Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Culture Shock: An Animated Example

When I first started this blog, the purpose was to help people were living abroad as either expats or exchange students deal with the effects of culture shock. But now four years later, I see so much more potential in the realm of actual cultural exchange. The world is even more connected than it was just four years ago in so many more intricate ways. So I decided to augment the theme to my writings and posts to include how important it is to step out of your own comfort zone and your own cultural "bubble". It is one of the most fulfilling experiences you could ever hope to have, because it validates you as not just an American or a Brit or an Australian, but as an individual representative of the human race at large.

But still, it's important to keep with the original theme at least once in a while. So I decided to dig up this little gem for your amusement. It was the winner of Atom Films' 2008 awards for the category of "Best Secondary Animation". It's pretty funny in a Ren & Stimpy kind of way, and it really illustrates how one can feel the first time they step out of their "box"


I would love to hear from some of you who have traveled abroad for extended periods of time or maybe are even currently living in a foreign country now. What made you decide to get out of your comfort zone and completely change your environment? And how did it feel when you finally settled in and came to the realization that you could do this? 

41 comments:

UncommissionedArt said...

I love this blog, I plan on studying abroad very soon and am looking forward to really getting that culture shock.

Aaron M. Gipson said...

Well this blog loves you too! Have you decided yet where you would like to study?

rinns said...

That was a really great short film. But I haven't had the opportunity to leave the country, and I don't know what it feels like to be "out of my box"

Banacek said...

Unfortunately I've only traveled within North America so I've never experienced any profound culture shock.

Thanks for the kind words and comments on my blog yesterday.

Aaron M. Gipson said...

I can't it recommended enough, Banacek! I think it's an experience that everybody needs to have at least once.

And as far as the kind words on your blog, they were more than well deserved. I think you have an incredibly unique niche in that niche is probably best represented by you right now.

For anybody who hasn't had the chance yet, you really need to check out my friend Banacek's blog which is an homage to the best "bad" movies out there! You can find anything from 70s grind house to early 80s Hong Kong masterpieces reviewed and summarized by very knowledgeable author. The title is "Beasts in Human Skin" and it can be found here...

http://www.one3onelords.blogspot.com/

But be forewarned, you'll end up spending a lot of time here!

Aaron M. Gipson said...

@rinns:

I think that you will probably have the opportunity coming here really soon. Your fiancé and future husband probably misses the great burgers of his childhood!

Jung said...

Never experienced it, Korea is too much like US

Aaron M. Gipson said...

Jung, I thought the same about here too. I've been to Mexico several times (never for more than a week...I think) and I thought it couldn't be that different. I was just a bit wrong...

I've never been to Korea though, but judging from the cuteness of the girls there, I bet it's an alright place to be!

Robert Fünf said...

I've traveled to many of the states, but unfortunately, have never had the opportunity to leave the US. I'd love to do so though.

Questions said...

This is shocking.

Mike Yang said...

Funny, but unexpectedly disturbing -- I kept thinking about rape towards the end...

Aaron M. Gipson said...

LOL, yeah Mike, I kinda thought that too, which is why yellow toaster man definitely deserved what he got.

Aaron M. Gipson said...

It's never too late Robert! And we have plenty of room down here for ya!

Astronomy Pirate said...

I have a passport and everything, I have intended to leave the country several times for trips. These trips just always never happen or fall apart at the last minute. I'm thinking if I go somewhere, I'll start of easy with Europe. I've had lots of friends go there tell me that its absolutely wonderful.

Aaron M. Gipson said...

I have it on good authority that driving through Britain is an even better road trip than anything you could find in the States. Flights aren't that expensive nowadays either, and going someplace where everyone already speaks the language (except maybe Pikeys) would be a good way to acclimate yourself to new surroundings.

mac-and-me said...

I worked for a few months in the UAE and that gave me a pretty big culture shock.

Aaron M. Gipson said...

