Looking at yourself through others’ eyes

29 04 2012

One of the most interesting thing I have realized while being an alien in the US is how my culture or other similar cultures are viewed and how history is interpreted differently depending on the point of view of the host culture.

It is interesting to find how others see your culture and how their and your perceptions change with knowledge and exposure to others. You are so used to your culture and your language and when you hear how other’s see it, you might start looking at yourself differently.

I was at a business geography talk and the speaker started talking about colonization and how it has influenced the colonized countries and their history, it was a very interesting see that point of view as to why things are the way they are. I never thought how this such old history could still affect the cultures of those colonized.

I was hearing a professor explain the cultural aspects of certain quirks in my language that got me thinking. He was explaining some expressions and how they are used and people could not understand why. He explained how those expressions where influence by religion and how this is so different in the US also because of religion. This got me thinking about how we take things for granted and don’t realize where they come from and how history and religion affect what we do and even the way we talk.

I was explaining to some friends that asked me what language was easier to learn, I said English is easy as a language, because is very practical and logical. Romance languages are more complex because they have more verb tenses and the intent or desire can be expressed in the tense that you use. The romance languages are easier to pronounce because they are consistent; English is less consistent regarding pronunciation and that is why English speakers focus so much in spelling. Some times you can’t figure out the spelling from hearing people speak. They had never thought about that and started to realize why people here tend to be more direct than other cultures, the language itself is more direct.

What have you discovered from your culture or your language that you did not know before? Have meeting people from other cultures changed the way you view you own culture or yourself? Please, do share.

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