Goal 1. To Understand our own cultural values and our assumptions about other cultures

I think understanding our own culture might be one of the most difficult things to do. I am sure it it true with many other cultures but I feel their is many different norms in the United States because it is such a melting pot. What I might think about my culture may be different from my friend because our world view is different. This was mentioned in one of our readings.

Personally I think that my cultural values are based on how I was raised and the home that I grew up in. My parents are the ones who taught me what was acceptable and not acceptable in different situations. For example when eating at the dinner table their are appropriate discussion topics, you shouldn’t chew with your mouth open, don’t rest your elbows on the table, and always excuse yourself from the table. Whenever my family goes to someones house for dinner we always bring a dish or some type of wine as a thank you. This might be considered rude in other countries.

I was also raised to believe that family comes first, no matter what. Even if you don’t always get along with someone in your family they will always be there for you in the long run. That is not always true with friends.

I have had a job sense I was 16 this was not forced on me but encouraged because my parents believed that it taught me responsibility, time management, and allowed me to learn the value of a dollar. Looking back I think having a job has also prepared me for a real job because I have worked in many different situations and with many different people. This makes me more appealing to future employers because I know how to be professional in a work environment.

I went to Catholic school from K-5th grade so religion and god was an important part of growing up. It was never forced on me by my parents but was an accepted part of growing up. I think in the US a lot of people believe that it should be god first, family second, and work third but in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the demand and competition of the work place it tends to always be work first because for many “time is money”.

I think my own perceptions of culture ethics don’t have a lot of influence on my perception of other cultures because I have been raised in a very culturally diverse environment. My mom was born and raised in Japan till the age of 10 because my grandparents were missionaries there, so I was raised eating some Japanese foods, and learning some of their social norms. My neighbor who was also my babysitter was from Pakistan so I learned some of their religious believes and traditions such as covering their skin when they were around men.  I was also lucky enough to be able to travel to Europe with my grandmother when I was 13 so I was able to experience a different country at a young age too.

Sometimes I do find myself behaving in a certain way because of my assumptions about members of another culture. For example this past winter I visited Ireland and stayed with an Irish family. I was very careful in the way I acted at the dinner table at first because I was unsure of things that were appropriate. But after we got into good conversation I realized it wasn’t much different then back home and some things that weren’t appropriate at my house were considered appropriate there for example using curse words didn’t really seem to be looked down upon and were considered more socially acceptable.

When meeting with my international partner Laura for the first time I was very interested to learn about her and her experience at Salisbury and school so far. I learned that she is taking six different classes while she is here. I thought that that seemed very rigorous compared to my four classes. Most students in the U.S. take four or five classes but she said that back home it is usual for college students to take a lot of classes. While we were hanging out her dad face-timed her because it was his birthday. I learned that In Korea Laura is considered to be 20 but in the U.S. she is 19. She was trying to explain to me that in Korea when you are born you are considered one year old but in the U.S. you start off at 0. After doing some more research I learned that they follow the Lunar calendar, this calendar is based on the cycles of the moon and still holds their traditional holidays and how they determine their birthdays. So some Koreans may be one or two years older with following the Lunar calendar compared to the Solar calendar. I thought that this was very interesting and had never heard of this before.



One comment

  1. That is really cool that your mother was raised in Japan; I also had a mother who was raised in a different cultures. I believe that her culture influenced me more than I am aware, and I’m sure you see that also. I really like how you tied in your cultural values so closely with your family. After talking to international students and friends from other countries I have realized how important family is to them, and to Americans also. I really like when other countries and my own are similar, especially about something as familiar as family. It really makes me realize how the world truly is one big family and how we need to work together Great job, can not wait to read more about your intercultural partnership!

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