Taking the giant leap to travel across half the world to experience and live in a world that you expect to be so significantly different is a daunting task. Especially when all the stereotypes and expectations are met. The process of changing cultures many people classify as a culture shock. In fact, when we moved to Japan in grade 6 we got gifted a game called “Culture shock” it explored the differences we would experience and how we could prepare for them. Not going to lie, an interesting concept for a game and indeed could be very effective, but I was in grade 6 and couldn’t care less. I never really realized what was going to happen as I was moving. The fact that I left my whole culture + friends behind I never really realized.
It’s actually surprising how many similarities I could find in these cultures.
Of course here I could say that we all wear the same brands of shoes, pants and shirts. We use the same technology and listen to similar music. But it goes deeper then that. For example, I found a significance in Shintoism and Christianity. In Germany I grew up in a Christian house, we went to church often and my sister an I would often help out around church. When we came here we also spent a weekend in a Shinto shrine, here we got to try out praying, eating & living under Shintoism. As a young boy I don’t think i really understood what it meant to believe in a religion so I saw the similarities. A group of people sitting together to pray for something better, it provides us comfort and hope. In most religions that people believe in it allows them to have something to look up to and find a answer to their unanswered questions. I never really understood the rationale behind believing in something that you have never witnessed but I can see why some people find it gratifying to know something is out there for them, if it is or if it isn’t is not a debate that I have an answer for but out of this we learn that no matter what the culture we are all still humans and we want to feel good about ourselves and will do what it takes to motivate us or at least try.
This Idea of a similarity extends globally. Living in an international school we get to see many peoples friends and how they live around the globe and it turns out all through our beliefs are all shaped differently and our goals are different our actions are all the same. I love the idea of being globally engaged and discovering more about how we interact with each other and how our cultures have influenced us.