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[Red Ajah] Culture Exchange Month: Culture Shock


Moon Sedai
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Culture Shock.

If you've ever traveled or moved, there is a chance you've vfelt like this:
tumblr_mcck4iVI9q1qgecupo1_500.gif

 

This can happen with even the slightest move or trip: from one city to another, one state to another, one country to another.
 

 

So, to open the discussion, Let me ask:

Have you ever felt culture shock?

When?

How did you handle it?

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My story:
Yes, I've had culture shock.

 

The first time I ever felt it I was 8. We moved from a place where I was a racial minority to a racial majority.

An entire 8 miles across town.

 

That doesn't sound like a big deal, BUT...

The use of language was different, the way my teachers taught us was different (Yes, that sucks. I went from a 'poor school' to the rich one. The standards of education and such...

 

Let me note that I am NOT trying to insight an argument about racism.

But even at age 8, I knew there was a difference.

Later, I traveled a lot. Hearing others pronounce words differently.

Then I lived in Germany for 2 years as part of the Army.

 

Actually, joining the army or a military unit can cause culture shock (that's for later this month)

 

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i almost nnever interactd with anyone outside myy family/communiity until i was an adullt, and so it was a big shock whn i finally giot out to see things mysellf. guess can put it that i grew up prety poor and wherr most peoplle are extremlly xenophobic about people who arent same culture and i had goten used to violence prety much being answer for evrything, even doing for fun sometime, and theres plenty of othre things like that

 

so that when i reallly started interacting with othre people myself felt literally like Im in another world. way talked was different, like language and tone and what actuallly talk about, body language was diferent (like aparently learn makes peoplle very uncomfortablle or even scared when you get in thir face or make lots of violent gestures just for fun), most of them didnt come from poverty so noticed thir level of waste and extravagannce was unbelievable at time, and my first impression was they werent as bad as familly made them out to be (opinion has since changed and now i agree with them though not back then).

 

lots of othre things different too, and theyve gotten me in trouble before becuse just incompatible culture i guess, like i get misinterpreted alot or get in troublle for picking or trying to pick so much fights because they dont understand honour or its aparently not safe to make a death threatt in casual conversation whereas that happenss all the time with family and no one freaks out about that.

 

like me and a cousin coulld punch each othre some and then laugh about it because that was fun, exciting, and we coulld die laughing over me saying all sorts of insulting things to him, long as its clever or ticklish, or me making strange noises, but i know with most othre people it confuses them or annoy them and ive been asked if I'm "high" or on drugs when i start doing that stufff and I laugh at myself. havent realy been able to adapt to fit much in othre culture or any othre culture ive been in since so i mosttly just stay away, my few friennds ive ever had outside of my own culture like me because im so differennt and dont expect me to fit in and in way i like them for that too, they are very different and i can learn things from them. 

 

ive been somewhat shocked plenty of times since then, though i kind of expect now that most culturres il ever see way different than one i am part of so i shouldnt be surprised when im surprised, if that makes sense. 

Edited by WildTaltos
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well, i also have an interesting story

 

in belgium, when u say hello to someone, as a girl, you kiss that person on the cheek. even if it is the first time you see an online friend for example.

 

now the first time i met my husband, who was an online friend at that time, the first thing i did was to say hello and kiss him on the cheek... it was quite innocent for me... but he told me weeks later that he had read wayyyyyyy too much in that. XD

 

so, i know now that i have to be careful with my belgian ways ! :laugh:

Edited by Hayl3y
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I got a huge cultural shock in Dcon 2006 when I saw guys walking around in kilts. I couldn't stop giggling. I didn't know what kilts were before that so I was like. Ummmm... why are guys walking around in skirts? lol

 

Nowadays I think kilts are pretty awesome and I've stopped calling them skirts so I think I've evolved lol

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A weird culture shock for me happened once in Germany when a 12 year old kid asked me for a cigarette at a bus stop.

 

and the advertisements on the streets for alcohol and tobacco products were EVERYWHERE!

 

and another example would be once I got out of Basic Training and went home for a few weeks for christmas.

I got off the plane and my dad took me to taco bell. I didn't remember how to ask for what I wanted to eat at the restaurant.
I had no idea how to choose my own food.

 

Culture shock in my own culture.

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I went to Europe as an exchange student right after finishing high school (we finish at age 18, here). I came from a very conservative, rural area in a very conservative country, in a very conservative era. In that time and place, people didn't have sex till they got married.

