Different countries of the world have different cultures. In light of this, there may be discrepancies in the way we interpret our interaction with the person from another culture. Sometimes it may be difficult to understand or accept another culture which is different from one’s own culture.
In my three years of living in America, I have had experiences based on the difference between the Korean and American culture – these are in the area of non-verbal communication and appointment culture.
However, I have also noticed that the structure of the educational system is similar. First of all, nonverbal communication is so much different between two countries. According to reading, “Where Do We Stand” Lisa Davis, mentioned that all countries have different nonverbal communications and personal space. Because of these, there may be misunderstandings and misinterpretations. One of the differences between the American and Korean culture is greeting. Americans greet by putting up a handshake and saying “hi” to anyone, both young and old.
Koreans do that only to friends or someone who are younger than people who greet. If it is someone older, we greet by bowing head. Moreover, one other mode of greeting is kissing each other. It is really different culture from Korea. We never kiss anyone except close family members. I still find it hard to adapt to this mode of greeting. The simple communication mistakes we make at one time or the other upset the Americans. This may not be deliberate but due to the communication gap.
Secondly, keeping an appointment is an indispensable condition even between friends in America. According to reading “Friends and Strangers” Margaret K. (Omar) Nydell, she talked about some differences of cultures and if she wants to meet another person, she needs to have a one week grace period. To me, this is strange. When I just came to America, I did not know about cultural differences. The first person I met was American-Chinese, we later became close friends. There was a times I was in bad mood. I called her so that I can talk to her.
However, told me that she did not want to talk to me because she was having her personal time and asked me to meet the following day or two days after. I thought she just did not want to meet me and did not think it could be impolite to someone else. In Korea, we usually never make an appointment with friends. Whenever the need arises, a call is made and if the other party is available to meet. Even some of my friends just come to my home without any call. Making an appointment is one of courtesies in America.
Although both cultures are sometimes poles apart, there are still some similarities between both cultures. A similarity can be found in the educational system of both countries. I believe that all countries have the same passion about education. America students prefer attending a good school and study hard. They also like people who are well educated. Even if there are many differences between other countries, Korea and America, when I study with others, we forget everything about differences and study with the same passion.
It helps connect us to each other even if we come from very different countries. In conclusion, I have had so many experiences and realize that there are differences between other cultures. This I have come to realize since coming to this country three years ago. It is really hard to understand each other across cultures, and sometimes it there is still a communication gap between my friends and I. However, we are can understand each other if we all make an effort. We should try to accept the differences and then we could be closer to each other.