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How You Are Product of Your Culture? in What Ways Does Culture Influence Who You Are and How You Behave at Work And/or at Home?

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Post-Assignment – Mirjam Visser

How you are product of your culture (in what ways does culture influence who you are and how you behave at work and/or at home)?

I have been born in a western country, in the Netherlands. In every country there are different cultures. For example at home I have learned certain values, learnt basic elements of thinking, habits, behavior and beliefs. In school I learnt the ‘Dutch’ culture. In school you learn how to behave in a certain society. For example we are direct, open minded, 9 to 5 attitude and independent. But at home you have your own rules. Parents can choose what kind of rules they use or not. My parents were very easily/loose with the rules, because they thought I am wise enough to make my own decisions. And they think it’s normal to make sometimes mistakes, that’s the way you can learn.

So everybody who goes to school in the Netherlands knows the ‘etiquette’ of the Dutch society. They know how to behave. Most of the people do it, because if you do not do it, you will stand out, and that’s not ‘our’ culture. So mostly everybody including me is a product of culture, because from the part you were born till now, you learn how to behave and if you behave badly you will get punished. Most people wants to be rewarded and not be punished. So everybody behaves like they have learned.

Culture Influence me at work for example threw unwritten rules. For example be on time, be sociable with colleagues, friendly and 9 to 5 attitude (in the Netherlands it’s normal to work (office job) eight hours and go home). I also see Culture influences at home, we are eating with breakfast and lunch bread or milk with cornflakes and eat dinner at six o’clock. That are the typical Dutch meals and times to eat.

So even if you don’t think you are a product of your culture, you are. Maybe you gained some different habits, values or beliefs during your life, but you will always be influenced by the culture from where you live. You do not bring your piano with you to the supermarket and dance on it, because you learned not to do.

Your Cross-culture experience and how you dealt with it

I had some Cross-culture experience when I was very young. I have a couple of friends who are originally not from the Netherlands. For example my best friend is from China. If they eat they talk and eat at the same time or they eat and shew very loud with open mouth. I was not used to that in the beginning, because I have been always told that I should eat with closed mouth. Another thing I noticed is that they were so extreme patient, they could wait for more than an hour for me, and I am used to not let people wait. I always felt so guilty toward my friend.

I also have a Moroccan friend, she married last year and we were invited at her wedding. I was so stunned that the couple was sitting in ‘thrones’ the whole night and hold hands and didn’t get very emotional towards each other (for example share a kiss). In our culture it’s normal to show more affection at a wedding or in a relationship. Another cross cultural difference with this culture(Islam) was when I was 12. I wanted to play with the girl, but she needed to iron the blouse for her brother first. I was so shocked by that, because he was like ten years older than she was, and he was doing nothing and we wanted to play outside. I said it to her, but she ‘ssshhtt’ me, because she needs to do what her brother asked her. This is a normal behavior in the Moroccan Culture, because men(or boys) are allowed to do more then woman(girls). And the woman are listening to what the men are telling them.


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