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CULTURE SHOCK! (of my Polish finance who visited the US)


Teffle 22 | 1,321
1 Dec 2010 #91
what do they have that Poland doesn't in terms of 'Westernness'?

Not much that is quantifiable to be honest. Just as I said, for me there is more that I find familiar culturally.

You could look at it the other way too I suppose - "western" Europe is a bit homogenised whilst poland is still "different"

: )
Seanus 15 | 19,706
1 Dec 2010 #92
But still, let's take bureaucracy as an example. Is German bureaucracy really that different from Polish bureaucracy? A German guy told me that it's far worse in his country than in Poland.
convex 20 | 3,978
1 Dec 2010 #93
No, the only difference is in Germany you can make appointments...
Softsong 5 | 495
1 Dec 2010 #94
I have yet to go to Germany, (will do so in April).....but I've been to Poland three times. This last summer I had to go to the town hall in Rypin and the regional archives in Włocławek and I found every one organized and helpful. I did have a local Polish guide to help me communicate and so maybe that was a factor in my favor.

At the town hall, I had to show proof that I was related to the people born less than 100 years ago to get information. It is the same in New Jersey. At the regional archives, I had to order many church books and when they brought them out, visually scan them for family older than 100 years. There were lots of forms to fill out to facilitate the process, and then copies to be made. Truthfully, at closing time we had hundreds and hundreds of documents yet to copy. So we took what was done with us and then they mailed us the rest later.

After I submitted my proof that my family was from Rypin, I did have to come back to the town hall later in the afternoon to see if they located what I wanted, but the records were from 1919. During that time period there was a lot going on in Poland, including Spanish flu. I have not had to deal with other types of bureaucracy while in Poland, but nothing seemed out of the usual to me. And I grew up in NYC.

Oh wait, I did think of something. Every place where I made reservations, always seemed caught off guard that I had arrived. It almost seemed like reservations were meaningless.
grubas 12 | 1,390
1 Dec 2010 #95
Can anybody explain me this "culture shock" thing?I am Polish,live in the US for 6 years and have not been shocked once.Is there something wrong with me?What is so much different in the US than it is in Poland to make me shocked?Anybody cares to explain me why i should be SHOCKED?Sure, there are some little differences but a "culture shock"?
Teffle 22 | 1,321
1 Dec 2010 #96
SHOCKED

I wouldn't get too hung up on the word "shock".

Culture shock is just a phrase - not to be taken literally. It just refers to a sense of alienation/bewilderment etc caused by immersion in a different culture that's all, nothing too extreme usually - although potentially, it can be I suppose.
southern 75 | 7,096
1 Dec 2010 #97
I was shocked not to find any vodka in Poland.
grubas 12 | 1,390
1 Dec 2010 #98
Culture shock is just a phrase - not to be taken literally. It just refers to a sense of alienation/bewilderment etc caused by immersion in a different culture that's all, nothing too extreme usually - although potentially, it can be I suppose.

Well.the phrase implies that there are some drastic differences between cultures.Honestly, few times I was nicely or not surprised but never shocked and I don't think any intelligent and open minded person would be.
Softsong 5 | 495
1 Dec 2010 #99
Yes, Teffle is correct. It is a sociological phrase. There is culture shock to some extent when anyone goes to any country other than their own. Maybe not for vacation, but after a few weeks or more. It is nothing directed at Poland in particular.

Often people love their new place even better than home....but after a time they begin to miss home. Then sometimes when they go back home, they go through reverse culture shock.

I think it seems more serious to Grubas because of all the exclamation points used by OP.
resident grubas
1 Dec 2010 #100
Often people love their new place even better than home....but after a time they begin to miss home.

I am sorry but does it have to do with "culture shock"?Ok I would be shocked if I learned that Americans walk on their heads or lets say **** in the bedrooms and sleep in bathrooms or something like that.But the OP suggests I should be shocked about stop signs,carpet in the church and the AC in the car.

Then sometimes when they go back home, they go through reverse culture shock.

Ok,here I can agree that I am SHOCKED looking at the prices of stuff in Poland,but this is the only thing I can think about.

So,Softsong since you traveled to Poland can you tell me what shocked you there?Just a few examples so I can get a grip on this whole "culture shock".

It seems to me that the "culture shock" concept was created by some very little minded people who are shocked about everything a little bit different than what they are used to.
zetigrek
1 Dec 2010 #101
You could look at it the other way too I suppose - "western" Europe is a bit homogenised whilst poland is still "different"

I also wonder what Teffle means... because I don't consider people from "western europe" as culturally different (I mean too much different). The only cultural difference is that they are more polite as they don't have so many things to worry. Poles are more suspicious, less open to strangers. But might be shockingly gushy after few pints.

But I admit I met very little foreigners in my life and I know other countries mostly by television.
Teffle 22 | 1,321
1 Dec 2010 #102
You really don't get it Grubas.

Read post # 102 again.

It's just a phrase.
pgtx 30 | 3,156
1 Dec 2010 #103
I was shocked not to find any vodka in Poland.

don't lie, that's impossible...
Softsong 5 | 495
1 Dec 2010 #104
If you read post #100 you'll see that I was not very shocked while in Poland. But I have not attempted to live there. So who knows what surprises would be there for me.

