Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Cross Cultural Experience Unit

For this blog, I don't have to imagine hosting exchange students who have never visited the US, because I actually did host 2 exchange students this past semester who've never visited the US. In Calhoun Courts (in the Cultural Exchange Community), I lived with Julia from Austria and Sany from Australia (as well as one other American student). At the beginning there were so many cultural differences between us, and it really took some time to work through our differences and learn to understand and appreciate each other for our differences in cultures and beliefs. By the end of the semester, we were all the closest group of friends with a bond that we know will never be broken. We already all have plans to visit each other; Julia is flying to Belgium to stay with me in one month to have a room mate reunion already.

myself, Sany from Australia, Julia from Austria, and Christine

Halloween at Clemson!

There were many particular things about 'my people' and our American culture that I explained to them when they arrived in the states. They didn't understand why everyone was always so friendly, for example the ladies in Schilletter or the fact that everyone always smiles or says 'hi' when you pass them, regardless of if you know them or not. Through ethnos, or my ethnic group, my people truly like to enjoy life and not move too fast. I've noticed already with the European culture that everyone always seems to be in a rush and on the go. With nomos, the internationals seemed to be confused about religion in the US. Since the south is part of the Bible belt, many students here say they are Christians, but their behavior and actions greatly differ from that statement. I try greatly to keep my actions in line with my beliefs.

I brought 4 internationals home with me for Thanksgiving so they could experience a real American Thanksgiving like they've always heard about. They absolutely loved it and loved seeing how 'my people', family, celebrated this day. They really appreciated our culture for what it is and how we are. They absolutely LOVED the southern food also! It was such a great break together, being able to show them my town. I also had an Australian exchange student from Clemson live with me over Christmas break. Although it was hard at times not being with his family for Christmas, he really enjoyed the American ways for Christmas and also New Years Eve (He had NEVER heard of people having a New Years kiss! He said that is not a part of his culture).

their first American Thanksgiving in Lexington, SC :-)

before headed the the USC v Clemson game in Columbia over Thanksgiving break.
Countries in order: USA, Austria, USA, Australia, Australia, Australia, and USA!

In terms of 'Long-Term Orientation', I feel that my culture is way more associated with short term orientation. Short-term orientation is respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations, and protecting your own image that you've built. I feel that southerns definitely fall under short-term orientation; the south seems to be all about protecting your image and definitely about carrying out traditions.

Masculinity is also definitely a part of our culture. It seems to be the 'correct' way to do things is the man should work and 'bring in the bacon', and the woman should stay home with the children and cook. Of course this is slowly changing, but for the most part this is how southerners seem to like it best.

1 comment:

  1. Some good first-person observations here. I wonder what your group of friends would say about their own cultures as related to your comments on long-term/short-term orientation? Hmmm.