Thursday, April 10, 2014
Host Country Cultural Background
When studying abroad in another country, the most important issue everyone must regard is the host country cultural background, way of life, and costumes. Not every country is the same as the United States; although we have the "American" way of life, that does not mean that every other nation has the same ideals as we do. Not only that but every aspect of life is also very much in contrast as to Americas.
For starters countries may have different laws that may conflict with the way a foreigner would act in his or her own country. For example in Australia, it is an offense to tip waiters at many of the restaurants in Australia, a custom and social norm for us in America's society. Another precaution is to not offend the peoples culture. Before coming to Australia I always heard about "Kangaroo Burgers." My first impression was that's gross, and that eating a Kangaroo should be animal abuse, however my dad always had a saying, "How can you say something is nasty if you've never tried before."So gave it a try and, for the most part it wasn't that bad at all. I also learned that Kangaroo here in Australia are kind of like deer are in the United States; there are so many of them that its permitted to hunt and/or farm Kangaroos for food sources.
Although adjusting to the hosts nations way of life is not at all hard, it can be tricky. for instance the cars and traffic in Australia. Unlike in America where we usually drive with the steering wheel on the left side of a vehicle, in Australia the wheel is on the right. As for the traffic, Australians drive on the opposite side of the street; so picture your self driving, then flip the lanes to opposite sides. They also have "turn-tables"(which I find annoying and unnecessary) and its against the law to make u-turns. I had a very stressful time with this for the first few weeks, however everyday I'm growing used to it.
Because I grew up in a household where I was told to respect everyone's cultures and ways of life, I really don't have much of an issue living in Australia, personally I find it really fun. However I don't speak for every American, as many American can be ignorant of other countries social norms, which gives the American people a very bad name and reputation. My best recommendation for future study abroad participants is to do some research on their host nation, that way when they arrive they can catch up and not do something stupid, as seen in the past in some unfortunate cases.