Tuesday, May 16, 2017
This past unit, we've explored American culture. Specifically, we have focused on cultural values. We've examined how you might be affected by American cultural values and how you might want to make changes or fight against certain values that your culture promotes. Though we may not notice it, living in the United States or anywhere else for that matter has a huge impact on who you are and what you promote. In class we examined a text called "The Values Americans Live By' by Kohl. Some values he talks about are time and its control, competition, individualism, and work. These four values I feel are very specific to the United States, and many other countries have values that are completely opposite from ours. For example, Americans value individualism. Independence is seen as a good thing and a positive quality to have, versus in other countries they value group welfare, working together, and dependence. Another value we have that differs from many different countries is time and its control. In America, being late is seen as a bad thing. People don't stop to talk to each other, because time is so crucial. In other counties, people value living in the moment and human interaction, and being 20 minutes late for work because you were in the middle of a conversation is not punishable. To relate American culture to my own life, I personally have fallen into the American trap of being materialistic. I value material things, such as a new iPhone, clothes, technology, and other things. In countries other than America, their values more fall along the lines of spiritualism and detachment. The material things don't matter as much to them, which I believe in return can lead you to a happier life. We also looked at a source called "Bemused in America" by Stefan Schirmer. He's a journalist from Munich, and he examined the differences between values in America versus where he's from. The things that are completely normal to us he thought we're weird, such as jogging in the morning, going to the supermarket, television, and more. Seeing people jogging in your neighborhood is completely normal for someone who lives here, but he was surprised. All in all, this unit I have realized how different each countries cultures and values are, especially America, and the influence that it has on your day to day life.