tiistai 11. lokakuuta 2011

BBF #7: Culture shock

Dear all, welcome to another episode of our exciting quest of understanding Finnish culture and people. Today’s topic in BeFriending Finland is culture shock and at what point it might hit you. If you enjoy this, be sure to check out parts #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 and #6 too!

Culture shock is what a traveler might experience when visiting cultures that differ that from home. Obviously. Of course every culture has its own things which might cause a “shock” reaction, even for the very well prepared foreigner.

It is what hits you after you stop marveling about all the new and exciting things: the snow, the quietness, the language, the silly, silent people…  It is after the "honeymoon" that you realize all the things that are just so different, and somehow WRONG, in the new environment.
 
It doesn’t necessarily have to be something bad to cause a shock reaction. Even things like kissing on the cheek might do it for, say, a Finn travelling in southern Europe. Even the smallest things might cause it.


Kuva: Alex Schweigert

When you need something from the store and they just don’t have it in their country… culture shock. When you act like you normally would at home and you just repeatedly get misunderstood… culture shock. When you try to get some thing done and nobody simply understands what you’re trying to say… culture shock.

The German girl I told you about earlier had a culture shock when she realized that our sausages taste like bread and the good ones are ridiculously expensive. I had culture shock when I visited Cyprus as a kid and saw all the stray dogs.  A friend of mine had a culture shock when she came across quite a few Parisians who were somewhat rude when they noticed that her French wasn’t any that good.

Coming to Finland isn’t any different. After some time here you will most probably experience a culture shock, at least to some extent. You will find the silent Finns extremely annoying. You will get frustrated with our quite selfish way of driving a car. At some point you just want to get home, when you meet a bunch of Finns and they act so very rudely, speak Finnish all the time and don’t open up easily.

But bear with it. Remember that eventually you’ll find a way to get a decent sausage. You’ll break in a Finn's personal space and get a true friend. You’ll learn how to throw a finger for a slow driver in the motorway. And you will find it comfortable to sit silent in a group.

After that point you will go back to marveling the exciting things. The snow, the language, the silly, silent people.

Have you experienced a culture shock? When was it? Did you get over it? How?

2 kommenttia:

  1. Cyprus... a stray dog stole my shoe...

    -Antti

    VastaaPoista

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