Enculturation of an immigrant
Language barrier, one would think, is the hardest thing for an immigrant to adopt in order to become a member of one’s new life. Correct usage of grammar and slang, and the ability to use it as your own, without first translating it in your head. So one goes to school, and learns the words, and how to form sentences so as to be able to communicate and not feel like a complete outsider. Yet you still don’t feel as though you fit in. In the following couple of paragraphs I’d like to discuss the most obvious to me differences in cultural norms between Ukraine and U.S., that, I as an immigrant observed. The most obvious thing was the smiling. In Ukraine it is taught, it is a part of its culture, to interpret smiling as a sign of foolishness. It is how fools are conveyed in art, books and films. People of intellect do not smile without a reason; if you are amused and it isn’t because you read or was told something funny then you must be ‘empty-headed’. People who are learned are weighed by serious thought and therefore do not smile. People who are working class, and are upstanding members of society in order to be perceived as such do not smile, and especially do not smile at strangers. In the United States you are taught to smile when making new friends, greeting a potential employer, or just saying hello to a friend. The other thing I noticed is that people are friendlier. I understand New York is not known for this, and maybe I should say Brooklyn, but I think it’s more of an American Culture, like smiling. Most people are more polite in their tone, they are friendly and social. In Ukraine people keep more to themselves. Though I don’t fully understand this friendliness yet, people in Ukraine are this nice with their actual friends; here people may be nice, polite and friendly but it is somehow not real. This is made especially obvious in food stores...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document