Sample Essay on Introduction to Foreign Culture

Observation Log 1

Setting: Restaurant

Date: 21stJanuary, 2017

Participants:Cashier (Anna) and me (customer). The cashier is a Nigerian.

Verbal interaction:“Hello, how are you?” enquired the cashier with a noticeable smile on her face. “I am doing fine, thank you.” I replied. “What is your order for today?” enquired the cashier. I kept quiet for the first 10 seconds until the waitress decided to offer me a list of menu for me to choose my order from. The soft-spoken cashier patiently waited before I made my order. The cashier’s right hand was on the cash register while she held the packed order on her left hand. She then gave me my order using her left hand. What transpired next left me perplexed and a bit confused as she apologized several times for giving me the order using her left-hand. “I am really sorry. In Nigeria, it is considered disrespectful and rude to do this.” As a typical American, I saw no harm done and I took it lightly as if it never happened. I thanked the cashier as I walked away with my order.

Non-verbal interaction:The cashier seems to be confident as portrayed by her posture. She smiled most of the time until that point where she mistakenly gave me my order while using her left hand. She embraced an apologetic look that indicated remorsefulness. She waved goodbye as I left the food joint.

Observation Log 2

Setting: Grocery shop

Date: 22ndJanuary, 2017

Participants: Cashier (John) and me (observer) and my friend from Afghanistan (Fauzia)

Verbal interaction:Fauzia is a strict and shy Muslim lady who rarely associates with people. As we were paying for the goods, Fauzia never said a word and it then that the cashier who decided to break the silence by greeting us. ‘Good evening to you,” said the cashier while smiling and maintaining eye-contact. Fauzia however replied with a low tone as she stared down most of the time. Fauzia who proceeded into taking money from her purse remained quietand bored even as the cashier tried to make small talks.

Non-verbal interaction:Fauzia could not maintain eye contact with the cashier. She maintained a strict, serious face. She responded to the cashier using one-worded answers.

 

 

 

 

Phenomena Report for Observation Log 1

Setting: Restaurant

Date: 21stJanuary, 2017

Participants: Cashier (Anna) and me (customer). The cashier is a Nigerian.

Verbal interaction: “Hello, how are you?” enquired the cashier with a noticeable smile on her face. “I am doing fine, thank you.” I replied. “What will you order for today?” enquired the cashier. I kept quiet for the first 10 seconds until the waitress decided to offer me a list of menu for me to choose my order from. The soft-spoken cashier patiently waited before I opted for a packed cheeseburger. The cashier’s right hand was on the cash register while she held the packed order on her left hand. She then gave me my order using her left-hand. What transpired next left me perplexed and confused as she apologized several times for giving me the order using her left-hand. “I am really sorry. In Nigeria, it is considered disrespectful and rude to do this.” As a typical American, I saw no harm done and I took it lightly as if it never happened. I thanked the cashier as I walked away with my order.

Nonverbal interaction: The cashier seems to be confident as portrayed by her posture. She smiled most of the time until that point where she mistakenly gave me my order while using her left-hand. She embraced an apologetic look that indicated remorsefulness. She waved goodbye as I left the restaurant.

Rituals: In America, using the left hand to give someone something is not considered as wrongdoing. However, in most African nations, this action can be interpreted as a show or rudeness and lack of respect. A person ought to use the right-hand. It was therefore normal for the cashier to feel that she had wronged me although I myself had not taken it as an insult.

Insights: The existing ritual between I and the cashier was our different in culture and beliefs. As an American citizen, I have been exposed to the American culture where as Anna, has been exposed to the Nigerian culture.

 

Phenomena Report for Observation Log 2

Setting: Grocery shop

Date: 22ndJanuary, 2017

Participants: Cashier (John) and me (observer) and my friend from Afghanistan (Fauzia)

Verbal interaction: Fauzia is a strict, shy Muslim lady who rarely associates with people. As we were paying for the goods, Fauzia never remained quiet and it was only the cashier who decided to break the silence by greeting us. ‘Good evening to you,” said the cashier while smiling and maintaining an eye contact. Fauzia however replied with a low tone as she looked elsewhere most of the time. Fauzia who proceeded into taking money from her purse remained quite even as the cashier tried to formulate small talks. Fauzia also seemed to be in a hurry.

Nonverbal interaction: Fauzia could not maintain eye contact with the cashier. She also could not reciprocate the smile to the cashier as she maintained a strict, serious face.

Rituals performed: Fauzia is seen as avery shy person who is uncomfortable when it comes to interacting with new people. She is reserved and talks when required to respond to a certain query. On the other hand, cashiers are required to be captivating so as to maintain both new and old customers. It is with this profound reason that the cashier maintains a smile even though Fauzia maintains a serious facial expression.

Usual and unusual about the interaction

The cashier is composed and enthusiastic to serve his customers with the intent of maintaining their loyalty. It was however unusual situation when Fauzia held a serious facial expression despite the cashier’s effort to captivate her. Fauzia’sis thus portrayed her as an introvert.

Insights: Fauzia’s behavior is largely influenced by her cultural background. Having been born and bred in Afghanistan, women were considered to be second fiddle to men. In addition, the war in Afghanistan influenced Fauzia to portray the picture of an introvert as she was unable to make friends in her own country. She is also shy because, in Afghanistan, she was forbidden to interact with male allies. Thus, Fauzia finds it extremely daunting to freely interact with people of the male gender despite the fact that she has been in America for the last one month.