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American Culture: A Discussion of the Innate Qualities of Friendliness to Strangers - Essay Example

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Summary
Each and every nation has aspects of their culture that they are broadly known for. Oftentimes these stereotypes are completely false and other times there is some element of truth to them.For purposes of this brief analysis, this student will discuss the oftentimes cited adage of the fact that Americans are friendly to strangers; …
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American Culture: A Discussion of the Innate Qualities of Friendliness to Strangers

Download file to see previous pages... Firstly, when I arrived in the United States I was completely unprepared for what greeted me. For years I had heard and seen news about the high rate of violence and murder that existed within the United States. Moreover, when I told my friends and family that I would be coming to study in the United States, they expressed nothing short of alarm and began to advise me on all the ways that I could seek to protect myself from the dangerous foreigners that I was soon to interact with. Thankfully, many of these preconceived notions were entirely wrong.
When I first exited the aircraft and came to the customs and immigrations desk, I was not greeted by a sullen immigrations officer; rather, I was greeted with a smile and a genuine welcome. The individual at the desk put me at ease and allowed for my first true experience in the United States to be a pleasant one. This individual did not need to go out of his way in order to greet me and make me feel welcomed; however, he did nonetheless. The same can be said with regards to my experience of renting an apartment once I sought to move out from the dormitory. My English notwithstanding, the woman who was responsible for leasing the apartment was both kind and understanding and sought to make the experience as pleasurable and pain-free as possible. This too surprised me as I was the one who was seeking accommodations but it felt as if it was the woman who was going out of her way to be supportive of me and help me through this transition.
Naturally, seeking to provide examples of how welcoming strangers helped to ease my transition would be remiss if I did not discuss the ways in which fellow non-ESL students and professors alike sought to assist me through the varying levels of confusion and difficulty that I initially suffered. Such a large campus and such a litany of different resources made it difficult for a recent ESL student to take full advantage of the resources provided and use the campus to its full potential. Yet, even when seeking my way to the library, I had an individual approach me without me even asking and inquire as to whether I was lost or not. Naturally, I would at this point have been satisfied if an individual had responded to a request for directions; however, I was shocked that someone would be kind enough to inquire as to whether I was lost and needed assistance without me ever asking. Ultimately, my experience upon arriving in the United States was indicative of the entire time I have spent here. Of course, there are individuals that are prejudiced and do not wish to have individuals other than themselves in the society; however, the broad majority of people within the United States are not so prejudiced and are willing to extend a warm hand of friendship in order to assist a stranger (Aldrich 1012). Such an openness and level of hospitality does not exist in many other places around the globe and it is my understanding that the reason that it exists to such a degree within the United States is due to the fact that the entire nation was at some point “a stranger”. This multi-cultural mix of people has left the United States with a pervasive attitude that a sense of belonging and ownership of the land, the culture, or the customs belongs to no single person; rather, it belongs to all those that share it. In such a way, the friendliness and acceptance towards people who are different is an example of the very spirit of culture that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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