The person I have chosen to write about is a young woman named Arooj. Arooj is a 20-year-old college student who just moved to the United States to study abroad. Arooj grew up in Germany, with her mother who is German, and a father who is American, but has lived in Germany for the past 25 years. Arooj and her family are not from a religious background and don’t have a good perception of God, the Bible, or Jesus Christ.
Arooj is excited about her journey here in the United States, as she has always enjoyed hearing stories from her father about his childhood in America.
I met Arooj at my previous place of employment. Arooj and I worked together in the two-year-old program at a daycare. While working together Arooj and I talked about our families and our background. It was evident from first meeting Arooj that we had very different backgrounds. Talking to Arooj, I enjoyed hearing about her childhood from Germany and the difference between living in the States vs. living in Germany.
FamilyFamily beliefs is a large part of every culture. Each culture has its own beliefs and values that they follow. The most commonly described family systems are kindship systems and nuclear family systems (Livermore, 2019) Kinship based family systems are blood relationships and solidarity within one’s family and clan are central. Nuclear family systems, often called affinal kinship is based on two generations groups who have come together and are related through marriage. Nuclear families can be found more in Western world.
Arooj and her family are a very tightknit family. She comes from a relatively large family from her mother’s side of the family. While Arooj doesn’t see much of her dad’s family,
Education is taught differently based on one’s culture. While each culture has its own way of teaching, the education being taught is either formal or informal education. Formal education is taught with books, schools, professional teachers. Informal is taught by a senior family member. Understanding ones cultural will help them understand their educational system and the approach they use. How the education in the United States is going to be different than the education that is taught in Chine or Japan. There are some cultures that are bit more stricture in what is taught compared to the United States.
The political systems are what helps keep each country in order to ensure that the citizens do not violate each other’s rights. The United States has a formal legal system that is governed by a written constitution and through local, state, and federal laws. Just as the United States has its own formal legal system, each country around the world follows their own rules and regulations when it comes to the law. Each country’s political system varies based on the country and city that it is governed by. For example, in the United States, woman are given freedom to do things such as drive, work, even get a degree, compared to a woman who lives in Iraq, where woman aren’t given much freedom. While some of the political systems throughout the world are a tad bit extreme, it is what works for that country.
Arooj and her family are not big on politics and don’t seem to get involved with the political systems that are current in her home country of Germany. For Arooj, having lived in Germany her entire life, and coming to the United States is a bit different from her as she is learning about the difference in legal systems here in the United States compared to Germany.
Religion is a huge part in one’s culture. For some religion can either be rational or mystical. The rational aspect of religion is the emphasis on finding reason-based scientific answers to the supernatural with a focus on individual responsibility and work ethic. Mystical religion is the emphasis on supernatural powers, both good and evil, that control day to day events and life. (Livermore, 2019) It is important to understand the religion of one’s culture because no two religions are going to be viewed the same. For example, a Christian is not going to believe the same concept of a Buddhist. What a Christian view positive could mean something negative to someone of a different religion. Having respect for one’s religion is essential to understanding the different culture systems there are.
Religion isn’t a big factor in Arooj family. Neither her mom or dad have a religious background to fully understand who God is and how important the coming of Jesus Christ is. Although Aroojs family is not religious, they are open to learning more about Christ.
There is a lot to learning about different cultures. I have discussed the importance of cultural system, and now I will talk about another aspect of cultures, which is cultural values. Cultural values what is emphasized most when teaching people about cross-cultural leadership. (Livermore, 2019) Cultural values are important because they build the repertoire that you will have on understanding ones cultural. There are ten types of cultural values, which I will discuss a few of them.
Individualism vs. Collectivism
Individualism and collectivism can be described as a difference in identity. When thinking of individualism, I think of my own thoughts, my own perspective of things. I am being able to use the free will I have to make a choice that is solely based on my views. However, collectivism focuses more on what will be best for the group and personal relationships.
Power distance is defined as the amount of distance that is expected between leaders and followers. (Livermore, 2019) Power distance is separated into two categories; low and high-power distance.
High power distance places an emphasis on the difference in status and decisions made my a superior. Take the military for example, the military falls under high power distance. There is a chain of commands in which military personally have to follow. Low power distance cultures tend socialize more with their leaders more and address them as their peers. According to (Livermore, 2019) Canada, Germany, Finland, Austria, and Isreal are described as some of the lowest power-distance cultures in the world.
Cooperative vs. Competitive
Throughout the different cultures there is going to be times of competitiveness along with cooperative. An example when thinking about culture, would be to compare it to a political debate. Think about the type of qualities that we would want our future candidate to have. Do we want a candidate that is aggressive or passive? Do you want a candidate that is religious or non-religious? Do you want a candidate that we can relate to or not? We can apply this same logic when we are talking about culture differences. Each culture is going to be different. No two cultures are going to be the same when it comes to their views.
In cooperative cultures, people are less likely to be praised individually for their accomplishments because cooperation with others is accepted as the most important goal. It’s generally thought that in cooperative societies, noteworthy achievements and successes are less the result of one person’s leadership or brilliance and more the result of a group of people working together. (Livermore, 2019) A culture that views things from a cooperative perspective places an emphasis more collaboration and nurturing their behavior to get results. A competitive culture is more focused on being first and getting ahead. Having a competitive nature can be a positive aspect when climbing the leadership ladder because you are forced to put your best work at display. As the saying goes, it’s a dog eat dog world and only the tough will survive.”
Short term vs. long term
In short-term orientation, people tend to look at what has happened in the recent past and base their decisions on what will lead them to quick results. Long-term orientation is most often associated with Confucian cultures, which includes Japan, Korea, and China. These cultures strongly value perseverance, a key aspect of the long-term time orientation, and “thrift” is highly valued. Long-term-oriented cultures have a higher savings rate among people and there are usually high national reserves. (Livermore, 2019) Regardless of if a culture is short term or long term, the goal is completing the task at hand.
Context: direct vs. indirect
The next cultural value explains one of the most prevalent forms of conflict that occurs on multicultural teams: direct versus indirect communication. Direct communicators are often frustrated by what they perceive as obtuse, unclear communication from their intercultural counterparts. And indirect communicators are offended by what sounds like a blunt, rude style from some Westerners. (Livermore, 2019) Context is one of the biggest differences between Western cultural and different cultures around the world. What we view in the Western culture as polite and respectable, can be viewed as disrespectful and rude in another culture. For example, eye contact in Western culture is viewed as a sign of respect, while eye contact in Asian culture is viewed as a sign of rudeness. It’s very important to make sure that when dealing with different cultures, we take the time to research different aspects of their culture.
In conclusion, it is important to understand the different types of cultures values and culture systems learning about a new culture. What works for one culture may not work for another culture. Arooj is learning all about this as she is here in the United States.
- BIBLIOGRAPHY Livermore, D. A. (2019). Leading with Culture Intelligence: The Real Secret to Success.
Cite this essay
Difference between living in the States vs. living in Germany. (2019, Dec 09). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/difference-between-living-in-the-states-vs-living-in-germany-essay