Blog Entry #2 – Cross-Cultural Misconceptions

Having moved around between three different countries (Thailand, Malaysia, and the United States), I can totally sympathize with the Price's shock as they arrive in the Congo. 

The cross-cultural experience that I want to talk extensively about is my time in Malaysia. Having grown up in New York, I was very familiar and conditioned to American culture. My family moved to Malaysia in December 2010 and I was completely ignorant as to what "Malaysia" was. Upon moving there, I was shocked by two things.

Firstly, I was bemused by the accent and the grammar the locals used when they spoke. I assumed that they were very bad at English and were speaking like that because they didn't know any better. This was my first mistake. It was because of my assumptions and pre-existing conceptions. However, upon living there for sometime, I learned that it was just a local way of speaking, and I soon found myself speaking in that way – adapting to the culture very seamlessly. 

Secondly, having grown up in New York were most people mind their own business and are fairly to-the-point, I found it eye-opening as to how nice Malaysians were. I found it very weird when someone asked how your day was going or when they greeted you in public. When you were in someone's way, they would politely say "excuse me". In New York, that would never happen, and most people would be brutally honest with how they felt.

One of the most important things I learned was to always approach a country with an open mind, and not carry stereotypes or expectations with you, otherwise you will have a fairly challenging time to adapt.