Culture Shock Story a project by Meri Collazos


Moving between (cultures) my friends

Moving…” is the title of my digital story I did for Intercultural Communication on Fall 2010.  Like the rest of the digital stories we did during the course, it also deals with intercultural experience. For me, moving between cultures has been one of the main reasons to devote myself to make movies… It is about traveling and finding new places, meeting other people and fulfilling other experiences.


Moving between my friends” is a personal documentary film that portraits the everyday life of four of the friends I met in UMBC. Sean is from Pennsylvania, US. He is a Spanish teacher at the University. Since he went to study in Mexico City, he started traveling across Central American countries. He fell in love in El Salvador with a Nicaraguan girl. After the engagement, they got married in Nicaragua. A couple of months after the wedding, Sean came back to the US, but he did it alone. Long after their official ceremony, they are still waiting for the official permissions that will allow his wife to come and live in the US. Sean took me to the best pupuseria in Maryland: Chris’s restaurant. It is run by great Salvadorean people. We enjoyed a delicious meal while he explained me about his situation. Lei is from Hangzhou, China. He came to US to pursue a MA in Intercultural Communication at UMBC. He used to be my roommate. Now, he spends most of the time around my place, visiting his Chinese colleagues who live next door, and with Bingbin, the new Chinese roommate who occupied Lei’s old room. Lei is a great singer, too. One of his secret dreams is to open a restaurant and to be able to cook and sing for his clients. But by now, he is just training his voice in multiple song contest that the Chinese Americans  organize around here. We follow Lei to some of these special events. As you will see, Lei is very engaged with the Chinese people. Nevertheless, he does not have very clear intentions to go back to China. He’ll explain to me some of the reasons for staying away of his native country. The other two friends I will be commuting with are Romy and Tamara. Two great women I had the pleasure to share classes with. Romy is originally from Germany. She married a US soldier and they moved to live in Maryland. Tamara is from Ecuador. She is preparing for her wedding.. on the 3rd of July, very close to the date! Tamara is marrying  Ali, a former international student from Morocco. Would you like  to know more about them? The three of them are in the interviews of

The documentary film called “Moving between cultures,” helps us observe the reality of the everyday life of the participating students in familiar settings.  The narrative of the whole documentary film tries to follow a culture shock process as a U curve.  It is an observational style film that can also be considered as a personal narrative where the author and or director explore the reality around her. The starting point of that film was the digital stories produced during the first course in Intercultural Communication (MLL605) during the MA in Intercultural Communication in UMBC. The documentary includes my personal digital story “moving” while some aspects of the digital stories of the students. For example, in her digital story Romy explained how she married an American soldier and the documentary follows her to the military base. In Tamara’s digital story, she explained about her adaptation from Ecuador to the United States and this is the same experience she talks about in the documentary. Sean’s digital story is about time management within cultures, which is based on his time spent in Mexico; this is the starting point of his discourse in the film. Lei’s digital story wraps up with the idea he had in mind when he just arrived from China, namely being able to sing in public in the United States like he use to do in his country; the documentary follows him to a singing contest in College Park, University of Maryland.

Comments are closed.

About Culture Shock:

"Culture shock is the difficulty people have adjusting to a new culture that differs markedly from their own." (

"Many of us are striving to produce a blend of all the cultures which seem today to be in clash with one another. No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive". -Mahatma Gandi

"Culture is a mold in which we are all cast and it controls our daily lives in many in suspected ways...Culture hides more than it reveals, and strangely enough, what it hides, it hides most effectively from it's own participants" -Edward T. Hall

"America is a poem in our eyes" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow"-Lin Yutang