learning environment that sets
it apart from her Melbourne college experience. “Generally speaking,
learning facilities are a lot better in Boston,” she says. “In Australia,
students and teachers have little contact outside the classroom. It’s a
formal and depersonalized relationship. College is a place you go for
50 a few hours every day and then go home. Your social life and
school life are separate.”

It’s just the opposite at BC, according to Blackmore. “BC students and
faculty are like one big happy family,” she says. “There is a real sense of
team spirit. It’s like we’re all in this together. Going to school here is a
55 lifestyle, whereas at home we’re just a number. We attend school to get
a degree so we can graduate, get a job, and get on with our lives.”

Another pleasant shocker was the close and open relationships
American students enjoy with their teachers. It’s a sharp contrast to
Australia, where college students keep a discreet but respectful distance
60 from their teachers. “I was surprised when I learned students go
out to dinner with their lecturers,” she says. “We just don’t do that back
home. Professors deal with hundreds of students, and you’re lucky if
they remember your name.”

When Blackmore returns to Australia at the end of the school year,
65 she’ll have plenty of memories, most of them good ones. BC, like most
American colleges, has gone out of its way to create a memorable
experience for Blackmore and its other exchange students.

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