I had a Polish boyfriend who did come to live with me for a year and he was "shocked" about ceiling fans, and AC in my car. But I live in a hot climate and everyone has AC in their cars. About ten years ago in Poland, probably few had AC in their cars, just as when I was living in NYC not as many people had AC either.

Shocked is a word that can mean something drastic, so I see your point.

The OP was excited by her boyfriend's reactions. She is expressive and used lots of exclamation points which made the phrase culture shock seem more shocking than the term implies.

And again, this term is used in regard to all countries. Not just Poland. There are people who are not shocked or surprised by anything. We are all different. It is not an insult....it is just a phrase.

I found Poland to be a great place.
Curtis_Jin 1 | 7
2 Dec 2010 #105
I don't like Poland.

People are cold and numb
Chicago Pollock 7 | 504
2 Dec 2010 #107
It seems to me that the "culture shock" concept was created by some very little minded people who are shocked about everything a little bit different than what they are used to.

You're using the word "shock" literally, the op was using the word figuratively.

But I admit I met very little foreigners in my life and I know other countries mostly by television.

Not the same. Television is bad reflection of society. Poland is centrally located, lots of opportunity for foreign travel.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
2 Dec 2010 #108
grubas wrote:

What is so much different in the US than it is in Poland to make me shocked?

you are lucky then. Flying from Poland to America is like stepping into a time machine and popping out into a world you never even knew existed. The two countries are so incredibly different that after flying America - Poland - America - Poland a few times, I started feeling like I had two completely different lives and that they were on totally seperate planets.
zetigrek
2 Dec 2010 #109
How about just flying Europe-America? I consider American culture to be completely wacky compereing with European. But it's what the tv show us ;)
convex 20 | 3,978
2 Dec 2010 #110
The two countries are so incredibly different that after flying America - Poland - America - Poland a few times, I started feeling like I had two completely different lives and that they were on totally seperate planets.

Are you being facetious? I suppose it's all relative. Poland doesn't seem a whole lot different than the US. Little things, but nothing that I would consider shocking.
zetigrek
2 Dec 2010 #111
USA is a big country. Maybe its all about what state you ywo come from? Someone from California can describe Poland as completely different world.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
2 Dec 2010 #112
convex wrote:

Are you being facetious?

I'm being completely honest.
convex 20 | 3,978
2 Dec 2010 #113
USA is a big country. Maybe its all about what state you ywo come from? Someone from California can describe Poland as completely different world.

From Oklahoma, but I've lived in a couple of different places.

I'm being completely honest.

Just out of curiosity, have you ever lived anywhere outside of Europe and North America? I'm not trying to take a dig at you or anything by the way, just wondering.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
2 Dec 2010 #114
convex wrote:

Just out of curiosity, have you ever lived anywhere outside of Europe and North America? I'm not trying to take a dig at you or anything by the way, just wondering.

never.

what does that have to do with comparing Poland to America? that's all we're comparing here.
convex 20 | 3,978
2 Dec 2010 #115
what does that have to do with comparing Poland to America? that's all we're comparing here.

Because when comparing places, it's usually relative to where you've been/lived at. Dunno, I I see Poland/US as having subtle differences. Water comes out of facets, you can buy coffee, there are roads, grocery stores, toilet paper, no street urchins/masses of beggars, no open sewers, etc.

The cultures are pretty much the same, same family structures. Men, women, and children have pretty much the same roles. The majority of values carry across the ocean.

Do you see as big of a difference between the US and Poland as say the US and the UK? Germany?
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
2 Dec 2010 #116
convex wrote:

Do you see as big of a difference between the US and Poland as say the US and the UK? Germany?

I'd say the difference between Germany and the USA is far less than Poland and the USA but then again, I've never lived in Germany so it's hard to say. Poland is the only European country I've lived in.
zetigrek
2 Dec 2010 #117
Convex you've puzzled me :) Could you give me some details about:

Water comes out of facets

?

you can buy coffee

in Poland you can't?

grocery stores, toilet paper

?

I'd say the difference between Germany and the USA is far less than Poland and the USA but then again,

it reminds m the story when an American went to Media Markt in Germany and found a lab in CDs with name "black music"... maybe you should check the life in Germany ;)
Teffle 22 | 1,321
2 Dec 2010 #118
That was Convex's point - you can in the US and you can in Poland. No major differences in that respect. The point he was making was that if e.g. you couldn't buy coffee in poland then that would be a notable difference.

Black music. Yeah, a bit of a stark term.

Although the term MOBO is in common enough use (music of black origin) so it's not maybe as bad as it sounds, just a bit blunt maybe.
convex 20 | 3,978
2 Dec 2010 #119
I'd say the difference between Germany and the USA is far less than Poland and the USA

That is interesting. Is it the relative poverty that throws you off (compared to say, the rest of Europe)? This may sound crude, but for me, seeing white people in relative poverty was something new for me. I mean, you see pockets of poverty in the countryside back in the states, but the first time I visited Poland (the countryside, of course..), it was a lot like visiting a Mexican village with people that look like me. A lot has changed since then, and the big financial and quality of life differences are getting smaller and smaller.

?

In quite a few places it doesn't :)

in Poland you can't?

In Poland I can, that's what I was trying to say. I don't see much of a difference.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
2 Dec 2010 #120
The main difference has got to be the whole communist thing and the reminisce of that.

Bloody Enion....


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