Travel Log 5 “Conversations” by Chris Wilner – London, England

In order to be fully oriented with a new area and to be fully integrated, it is important to develop a group that you can rely on. As Slimbach said in chapter seven of his book, “Getting orientated to an unknown community and regional culture requires considerable motivation and initiative, matched only by its potential reward.” (Slimbach, 200) By doing this exercise, I was able to demonstrate some of the values that are prominent in the United States as well as learning what I am to expect to see or understand while being a resident of the United Kingdom. Since I have been here in London for just about a month, I believe that I have started to build that group that I can rely on and for that reason I decided to ask my flat mate Johnny to help me in being my cultural informant as he is a local student hailing from Southamption, England. I thought it would be a proper lunch conversation to have so we had a nice discussion while enjoying a meal. Johnny has duel citizenship in the United Kingdom as well as the United States so it was actually an informative experience for the two of us as he has been to the United States, but only to spend time with family so there was not much cultural absorption.

I thought it was important to take the time to share cultures with each other because it allowed us to better understand each other as well as the cultures that we come from. By better understanding one another, it will allow for less problems to ever happen because we have taken the time to know what is and is not appropriate in a given situation. It will also help me if I were to go out on my own and act in the appropriate manner.

We had fun with this experience because we were given the opportunity to laugh and joke about the things that people might consider to be a little ridiculous or to demonstrate what might “set someone off” in the right context. When talking about the culture of the United Kingdom and England specifically, Johnny was able to enlighten my on the fact that tradition is valued over culture and that was somewhat of a surprise to me as I would have thought that in such a metropolitan area culture would be more important. He reminded me that there are a lot of old traditions that people adhere to and being from southern England, Johnny was speaking from somewhat of a different standpoint, but with the same understanding. Sticking with the idea of tradition, age is to be respected instead of set to the side like they are in the United States. Also family is a very important aspect of life here in England, which is something that I really admire. Independence is okay to have, but dependence on the family is completely natural. Another aspect that we talked about was boasting because although people may go out with their friends and have a good time, it is not a good idea to talk yourself up because people will just think that you’re an arrogant person and then the respect that you might have been looking for from boasting your achievements was instantly lost.

In thinking about a culture at home that I would not participate and I can honestly say that I find the club as an annoyance is the anime club. They have good intentions, but I feel that they go about it in the wrong was and I am just put off by how weird they present themselves to be. That being said, in order to have a successful conversation with this group, I think the most important aspect to have would be knowledge of the topic and culture that they are attempting to uphold. The value that would be given from sitting down and having a conversation with a representative of the group would be that of sheer understanding. This might allow for me to understand the intentions that they have toward the Quinnipiac community as well as me being able to help them to understand how people see them. From the sense of the community, I believe they hold fundraisers in order to keep their club afloat as well as making donations to a foundation that they identify with. They have never done anything wrong, but it seems as if people avoid the group as if it were a plague and by sitting down with a representative I might find that I enjoy being in their company, but one cannot say for sure until they actually acted on the endeavor set forth.

 

My flat mate didn’t want to take a picture so unfortunately I don’t have anything to show in that respect.

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