Monday, October 19, 2009

Customs

It can be intriguing to study in a cross-cultural environment. When I was doing my TESOL training, the most interesting part of the day was lunchtime. In the classroom, the students of different cultures had learned the rules. But once they got out their different assortments of food and began to eat, diversity was present once more.

Here are a few general observations I've made at the university here:

-Chinese students knock on closed doors, even to enter a classroom. Argentinians knock even on open doors, when entering a room occupied by other people. Americans knock on the doors of toilet stalls, changing rooms, or any room where a private meeting might be going on that they are interrupting. Russians....try the door handle?

-Only Russians use the cloakroom at the university. Everyone else is either really cold or doesn't know about this service.

-Whoever is in the majority talks the loudest. Not only Americans, but Chinese do this, yelling across a hallway to each other, even when speakers of other languages are present. But I can also testify to Russians doing this...for example, in an airport waiting room, when traveling in a group.

-No one seems particularly concerned about punctuality. :) Maybe the sleepy student mentality takes precedence over culture...

Addendum:
-When Russian words fail, the Argentinian and Polish priests speak Latin to each other. :)

3 comments:

  1. "-Only Russians use the cloakroom at the university. Everyone else is either really cold or doesn't know about this service." So true! I've lived here for many, many years now but have yet to see another foreigner (except for myself, но я уже окончательно обрусела, так что не считаюсь) using the cloakroom. It is strange when you think about it. I'm glad that you also noticed it! Good luck with your studies :)

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  2. There were actually a few more coats in the cloakroom today. I like the idea of a cloakroom, but I hate having to put everything down to take my coat off. I don't have enough hands. It makes more sense to walk into the classroom, dump everything, and then hang up my coat nearby.

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  3. I love your observations; they are always so interesting!

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