Russia to America Culture Shock Simple Essay Essay

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Being a stranger in a strange land: the feeling of culture shock is both exciting but also unnerving. Even knowing the English language or being familiar with American culture through film and television does not mean we will not encounter culture shock in other ways. The subtle mannerisms and gestures, facial expressions, and other types of nonverbal communication prove complicating even when we know the spoken language. The food and clothing styles will be different, as will the customs, rituals, and realities of daily life. As a Russian studying abroad in the United States, I have experienced many different levels of culture shock. These experiences have made me a stronger person, contributing to the value of my international education. While Russians and Americans share in common a strong sense of individuality and national pride, I have experienced culture shock in terms of communication, lifestyle, and customs.

One of the most salient features of culture shock upon arriving in the United States was related to the overall informality of communications. For example, in Russia, the style of communication varies considerably depending on the social context. Americans, on the other hand, tend to be informal no matter where they are. The lack of social hierarchies and barriers is probably what creates this major difference between the two cultures. Similarly, Americans speak to one another in similar ways whether in a one-on-one setting or in a large group. In Russia, context influences communication to a much larger degree. Although I knew English before I arrived, I did not expect to struggle reading other people in various social contexts.

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Now that I have been in America for a while, I understand the culture better but at first the nonverbal communication styles and lack of formality was surprising.

Another thing I found surprising and perhaps shocking is related to college life in America. For example, living in a dormitory was totally foreign to me. I was thrust into a new subculture on campus, and had to share my personal space with a roommate. Losing my privacy enhanced the overall sense of culture shock I was experiencing when first moving to the United States and attending college at NBPS. As I reflect on my experiences living in the dorm, I recognize that we can even experience culture shock in our own countries if our living arrangement suddenly changes. Also, being face to face with a roommate every day was annoying at first, but I have adjusted and my culture shock has faded. To overcome culture shock, I learned how to share my space.

Finally, food is a major source of culture shock for almost anyone. Growing up, I did not like Russian food. I was looking forward to moving to the United States to eat different types of food. Surprisingly, I found myself craving Russian food as soon as I arrived. I realized that food is a symbol of home, and that it was not so much the food I was craving as the comfort. This is the essence of culture shock: when our old routines are no longer….....

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