My Life in a Nutshell
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Nowadays people do not care about knowing their culture. Individuals are learning and ascribing to their cultures through socialization, whether directly or indirectly. Essentially, the world is becoming more localized, more so with the globalization phenomenon developing rapidly. For that reason, people are crossing borders, seeking for better education, living conditions, occupational activities and so on. In the book “Society: the Basic”, John Macionis has highlighted the key points to this very notion, touching on culture and socialization, social interactions, stratification and class, and social change among many other components. In this paper, I will delve into my personal life experience as an Indian who moved to the United States - a different environment, location and social-cultural setting.
It is important to understand the aforementioned characteristics within a culture. Definitely, a society compounds the daily lives and interactions between individuals who share the same culture or the same time boundaries. That being the case, the definition may have a new meaning in recent times, where sharing information through penetration of technological facilitators underlines the statement of a borderless globe (Stolley, 2005).
Individuals are impacted by socialization and society. There are no doubts that socialization and society play a crucial part in people’s lives. Through the interactions in my new culture, I have acquired new worldviews, which are solely influenced by various factors in this particular society. In general, people change in accordance with their surroundings.
Culture, as we know it, forms the basis of behavior for people. In that regard, society perceives one human social event from an interchange. As an Indian living in America, a couple of concerns come to play. At the top of this societal constituent are values and norms. The former translates to the defined thoughts about what is vital within that society, whereas the second are rules and expectations hat are expected to govern the cultural environment. My experiences as a foreigner may be quite challenging, precisely because the values and norms I am used to changed drastically within the American setting, which is a melting pot of diverse cultures, open to different religions, cultures, rights and freedoms. Further, what becomes more challenging with the United States is that beyond my foreign establishment, other cross-cultures co-exist here, namely African Americans, European Americans, Latino Americans and so on.
Simply put, the main challenge for me in this new culture has been culture shock, which is quite understandable, as a result of the different social-cultural orientations. Coming from a close-knit society, it has become more apparent to me that keeping an open mind is the best option. Obviously, I tried to imagine what another person would have to put up with in case of visiting or relocation to my country. At the same time, the overwhelming freedoms in my new environment have more or less influenced me in making future decisions. For example, here, freedom is explained on different capacities, including how to live the life and what is right for me, as long as it does not tamper with that of another person or is unlawful. Conclusively, I can say that there are many issues that take time to adjust and adapt to, other than feeling culturally misunderstood and emotionally affected.
Social interactions in our everyday life have also affected the way we are influenced and influence others as well. As such, these exchanges do not happen in a vacuum; there must be an action between individuals, which is brought about by their behavior of the other, whether deliberate or not overt or hidden and heavily affecting the psychological outcomes (Turner, 2008). For any society to work economically, politically or even social-culturally, there must be some form of interaction, which is in turn guided by roles and responsibilities. A role facilitates a responsibility and ultimately shapes our personalities and social interactions. The biggest hurdle, however, is when all these facetts conflict. It can be quite difficult to choose to wear revealing clothes to a dinner party, in a culture that does not allow it. That way, you will be uncomfortable and, therefore, not able to normally interact. For that reason, all social interactions must be managed to guarantee a balance. Language barrier was another problem I had because it was hard for me to understand others very well. At times, I thought I was fluent until I had to use English nearly in all of my interactions.
Sexuality and relationships are also differently perceived in America, as compared to India. For instance, according to my culture, the institution of marriage is viewed as unifying between two families and not necessarily two individuals in the US. In a bid to fulfill dreams and expectations of the family, the parents are more likely to arrange a partner for their child by accessing a couple of variables, including financial capacities and other characteristics, such as career (Turner, 2003). Evidently, the US is a capitalistic society, which mostly allows people to make their decisions, regardless of their race, gender and other related issues. The overriding factor is that the Asian culture seems more collectivist in issues that deal with marriage and, therefore, affects the whole family. Much like the African culture that considers marriages as a collective responsibility. More importantly, parents in the US strive to respect the decisions made by their children at the expense of not interfering with their matters.
Similarly, there is a dividing wall between the social stratification systems which differ on all levels. In line with what has been discussed, it should be said that the Indian societal system is closed, while that of the United States is open. A closed system cages an individual to the social environment he or she was born in, which means that he or she cannot move into another social class or ladder. On the other hand, an open system, as the name suggest, is unwrapped to social quality of moving freely across hierarchies through various variables, such as education and hard work.
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