first off, sorry this is late, I was hit with the flu pretty hard and I am just now able to actually move from my bed.
I was substitute teaching at my high school this past week and I had the privilege of teaching english to three columbian students who had come to my school to play soccer in hopes of going to college. So I asked them what had surprised them about American culture. They talked about the modernization of everything and the technology as well as the way people acted and behaved. They were surprised with how friendly and open the people of my school were, but most interestingly how much they relied on their cell phones.
If I was hosting an exchange student..especially someone who had never been to the US, I would discuss the importance of individuality. I feel that America really allows for creativity and for uniqueness that some cultures do not have. I also feel that in my own ethnos as a southerner we have strong ties to food and friendship and faith. How nomos are important, and in the south especially, most names relate to previous relatives, names in the Bible, or southern gents and belles of fiction and fantasy. Because we name children and pets after things we cherish. Mythos are the stories we cherish, like the tales of great grandfathers fighting in wars, that get passed from generation to generation. I would describe how in my own family we value our family dinners and time spent together. We cherish such archons as the family christmas card, that we hang on a wall that has one for each year. And techne, the amount of time that we spend on our cell phones and computers. We value instant communication.
As we read about in the last unit, knowledge and learning go hand in hand with reading and understanding. I feel that America places a lot of value into education, especially higher education. Granted there are a good amount of Americans whom are uneducated, but at least in my culture and the cultural group I identify with, education is extremely important. Also in my culture, family legacy is important. This past summer I was presented as a debutante of North Carolina. While that sounds stuck up and snotty, anyone who knows me knows I am nothing like that. It is just something that my family has been doing for generations (my mom, and great aunt were debutantes.) This also shows how southern families value family traditions. To the left is a picture of my cousin and I as debutantes with my very southern grandmother.
Another thing we value in the south that goes hand in hand with high education, is football. As evidenced by the picture I posted in the previous blog, I love Clemson football with all my heart. Even after heartbreaking losses, I will remain a loyal fan.
I think that it would only be through experiences that I could fully explain America, and namely southern culture, to an outsider. But I agree with the "Cross Cultural experience and the other" video when it says that sometimes our mentalities shield us from seeing ourselves as the outsider. That is definitely something I will carry with me to France. 10 days until I leave!!