Sample English Essay Paper on Cultural Differences

Cultural Differences

Confucius once said “All people are the same. It’s only their habits that are so different.” To a significant degree, this statement is very true. For instance, most of the actions, whether communicating through language or caring for the young ones, these actions are shared across different communities and ethnic groups. Thus, it is the culture of people that make people different in terms of what we do things, relate, and feel.

Wherever they go, people are people. For instance, we connect with people living in different regions by just sharing with their experiences and beliefs. In spite of their culture, people need to sleep and all need to sleep (Livermore, 88). Thus, people are wired to survive, irrespective of the cultural background or personality, in the midst of disaster and tragedy. This means that people withstand the impossible via an innate desire to survive and sustain life. Sex drive, hunger, emotions, the desire to care for children are all common traits shared by people across different cultures. Although there might be some exceptional people who do not share some of these human traits, the way people live in terms of beliefs are all shared and guided by the different socio-cultural backgrounds. Nonetheless, there are some underlying understandings and behaviors that people share with the rest of people (humanity) across the borders in the present, past or the future. Moreover, from a theological perspective, people are the same under the image of God (Livermore, 88). People are people in the way they live in the cyclical phenomenon. For example, as humans, people have a way of enduring with conflict, sickness, aging, and advancement. All people have cultures that have shared beliefs and assumptions that bind people together.

In the article “Polite but Thirsty” by Yaping Tang has provided a description the experience of the culture shock she and other Chinese students experienced when they moved to the United States. Tang (36) explained that they were confronted with new values, codes, and behaviors which were totally different from their Chinese culture. The experiences of Tang align with the definition of culture that every group has shared beliefs, values, and assumptions that define their way of lives. In the article, Tang (37) has focused on the cross-cultural differences that exist between China and the U.S. She adds that people are same it is the habits that to differentiate us, and for this reason, people should not be quick to pass judgment on either culture. Instead, people are expected to share some light with regards to the new behaviors and habits in order to avoid difficulties in adjusting or misunderstanding each other. One of the habits that has been explored in the article is the use of first names in the U.S is formal is regarded as a formal and respectful way of addressing a person. However, this is totally different for the Chinese students and according to Tang (38), it made them uncomfortable because the use of first name is only reserved for close friends and family in China. In the same line of thought, modesty and directness are perceived differently in the two cultures. Moreover, Americans usually state and share their needs to others and accept all the compliments accorded to them, the Chinese on the other hand do not share their needs openly and often reject any form of praise, so as to show a bit of respect. Dealing with cultural shock because of external differences like climate, food, language, and mannerisms, as well as communication is embarrassing and it is the only thing that makes people different (Tang 3).

Even though people are people, in the article “Friends and Strangers” Margaret K. (Omar) Nydell explains the differences in culture between Arabs and Americans concerning a friend and a stranger. For instance, in the Arabian culture, it is normal to visit friends for anytime and stay as long as one feels like. Nonetheless, that is referred to as entering or invading personal life or privacy in the American culture. Thus, the privacy culture is highly valued among the Americans compared to Arabs. However, just like the Arabs, Americans enjoy the company of friends, but they never allow them to invade their personal life (Nydell 42). This kind of difference shows how cultural differences have shaped the way people interact in the society and associate with each other based on the cultural beliefs and shared assumptions. In addition, Arabs demand respect from people and care about their feelings, and also expect loyalty from friends. However, Americans do not demand equal feelings or demand respect, they belief that respect is earned and so is friendship. For example, the Arab American was quoted saying that “in the United States you can have more personal space; I guess is about the best way to put it” (Nydell 43). The implication made is that in spite of people being the same, cultural aspects life personal space and individualism.

 In the article, “Time Talks, with an Accent’, Robert Levine has explored the contrast that exist across cultural boundaries, thus causing contrasts in the idea of time. According to Levine (27), in the concept of social time, there are elements of rushing, waiting, late, or being early  as it is in the present, past, and the future. People in the society are born the same, but it is through culture that they change. For instance, culture is not innate but learned through socialization in the society. With regard to the article, Levine discovered that in order to manage his time, he had to learn such aspect and integrate it in his life. Moreover, he discovered the concept of the amanha that suggests that everything that need to be postponed must be (Levine 28). The difference in observing time is one way in which the difference in culture can be explored. For example, Levine (29) observes that while in the city of Niteroi, the students did not observe time, and were casual about it which was totally different to the way the Americans relate to time. During his stay in Brazil, Levine experienced a number of mishaps with amanha. For example, after he arranged for a meeting with his department chair about the issue, rather than arriving on time, she arrived for the appointment late. In his conclusion, Levine (32) observed that understanding time concepts can be classified as one of the elements of cultural values.  Thus, people are indifferent to the value of time because time as a part of cultural values, reflects the diverse beliefs and values that in most cases results to intercultural misunderstanding and conflicts. Unlike the Americans, the Brazilians did not have the concept of lateness or early.

Work Cited

Levine, Robert.  “Time Talks with an Accent”.  New Directions.  Ed.  Peter S. Gardner.  2nd Edition.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 27-32.

Livermore, David A. Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your Cq to Engage Our Multicultural World. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2009. Print.

Nydell, Margaret K. (Omar). “Friends and Stranger.” New Directions.  Ed.  Peter S. Gardner.  2nd Edition.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 43-48. Print.

Tang, Yaping. “Polite butThirsty.” New Directions.  Ed.  Peter S. Gardner.  2nd Edition.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 36-40.  Print.