European and U.S. Culture Concept Paper # 2 My trip to Europe was an eye opening experience. It awakened my senses to so many different aspects of life I had not already been introduced to. It was almost like watching a movie, from the minute I stepped of the plane everything was different. When I think about the trip and what experiences I had many sociological concepts come to mind, such as, Culture shock, ethnocentrism, culture, social locators, cultural transmission, norms, language, and subculture. It seems being placed directly in the middle of something that is so different made it easier to pick out the different concepts.
When I first got off the plane I immediately experienced so many different emotions. People were talking all around me. But they all sounded so different. Instead of what I was used to, American accents mixed in with the occasional foreign accent. I was now the foreigner.
I never before had experienced anything different than I had been taught; now I got to see with my own eyes what a world there is out side of the United States. I had never experienced culture shock before, or for that matter ever really understood it. When I was in France I noticed how different I was treated by the people there. The majority of people I met were polite because they were friends with the people I was staying with. But the people I met just out and about was rude.
Even when I tried my best to talk to them in their language was ignored on some occasions and some just chose not to try to communicate. Once when I was in the post office trying to mail a package home I asked the Man in French is he understood English and in English he replied no. Thought that was interesting that he answered me in a language that he didnt understand. France more than any country displayed ethnocentrism. They definitely left me with the impression that they did not like Americans in their country.
In each country I experience a different variety of culture. In general though some things were the same. The Police were called Peace officers and they carried Billie clubs instead of guns. Their television programs are not censored. There is an open awareness about things.
The Television Programs would show anything complete nudity, sex between heterosexual and gays, and they had no commercials. In Amsterdam prostitution is regular profession were taxes are paid to the government. The Europeans have a more laid back attitude toward life. Throughout history social locators have been used to place people in different classes. To this day the Europeans still have a lower class a middle class and royalty. The highest level you could achieve would be the King and Queen.
Then you have lords, dukes and duchesses and so on down the line. In England the e Queen is a very important day of everyday life. The practice of passing on from generation to generation the royal thrones has been around for hundreds of years. Cultural transmission occurs in all countries whether it is passed on from parent to child or from the King to the prince. The ability to carry on a culture relies on the ability to carry on tradition. The norms of society seem a little different than those in the states.
People seem more casual around each other. Upon greeting and saying good bye to some one, they give a kiss on each cheek. I noticed the concept of personal space people did not take much notice of. People got real close, sometimes a little to close for comfort. There is an incredible difference in the variations of languages that I heard throughout my travels. Beginning in England some of the accents I heard was so thick I couldnt understand them. Different words were used o replaces words that Americans use.
For example the called knickers pants, and pants were called underwear. While in France and in Holland it was very hard to communicate with people. Everything sounded so different. In Holland there were those few people who made the effort and even though we couldnt understand verbally what each other was saying we were able to communicate well enough to understand each other. In Switzerland my friend took me to a couple bars that were unlike anything I had ever seen before.
These places were actually called squats something our government would never allow in the states. A group of artist all with different skills got permission from the government to live communally together in a warehouse. The people set up different things in side these squats to support themselves. Some of them had restaurants, bars. And even one had an Internet caf.
You could drink and smoke marijuana without worrying about the police bothering you. These people exist in their own little world with their own laws and norms to follow. These People had their very own sub culture. Deciding to take my trip to Europe was one of e best things I could have ever done for myself. Everyone should b lucky enough to get the opportunity to do the same. Now armed with the information about just the ginning of what is to be found out there in the world, I can find whom I am going to be and in which direction I wan to go.
I realized that the States are just not as marvelous as we are told they are. The US such a small part of the entire world. There is so much going on around different foods religions languages culture, lifestyles,.