Cultural differences in the classroom

  Experiencing my first class at Portland State University was a cultural shock. Since I had grown up in Korea, I had to adjust to American college life. I noticed that U.S. students felt free toward their class and teacher because I saw students who ate their lunch at their desk or wherever convenient and expressed their thinking freely. When I first saw such behavior, I thought that they were rude. But, I realized that I was wrong because their manners were just part of American college life.

  In Korea, a teacher-student relationship is more formal. For example, we don’t call an instructor by name but we use a specific term, “Gyo-Su Nim”, which is combined with the title of the job and the honorific title. We bow to teachers to say hello. We cannot ask questions during a lecture or bring food in class because we consider that is disrespectful.

  Each culture has its features or characteristics that make it unique and distinct from others. The most important point is that wherever you go, you should have the mentality that all cultures may be different from your own and be ready to accept what makes them special. Therefore, when you experience other cultures, you would better to learn and understand their culture without bias.

  Have you ever experienced that you judge American culture based on your cultural background? How did you acclimate to American culture?





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