Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cross-Cultural Adaptation

For the first 30 years of my life I have lived in a specific cultural setting.  Throughout my life I have had the opportunity to visit and experience other cultures on a short term basis, and I have gained a wealth of knowledge from those experiences.  Living in a different culture allows you to experience many new things.  Our family is coming up on a full year of living in Macedonia and we have had the opportunity to learn many things about life. We have learned that there are multiple ways of doing things.  In the same way that we have to learn to speak different languages, we also need to learn new ways to act in a new culture.  As “visitors” in this new culture we have to learn how to interact with people around us, and do so without making it harder to build meaningful relationships.  Living in Macedonia we have learned that just because things are done differently does not make one way of life better or worse than the other, they are just different.  Some things ultimately do not translate from one culture to the other, but having compassion for each other does translate.