Essay on Figuring Foreigners Out, A Practical Guide

Essay on Figuring Foreigners Out, A Practical Guide

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Before I begin contrasting my home culture to the host culture at Friends of Refugees, I must explain some social norms of my culture. As I previously stated, I come from a mostly typical American family and display at least five of the norms presented in Craig Storti’s book, Figuring Foreigners Out, A Practical Guide. One norm discussed is Individualism, where identity is found in oneself (Storti, 1999). I experience individualism through the choices I am presented in daily life and through the expectations of others, particularly my family and school. For example, my parents did expect me to go to college, but they imposed little influence on the major I selected, that decision was mine alone. Apart from college, my parents, like most other American parents, gave me full control over my wardrobe and appearance, trusting me to plan well for myself. The choices I make on a day-to-day basis are individualistic because I scarcely adhere to the wants and needs of others around me. My behavior stems less from rude behavior, but rather from a lack of expected interaction from my community. For example, I can leave my house and dorm room, unaccompanied, whenever I please. My parents do wish for me to not leave the house after 1AM, but even that is a flexible request.
The second norm is Universalism, where everyone is held by the same absolutes, like law and reason, regardless of a person’s relational ties (Storti, 1999). I observe Universalism through expectations presented by school, church, and the US Government. Attending public school gave me many examples of Universalism styled thinking, for example, standardized testing is founded on the concept that every student can take a multiple-choice test. Also, public school claims tha...


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...an example of Polychronism at Church on Sunday. Even after our group arrived late, people kept coming in long after the sermon started. Some Refugees seeking help at Cafe Clarkston also arrived past the Cafe’s start time, though I suspect that some were late because of work. Cafe Clarkston was holding a seminar of sorts on that day, lead by a partner company. Though times for the seminar were posted in advance, I saw several people walk in late, as well as a few that decided to attend on a whim. During our second house visit, family members arrived at their home at random times throughout the evening, but unlike my family, the host family did not seem to mind the late arrivals. Also, I saw a couple mothers drop their children off late at the daycare. Additionally, some mothers stayed and talked with one another instead of heading off to their class when it started.

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