How "culturally fluent" do you consider yourself?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 29, 2010 12:53 PM GMT
    I don't mean just in terms of your ability to speak another language, here. I am talking about not only your ability to function in another culture and be sensitive to as many layers of it as possible (e.g., gender, generation, geography, status, race, and the periphery), but also your ability to comfortably jump back and forth between two or more different cultures without losing or forgetting too much in the transition.
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    Apr 29, 2010 2:52 PM GMT
    I've become quite adapt at it....

    Most it takes is just a little effort to realize your not at home. Most people are so used to people constantly broadcasting that this isn't the way things are done where there from they are happy for someone to genuinely try to adapt and be flexible.

    I also become a lot more observant and try and put my self in the mindset of the people around me.

    One of my favorite places in the world is london heathrow... It's like the meeting place of the whole world all with a common goal. It makes me instantly feel connected to the world and that I'm not defined by anything other than myself


    EMO day here icon_twisted.gif
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Apr 29, 2010 2:55 PM GMT
    it usually takes a me a year whenever i live somewhere to be able to jump into the culture... there's a great essay on the matter in vilem flusser's discussion of heimat
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Apr 29, 2010 2:56 PM GMT
    I wouldn't say I'm adept, I'm not well traveled. But the times I've been in England I've done my best to use the correct slang and follow customs, even when it seems weird, like not tipping bartenders.
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    Apr 29, 2010 2:59 PM GMT
    Timberoo saidI wouldn't say I'm adept, I'm not well traveled. But the times I've been in England I've done my best to use the correct slang and follow customs, even when it seems weird, like not tipping bartenders.


    bartenders won´t mind, but you already paid twice what you´d pay in the USA for the drink, and you don´t get refills
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    Apr 29, 2010 3:10 PM GMT
    SAHEM62896 saidI don't mean just in terms of your ability to speak another language, here. I am talking about not only your ability to function in another culture and be sensitive to as many layers of it as possible (e.g., gender, generation, geography, status, race, and the periphery), but also your ability to comfortably jump back and forth between two or more different cultures without losing or forgetting too much in the transition.

    ummm... not entirely sure what you mean, dear SAHEM. I do think I tend to be a chameleon, thanks to the US Army sending me everywhere, in the US and outside it. One of my private mottos is "Thrive where you are planted" because I have been planted in so many different places, often not of my own choosing, and had to thrive there or perish. You'd be surprised how resourceful & flexible we can be when our options are limited.

    As a result I've acquired the ability to enjoy almost every place I find myself. But in answer to your question, neither do I forget or lose anything. Instead I share, with those who are open, like a bee spreading pollen. If you are closed, fine, but I both blend & bring.

    So I hope I'm very culturally fluent, at home wherever I go, and still learning even at my age, as I continue to encounter new cultures. And I incorporate it all, still more American than anything, but also being my own version of an American. And that, after all, is what I always thought America was all about.
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    Apr 29, 2010 3:17 PM GMT
    i'm terrible at it.

    the way i see it, it's a little like musical improv. i'm not a jazzer and never have been, but i improvise...so when i play a jazz gig, i bring what i have to the party and it turns it into something else entirely...not completely jazz, not completely rock and roll, and not completely classical...but something new.

    when i walk into a foreign culture as a product of late 20th century middle america, i feel like my experience of that culture (if i don't try to "adapt") becomes something new...and as a result, not only do i see people differently, but perhaps others see their own cultures differently.

    i mean no disrespect to the host, on the contrary, i enter into that culture with all humility...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 29, 2010 3:18 PM GMT
    not much at all, when I enter a culturally different place I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb, get stared down and want no part of it! Happens to me a lot except places where different people are not so different
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    Apr 29, 2010 3:22 PM GMT
    Cultural understanding is an evolving thing. My experience of it is that it changes all of the time. I have lived through periods when my empathy with my host culture has changed ten times through the course of a day.

    Wherever I am I make a total effort to understand the culture. That includes living or just traveling. That is really the great gift of living as a cultural traveller.