I've never been to the Middle East myself, but I have heard that it can be one of the most challenging to assimilate into for someone who wasn't born there. For one thing, in alot of the countries, everything stops multiple times per day for prayers. Than can be a bit disconcerting for visitors who must wonder what it is THEY are supposed to be doing when that happens.

-DO- said...

Due to the war in yugosalvia, my family and i were forced to move to another country (austria in that case).

Right now we still live in Austria but everytime i'm visiting Bosnia it gives me so much to think. Bosnia had 3 big wars in the last 100 years and still the people there are happier and full full of the joys of life than here in Austria.

But when i return to the "box" it lets me forget that money alone can't make you happy.

Aaron M. Gipson said...

I am very relieved to hear such exuberance and love of country from a native Bosnian. That part of Europe went through such a difficult time not long ago, that I often wondered about the regular people from there.

In high school, I was friends with both a Croatian and a Serbian. This was around 1991, so the tensions hadn't flared up quite so badly yet. But these two girls (who had never met before coming to the US) were the absolute best of friends. It showed me firsthand the warmth of the Yugoslavian people, and that impression has stayed with me ever since.

But you bring up another point as well. How the pursuit of money has clouded the vision of so many in the "richer" countries that it's getting to the point where it almost seems like a bit of humanity is being lost as well. I know this to be the case in my native Unites States. It's one of the biggest reasons I left...

Shutterbug said...

I haven't seen that animated short before. I like it. :)

Rachel Neilson said...

I did a semester of school in Spain back in grade 10. it was so amazing.

Chris said...

I feel Americans, in general, are under-exposed to the diversity in cultures worldwide. I strongly encourage everyone to step out of their comfort zone and travel to somewhere you never dream of. You only live once.

Life Hacks said...

Can't wait to travel.

Alex DeLarge said...

traveling really changes your perspective on the world...

Aaron M. Gipson said...

Holy crap, Rachel! How did you get to do that? I think the best thing I ever got to do in the 10th grade was to sing OUTSIDE of Disney World. And the sad part is, I only lived a few miles away from the place...

So do you remember all the Spanish?

Aaron M. Gipson said...

Well said, Chris! It's way too easy for Americans to get sucked into their televisions and satisfy themselves with living vicariously through fictional characters. Too little of us know that beyond the front door is stranger stuff than what CSI or American Idol has to offer...

Aaron M. Gipson said...

Yeah, I laughed my butt off when I saw it last night Shutterbug.

Aaron M. Gipson said...

Lifehacks, you sent your message at exactly 4:20....mayhap you WERE traveling?

I was...

Aaron M. Gipson said...

That it does Alex, and hopefully for the better.

ed said...

never stepped outside of the u.s. in my life, i definitely would do it if i had the time and money

Aaron M. Gipson said...

Ed, one of the easiest and cheapest ways to do so is to become a teacher abroad. The process for certification is alot easier than you think AND they flit the bill for everything from your travel expenses to your living arrangements and salary. If you're ever curious, these guys have alot of good resources in that regard...

http://www.teachabroad.com/

Josh said...

I've never lived anywhere for an extended period. But my girlfriend and I try to spend 4-6weeks traveling a year. For me it's a need to stretch my perspective, and introduce myself to new cultures.

This summer will be Mongolia and China.

Korkut Üneli said...

lovely!

The Critic said...

Great video

Alphabeta said...

Went abroad to study. Great experience.

baxxman said...

Nice video. Have been to China and know that feeling
Baxxmans

Merlyy said...

Nice discussion here.

clique said...

that video was disturbing.

Patti D. said...

I've been living in the UK for a while, but I had family here, so I guess it was not such a shot to leave from Canada, but still.

Dootzkie said...

One thing that I noticed when ever and where ever I traveled is that people don't give tips even if the service is great. In my country that is normal.

You wouldn't believe the looks i got for giving a good waiter some extra cash.

Spike said...

really really nice post. i want to go traveling now, but no money for that