Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Understanding the People's History

One problem that arises when moving abroad is what to learn about another culture. Your home country leadership created the society in which you live. And you interact with it through school, politics, and business.

On the streets in NYC
The system of your host country isn't as transparent. When you study a foreign country, you study all the aspects that the country wants you to see. These values obscure the way the society functions.

If you study the development of the US national character in a foreign country you get a picture of a country which rejected British rule and promoted opportunity for social mobility. But, the class system that was rejected by the founding fathers is still present in the US. The American middle class and the union system that built it isn't transparent from American values. Reading Howard Zinn’s “The People's History of the United States,” you will get a different picture of America and Americans.

Gaining Insight into Your Host Culture

A good way to understand another countries values and institutions is to read PEST analysis. But, all the information that you encounter is important. The stories that are told to you by the locals are just as important as the values of a countries leadership.

Tip: When you feel frustrated or confused by another culture, believe that you are interpreting the situation correctly and don't fall for the trap that you are misunderstood or misunderstanding.

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