    After nearly ten years of living in Europe I go through periods where I find the experience very disorienting. Sometimes I long for home in the worst way. Then I always seem to come back to the realization that home never stays the same. It is just impossible to find it where you left it.

    With that in mind I live like a turtle, I take my home wherever I go.

  • kew1

    Posts: 1595

    Apr 29, 2010 6:16 PM GMT
    MsclDrew saidI've become quite adapt at it....


    One of my favorite places in the world is london heathrow... It's like the meeting place of the whole world all with a common goal.


    EMO day here icon_twisted.gif


    Yes, to escape.icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 29, 2010 6:54 PM GMT
    I'm still learning...only been in Miami for five years.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 29, 2010 8:34 PM GMT
    very good at it. having lived in different parts of the globe and travelled extensively, i adapt quite easily
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    Apr 29, 2010 8:37 PM GMT
    I grew up in Miami/Fort Lauderdale and lived there over 30 years. I've lived in Honolulu for over 4 years. I've also traveled significantly inside and outside the United States and North America for business and pleasure.

    Miami/Fort Lauderdale is culturally diverse and was a great way to learn that there were diverse cultures. However, it was still an environment that was overwhelmingly steeped in "Mainland U.S." culture.

    Living in Honolulu has been one of the most challenging business and social environments that I have experienced in my life. Hawaii is the crossroads of East, West, and Polynesia. It is a genetic and multicultural amalgam that is simultaneously bonded and polarized. It's been the closest thing I've experienced to living in a foreign country, without living expat. Hawaii is still very clearly part of the United States in it's culture, just not the "Mainland United States".

    I've found that having an open, learning attitude towards a new culture usually helps to acclimatize to a new culture as I learn the norms, customs, and other dimensions of culture. I make a concerted effort to learn and "fit in".

    I discard any attitude of "they need to do things my way" or "that's not the way we do things were I'm from". That's the quickest way to alienate yourself from a culture.

  • JayDT

    Posts: 390

    Apr 29, 2010 10:10 PM GMT
    I was raised my whole life on the cusp/border of so many convergeant cultures that it's scary to me to be surrounded by just one. If you don't believe me, check my profile.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Apr 29, 2010 10:38 PM GMT
    Spending most of my formative years in NYC
    I loved seeing and experiencing different cultures
    I also Love travel
    The more removed from the western mundane culture the better
    History
    Cuisine
    Language
    Song
    You name it
    Yo hablo
    Ich Sprache
    Io Parlo

    and I look forward to experiencing many more
    plus foreign men are Hot Hot Hot icon_cool.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 29, 2010 10:49 PM GMT
    I'm quite good at it. In some of the cultures/countries I've visited or lived in, I feel more relaxed and more myself than I do in my own American society. There's a certain warmth I relate to in other countries that is difficult to find here in the States.

    I hope everyone has a chance to travel not only to see the sights but also to experience people in other countries (developed or not) who often really do have a better quality of life and are generally happier.

    It good to incorporate those good things into your self so when life in the good ol' USA gets ridiculous, you have something to fill in the blanks.


    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”
    Mark Twain

    “The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.”
    Shirley MacLaine

    Without travel "I would have wound up a little ignorant white Southern female, which was not my idea of a good life." -- Lauren Hutton

    For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
    By Robert Louis Stevenson








  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 30, 2010 12:28 AM GMT
    Between my ethnic culture and american culture, i kinda do it pretty seamlessly. Between an unfamiliar culture and my ethnic of american culture, i'm a blathering idiot.
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    Apr 30, 2010 12:41 AM GMT
    I used to work a regional role in my former job, which got me to many countries in the Asia Pacific, where my role was to work with the local sales force and their clients. I was considered one of the more culturally-sensitive and versatile people from HQ, and so most of the locals were happy to have me on board.

    I also spent seven years in London as a student, and was made conscious of the impact of colloquial usage of English and the impact of accents on understanding. As such, I use a very non-accented form of English when I speak with foreigners, to help them understand better.

    I think it is important to be sensitive and respectful, and be mindful that some cultures developed very separately and may have different ways of expressing things.