Every country has a different culture. It is the concept of what is acceptable within our society. It is the idea of what is wrong or right. Culture also gives us as a guide, taking us to the “right way” and helping us to make sense of things that surround us. There are many different cultures around the world. It is obviously known as the differences of lifestyle, language, race, religion, and so on. A lot of them are similar in specific ways, and others are just completely different.
I am a girl who grew up in Vietnam for nineteen years. I experienced a big culture shock when I first came to the US, even though things got better and I am more familiar with us culture, I am still experiencing culture shock. Everything here is different compared to where I come from. It is a big opportunity for me to explore the new world. I had to change myself in order to adapt to a new environment and learn about the differences between Vietnamese and American such as families, education, social, and so on.
My first challenge is the language. It is not easy to understand and communicate with people in a new environment and unfamiliar language. I am unfamiliar with the norms and behavior of a new culture. The American lifestyle is more open compared to the Vietnamese lifestyle. In my country, personal values are called morality since they reflect general expectations of any person in my society. Parents want to monitor their children’s moral value. They do not want them to be negatively influenced by media. With this in mind, they believe that family is the most important thing, and it is the first school for a child. Everyone in the family stays close together. It does not matter what age you are, you can live at home with your parents until you are ready to move out. On the other hand, American teenagers would like to move out when they are eighteen. Furthermore, you cannot have a job while you are attending high school. Parents will take care of all of our needs while we are living with them. It surprised me when I see my cousins move out and get a job when they are just 18 years old.
It is not like Vietnamese, citizens here have to pay tax for everything that we buy. Plus, the idea that women stay at home taking care of the kids does not exist anymore in America since our capitalistic society needs everyone to work in order to have a decent life.
Everyone does not see things in the same light. What I consider to be the norm may not be the same as what others perceive as the norm. The original standard for marriage in my country is monogamy. Leaving sexual immorality and adultery as reasons for divorce. My friends surprised me when we talk about married life. Most Vietnamese date in the same way as American, but with two main exceptions are premarital sex and cohabitation before marriage while American moving in together when they are dating.
The kids impressed me when they wave hands and say “Hi” to elders, otherwise Vietnamese slightly bowhead or round hands in front of the chest in order to show more respect. Moreover, younger people have to change their language, or behavior when interacting with older people since people believe that personal attitude and lifestyle shape their values. Also, many people shake hands with the opposite sex ordinarily, whereas, in Vietnam, physical contacts with the opposite sex is very limited.
Even though I faced a lot of difficulty adjusting I still love the culture of the US especially the diversity that is within the country, almost everyone is represented in America. The article “The I’m-Not-Ugly American” touched on the point of diversity in the US, it mentioned that one could see people wearing hijab and jilbab with people who wear tank tops and tight jeans side by side. That is the one thing that I love about living in America, people with different background and ethnicity coexist with each other.
In conclusion, each region has its own amazing culture and it can make people from others a little bit stunned even though, exploring them is an interesting job, which may bring everybody some fantastic experiences. Culture is a systematic way of thinking, reacting and feeling that is characteristic of a human group, which accounts for differences between cultures. If cultures are ingredients then America is a mixing pot, it allows all the cultures to mix together and become something beautiful.