By Paul Pedersen
The educational literature suggests that international contact contributes to a comprehensive educational experience. The Five Stages of Culture Shock examines an international shipboard educational program and seeks to identify specific insights resulting from informal extracurricular contact between students and host nationals in the context of culture shock experiences. Using the critical incident methodology, Pedersen analyzes students' responses to nearly 300 specific incidents which resulted in insights that apply to the students' own development, as well as the sociocultural context of the host countries. This use of critical incidents shows one way to evaluate and assess the subjective experiences of the informal curriculum. More broadly, the analysis sheds light on the concept of culture shock as a psychological construct.