I don’t think there is a soul who wouldn’t admit that Americans are privileged in the world. We’ve been a consistent superpower and everything we do, be it our approach to wars to what we buy, impacts the world we live. And more often then not we have little to no idea how much or how the rest of the world even views us.
When they draw you in for tourism what they don’t tell you is that you aren’t actually experiencing the country or area you are in. You’ll see the castles, the palaces, the museums, you’ll study the culture from an intellectual point of view, but you might not experience the awkwardness of being a true foreigner developing relationships with the locals.
When I got to Scotland I experienced more awkwardness in simply trying to get used to being in someone else’s house then I did culture shock. I had prepared myself mentally for it, but it never really came. Chalk this up to being in the “mother country” and maybe due to my studies in cultures and intercultural communication. Most likely there just isn’t enough difference to really feel it in the way that I might if I were going to say, Russia, or like my brother has done, China.
But what I have experienced most is the perspective of another westernized country. It has led me into conversations critiquing and analyzing the great ol’ US of A in a way that can only be done from across the pond. Of course they hold back at first. They never really know where I stand when they simply hear that I’m American. But upon conversation they start to feel comfortable enough to let you have it.
That’s why I decided to start this “mini series” in my own blog. I had toyed around with multiple ideas on conveying some of the things I’ve experienced in this capacity, but this method seems to make the most sense, seeing how there is only one month left of my extended vaca.
Hope you enjoy