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Different Worlds within the US!

Written By: jaime_lambert on December 3, 2007 1 Comment

My family and I lived in the Suburbs of New York City until I was 16, when we moved to California. Even though these are two states in the same nation, I noticed many examples of the culture differences that you’d see from one country to another. I think that part of the reason that New Yorkers are “rude” is that the rest of the US has so many arbitrary politeness rituals. For example, on my first day of high school in California- I must have shouldered into 20 other students on my way to class. I didn’t think anything about it, because my old school had narrow hallways and there was no way to walk from room to room without being physically stuck to the person next to you. I found out later in the first week that people had been talking about my impoliteness. I’m still not friends with those people who I bumped into, although I’m pretty sure now that I know who they are. The politeness cues in CA don’t mean anything to people from New York. They should post signs around schools, or hold an induction ceremony where you learn that kind of stuff! It’s very difficult to keep up with, and very embarrasing!

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One Response to “Different Worlds within the US!”

  1. kriszti on: 14 December 2007 at 11:50 am

    I am from Hungary and I also had my portion of the ”culture shock” when I came here. I think I can make the (oversimplified) statement that Europeans in general just pay much more attention to formalities. It was strange that I was able to call my professors Larry or Sara in my community college, instead of Mr. Green or Mrs. Pierce. As a matter of fact, they all gave me a hug, along with our superintendent when I left to transfer here!(:o) /Ok, I need to add that our community college up in the Sierra Nevada was one of the smallest in CA!/
    It was also a weird experience of the first week that this guy basically bumped into me in the library doorway, because it didn’t cross his mind that I’m the ”lady” and he is the ”gentleman”, and as such, he is supposed to let me go ahead at the entrance. I still can’t get used to the fact that many people snivel or sniffle, instead of blowing their nose; back home it is considered awefully rude and even the teacher would send you out to the bathroom to do so. And of course, it never occurred to me that blowing my nose loud in the classroom would be the rude thing to do… Oh, and I remember, it straight blew my mind away that you can eat and drink in class, in front of the teacher! (:o))
    So, it’s funny how many major differences are in the ways people do the most common, everyday things. It would be very beneficial for students, who go on a study abroad program, to participate in a short ”workshop” where the local uniqueness and distinctiveness of the host country would be introduced (for example, by us, foreign students, from that specific country). It would prevent many embarrassing situations! (:o)))

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