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Differences between Korean and American college - Essay Example

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Cross-cultural differences, though one might not notice, are very much present in a community such as a college, a place for the gathering of minds to learn and realize certain disciplines of our world. …
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Differences between Korean and American college
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Cross-cultural differences, though one might not notice, are very much present in a community such as a college, a place for the gathering of minds to learn and realize certain disciplines of our world. These differences can be subtle, as in the case of a student from one of the states in America and a student from a neighboring state in the same country. Differences however becomes amplified when a student from a far country, say South Korea, a place that has an entirely different geography and history, comes in contact with a student from the United States. However, whatever these differences are, it is important to remember that we are students and to encounter other cultures is part of the learning process that is distinct in college life. Thus, it is crucial to realize that while Korean culture gives premium on tradition and customs, American culture gives much more emphasis on the unique experiences that life has to offer.
For Koreans, college education is a tradition and thus it becomes one of the most important aspects of their lives. Korean parents will strive to get their children in the best universities possible and because of this Korean students have to perform extremely well in high school so they can get accepted in the colleges in Korea. Traditional meritocracy values where opportunities and advantages are based on ability and personal achievement instead of wealth or seniority have flourished in the consciousness of Koreans and this has given them incentive to work harder than the rest of their peers. Americans, on the other hand, may enter a college for the simple reason of experiencing the environment that a college provides. For this reason, American college students endeavor to be as outgoing as they can to make more acquaintances and friends and to naturally enjoy the time they spend in college. Many foreign exchange students in college would claim that everyone is easy to talk to isn’t as weird and restricted compared to other cultures. This is a more apprehensible claim when one is reminded of the history of America as a melting pot for many different cultures such as African culture, Chinese culture, and as I speak right now, Korean culture.
In a much wider picture, Koreans are fundamentalists and they are constantly reminded that college education is a fundamental part of life. Having that said, Koreans are guided by their own traditions and customs to attain a specific goal: education leads to greater skills; greater skills lead to progress; progress leads to the betterment of the community- the Korean community. And thus, a sense of collectivism is essential in fully understanding the cultural distinction of the Koreans. This would be no surprise to a person who knows that Korean lineage has its roots in the Sino-centric philosophy of the Chinese and a heightened belongingness to the state and the community. Americans in contrast have already accepted that there will always be differences between in the norms, values and beliefs of individuals or groups in society and hence there is no point in forcing all its citizens to reconcile their trivial differences. This point of view is supported by the dominance of the political ideology of liberalism in the United States, an idea that stresses progress through freedom of speech, religion and the right to own property. Individualism then is the vital in the outlook of Americans and their goals consists of modestly being themselves.
Cultural differences, one cannot deny, creates barriers between people but we can all learn a thing or two from other cultures. It is important however to start on common ground: We are all people who have our own diverse cultures, but more importantly, we are all students of life who seek, above everything else, to understand the world around us, and that includes other people who have different attitudes and goals from us. Read More
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