I’m sitting in the train to Dortmund, surrounded by many people, but most of grannies… modern grannies, with mobile phones, digital photo cameras, mp3 players, etc. That’s not my image of a grandmother. And if you ask me, why not, maybe I would say… it’s not like this in my culture, it’s not like grandmothers behave in Romania.

But now I am really thinking if there is not even a grandma in Romania having a mobile phone? I think there should be! At least, having one of those big mobile phones with big buttons, to keep in contact with the young family members. Or there are grannies, having their own satellite antenna, even if it’s just a Digi.

Coming back to “it’s not like this in my culture, it’s not like grannies in Romania behave“: It’s very common to find this kind of “excuse”: this is how WE do it, this is how WE think, this is how WE behave. But who is this WE? Me and my family, me and my friends, me and my university colleagues, me and the people in my city, in Transilvania or in the whole country?

Think a little bit how you present your country, your culture, and your traditions to foreigners? I remember the country presentations at the 2007 EFPSA Congress in Turku. We did a presentation of Romania, including all stereotypes about the 3 regions: Transylvania citizens are slow but very tidy, and are dancing in a circle, when they go out. Moldova citizens are poor, starting the day with a glass of “palinca”, and are dancing “hora” every evening, Muntenia citizens are hectically, loud, rich and dancing on the bars. I’m sure my friends from Bucharest will laugh and say, that it’s kind of true, remembering my way of saying “Uuunde va grabiti?” (= Where do you hie?) but you got the point. Oh I don’t want to think about Germany‘s presentation

I could tell you tones of stories about Germans, and this only because I always meet so many different Germans that I cannot say anymore: They are like THIS ! (friendly, but distant; clean; tidy; organized; always on time; have good food; etc.)

Although, there is always a group you belong to, a group that has some characteristics. But people don’t belong anymore only to one group (Feuser, 2008). You have one nationality, live in another country, study at one certain university, work in a certain company, have certain friends, go to sports, play in a band, or in a theatre, live in a WG etc, etc. And think that all these groups have an influence on you

I always hear from people who get to know me: “You are not like Romanians!” (he? How are they?), or “This is your German part” Do you believe me, that I’m more often on time in Romania then in Germany, and that it happened in Germany, that I couldn’t finish a task on time and that nobody killed me?

Well, my train is almost in Dortmund! So… Happy glocalisation! (Ups, my spell checker doesn’t know this word)

Ha, can you believe it that I was able to write this post in a German train, because trains in Germany use to have plugs!

Reference:
Feuser, F. (2008). Intercultural Communication. Training for tutors. University of Kassel. Germany

One Reply to “What is a culture?”

  1. well i think is very easy to get into trouble when trying to distinguish between different aspects of culture. depending what ur focusing on and how deep u wanna go, u get different answers.
    i guess it’s all about conceptualizing and sampling 🙂 yummy

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