 

Two things stood out for me:

 

The school-going daughter of one of the host families (she was about 17?) had her boyfriend sleeping over most nights. That was one hellova culture shock!

 

Also, the German couple I stayed with didn't allow anyone to visit them without making an appointment first. Even their own children.

 

Oh yes and children drinking beer in Austria and Germany O_O

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On the trip to Hong Kong

 

Surprise 1: People say "hi" to random people and they "hi" back. Where i come from we are friendly but conservative. I mean its okay if you call a random person, say a shopkeeper, brother or sister (bhaiya or didi) but greeting random strangers isn't common.

 

Suprise 2: Traffic rules are followed of their own accord. People would stop at red light even if there wasn't anyone coming from any side! I don't think i need to say what's it like in my city.

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I've had several cultural shocks throughout my travels.

 

The biggest was being treated like some sort of goddess in Vietnam because I'm rather heavy. Strange people would come up to me and rub my hands and shoulders. One old woman rubbed both her hands on me and then rubbed them on her grandson. She kept doing that till my guide explained that she was trying to take some of my 'luck' and give it to her grandson. Was a bit disturbing because the old lady wasn't too gentle in her manners. Her hands were pretty callous and they shafed quite a bit. So I did the only thing I thought I could do without offending her and I picked up the child and held him to me. She went ballistic. My guide told me that she would probably praise me for the rest of her life now. Apparently by doing what I did I had voluntarily given my 'luck' to her grandson.

(if my current size is any indication I doubt the kid had much more luck than he started out with sadly.... :unsure: )

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My culture shock is so...............tiny in comparison to every one else here.lol It was when i graduated 8th grade. I was a student in a tiny Roman Catholic School in a very tight knit neighborhood in Buffalo. . I went to school with basically the same people in my class for 12 years. There would be SOME variation here and there of new students (maybe 2 a year) who would be gone the next or when one of my regular classmates moved away. So 12 years of the same 15-20 faces of my class mates, same teachers all 12 years. Same Principal and staff. Some teachers came and went but I think you get my point. 12 years of sameness in a tiny tiny catholic school. Then, Highschool. Sweet Jebus. For the first few weeks I was completely lost. I didn't know any of these people! No idea where to go or how to conduct myself! Was completely terrified. 

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I went to Mexico when I was very young.  The crushing poverty was an eye opener.

 

I was shocked by this when I went to Israel:

 

b82bcc47-a9cf-4093-bf7a-b0e16931c977_zps

 

I'm in California.  I can't even look into Nevada, but there I could stand on a hill in Israel and see Damascus.

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I used to drive back east to Ohio with my parents and I guess I became aware of the differences between modern America and Amish country about the time I turned 13.  For a while, I thought it was the neatest thing but the more I was exposed to it, the more I realized it was completely inaccessible to me and gradually became less of a curiosity.

 

I have a hard time dealing with other sub or countercultures, which is a little odd because, as a teenager and a twenty-something loser, I spent a lot of time slumming around some really exotic nightclubs and locales, so I'm not a complete stranger to these things.  Point in case, I drove a college friend down to a hippy farm a few years ago and I've always felt awkward in that environment and I know what the issue is.  I feel like they're smooshy and I'm all hard corners.  The whole thing was a weird trip, to be sure, but I tried my best to be a good guest.

 

Driving through Texas border towns was rough.  My high school Spanish failed me miserably.

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Things not to do while in another country:

(I haven't checked these on accuracy, but thought it would be funny to share as they might cause quite a bit of a shock if you don't know some of these)

 

source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/how-to-insult-people-around-the-world-366203

 

While in Iraq the act of throwing your shoes at someone is a sign of contempt. In other countries there are many weird and wonderful ways to cast an insult to those who you dislike.

Here's Mirror.co.uk's guide on how not to make friends around the world.

1. If you are handed a business card in Japan you can cause maximum offence by throwing it down on your desk or stuffing it in your back pocket as the exchange of business card here is meant to be a well thought out practice.

 

2. In the Philippines a curled beckoning forefinger isn’t used to summon someone over but rather to call them a dog. But the insult is punishable by arrest and even breaking the finger that committed the offense so use with caution.

 

3. In India and Africa where people use their hands to eat, it is considered an insult to use your left hand as this is thought to be ‘unclean’ and used only for a related function which follows several hours later.

 

4 .In Scandinavia to show distaste keep your chin down during a bottoms-up because it is understood as highly offensive to look down at your feet while drinking a toast.

