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Culture Shock

December 3, 2015


The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence
– Rabindranath Tagore




Moving country also means moving culture. When people move abroad, they often get culture shock. At first people are often surprised by a new and different culture. I got a quick lesson in American culture when I came here from Korea four years ago. The things that surprised me most were the differences in the way students respect their teachers, their friends, and the environment.

The first thing that surprised me was that students call their teachers by their first names. I thought they would call them Teacher instead of by their first names. Now I am used to calling teachers by their first names and I feel comfortable with it.


The second thing that surprised me was that when I made my children lunch in Korea I knew that they would share it with their friends so I made it varied and added extra helpings. But in America I quickly learned that because many students have allergies, they don’t usually share their food.

The third thing that surprised me was how the school used so many disposable things here in America. Cups, plates, and utensils are thrown away after one use. When Korean schools provide lunch, they choose reusable tableware. Using disposable items is very convenient but we should try to reduce waste for the sake of the environment.


The biggest difference between life in America and life in Korea is that people in Korea work hard on focusing on harmony in relationships. This is true both for all of society. Even though there are differences in the way people respect their elders, their friends, and the environment in each country, each way works well.


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