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Culture Shock: Personal View

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I read the section about culture shock. According to Ferris and Stein “Peter Berger describes want kind of a person becomes a sociologist: someone with a passionate interest in the world of human affairs, someone who is intense, curious, and daring in the pursuit of knowledge.”(12) This area of the book helps us endure a sense of sociological perspective. When thrown into unfamiliar environments/cultures as humans, we tend to become uncomfortable but learn to adapt. It helps to just sit back and take it all in. Things are foreign to us no matter if you are off on a deserted island or just in a different part of the city you are from. It’s time to let natural curiosity takeover. This is when one can really have a true understanding of what’s all around us. As an example, this section shares a story of a man named Lextrait, who moved to a remote island in 1992 and stayed for close to a decade. Only bringing limited food and supplies, and then lived off the land after just a few years. He had little to no contact with anyone except for the company of his dogs. Within the time spent away technology had expanded drastically. Lextrat experienced dramatic culture shock when returning back to civilization. Learning for the first time about the existence of cell phones blew his mind. This instance illustrates just one of many different examples of culture shock.
This section of the text struck my interested for the simple reason of how individuals react when put into unfamiliar circumstances and environments. The question is why individuals are so easy to judge? Why not take the time to understand the way people or communities do things? It’s unfortunate to see so many people not able or not willing to enjoy the luxury of experiencing what the world, and it’s cultures has to offer. Especially, when in all reality we essentially all want the same times out of life. Each culture may have their own way of structuring their way to production of living. As human beings we have the will to survive and for most it’s hard to adjust to change. May it be change in family, religion, food source, or even change in climate. We are all built to learn. So why not learn as much as we can from one another? Adopt traits to build your own sense of culture. Which I believe is never ending. The “shock” from it all should inspire to want to understand.
Here in the United States we live in communities that share a vas variety of culture. As a Sociologist this affects my life immensely and a number of ways. We are constantly given challenges. I believe challenges are made to overcome. It has been a bit of a struggle to understand and become comfortable with even the thought of coming back to school. Just sitting in a desk, in a class room, is foreign, and feels almost surreal to me. I can relate with Lextrait, when he said, “I was so lost. I came back with different eyes- I was a different person.” (13) I’ve been trying to get reacquainted with the idea of maintaining a schedule, and meeting new people. But at the same time, I’m ecstatic to have such positive influences in my life. I know I will learn so much from this environment and that the opportunities are endless. We are fortunate enough to have people attend college from all walks of life. One of my favorite things to do is to people watch, either at work, school, grocery store, or at the gym I frequent. Sometimes I like to grab some coffee, throw some headphones on and go for a walk to investigate my surroundings. It’s interesting to watch individuals as they interact in society. I remember watching a group of people meeting up for a bike ride to friends meeting up at your local bar for happy hour. Everyone had something they were doing before those events and something after. How did they get there? Not just that day, but how did they know/meet those individuals or groups. I feel a lot of the time we are ultimately products of our environment. Not necessarily forced into things, but most definitely influenced constantly by our peers, co-workers, advertisements, and so much more than most people realize. I have come to the realization that people never seize to amaze me. I believe it is pretty easy to find common interests in every single person we come across in life. Learn, build, and grow from one another.

Ferris, Kelly, and Stein, Jill. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology (Third Edition). New York City: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2012

Bibliography: Ferris, Kelly, and Stein, Jill. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology (Third Edition). New York City: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2012

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