 

5. If you blow your nose into a hankerchief in Japan you’ll insult those around you because the Japanese word for snot literally means ‘nose shit’ and the idea of carrying this around all day is thought to be digusting.

 

6. To insult someone in Korea you simply have to smile because smiling at a stranger is thought to be very rude and a clear indication that you believe them to be stupid.

 

7. While the thumb and forefinger forming the letter ‘O’ is a western sign for OK in Russia it is understood to be an insult with sexual connotations. This could come in handy if you need to show your unhappiness with the service in a Russian hotel when on holiday.

 

8. In Buddhist countries the most offensive thing somone can do is pat a person on the head as the head is thought to be the seat of the soul.

 

9. In Argentina it is considered an insult if you turn up for a dinner date on time because this is thought to be a sign of greed rather than politeness. To keep everyone happy you should turn up a little late but if you want to make a point get there early and tuck-in.

 

10.In North America you're sure to cause an uproar if you mistake an American for a Canadian or vice versa as both neighbours are very senstive about this confusion.

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Can probably think of many better ones but this came to mind:

 

I had a culture shock when I saw a child in a pub in the UK for the first time. It was actually one of the department's professor's kids (actually, both husband and wife work in our department) and they were both there with the kid. I was pretty surprised and fairly certain I asked someone about it ha ha. But that's about it, just kinda accepted it as another one of those UK things :wink: Seen it several times now, with even younger children. It's an interesting one. Don't have to be 18 to be in a pub. Very different from bars back home!

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5. If you blow your nose into a hankerchief in Japan you’ll insult those around you because the Japanese word for snot literally means ‘nose shit’ and the idea of carrying this around all day is thought to be digusting.

 

 

True Story:

 

The sun goddess Amaterasu was a tear from one eye, the moon god Tsuki-yomi a tear from the other.

 

The Shinto god of the Storms and Seas, Susano-o was thought to have been born when the got Izanagi (the creator god) blew his nose after visiting his dead wife in the underworld.

 

And Susano-o is kind of a spoiled, rotten booger of a god too. Prone to temper tantrums and flinging poo all over the place when he's mad.

 

(Sorry to insult Susano-o and any Shinto in the room)

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I got quite the shock moving from a teeny tiny town in South Carolina to San Diego, California.  

 

Just the sheer quantity of people.  The weather difference.  The food.  Everything's different.  I miss home, but there are many things to like out here!

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Have you ever felt culture shock?

 

Oh, yes.  lol

When?

 

There are two instances I'm thinking of.

 

I moved to Baton Rouge to attend a grad program at LSU.  For a while, it wasn't that big of a change, and then...the first at home football game.  Parking was terrible, and even way in the back of that gigantic campus, I still heard the loud, drunken reveling.  I got brave once and attended one of the games.  That stadium is bigger than it looks, and it looks pretty big.  lol  The tailgating culture...yes, it is a culture, strikes me as unusual.  People wear costumes, have crawfish boils, make gumbo...it's nuts!  lol

 

Then, there was when I took a vacation to Argentina.  Even though I speak Spanish, there are so many variations and dialects, I didn't quite not what to expect.  The people in Buenos Aires were a little easier to understand than the people in El Calafate.  lol  There were two things that I found just...unusual.  

 

I went to Buenos Aires, because I was going to an anime convention for research on a thesis...(didn't pan out, long story, but anyway) it was held in a public high school.  I...just...I wasn't expecting it.  At all.  I have a pic somewhere of an anime poster for the convention next to a picture of the Virgin Mary.  Anime conventions in the US are held in hotels or convention centers.  The thought of holding one in a SCHOOL is just so outlandish.  lol

 

I think the other thing was the traffic in Buenos Aires.  The roads weren't reversed or anything, but the traffic was AWFUL.  People just kind of made up their own lanes and only bothered to honk when they were INCHES away from an accident.

 

How did you handle it?

 

At LSU, I mostly hung out in my apartment, but when I went to the game, I just kind of followed the throngs of people ahead of me.  The tailgaters were pretty interesting to watch, though.

 

At the convention, it was pretty easy to just let the shock wear off.  It was just like any other convention in the US, but outside and in a school gym.  lol

 

Luckily, I didn't have to drive when I went to Buenos Aires.  That first car ride to the hotel was pretty stressful, though, because I wasn't expecting EVERYONE to drive so insanely.  After that, I just had to detach myself when we had to drive somewhere

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