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laureth's avatar

What is something you've learned to appreciate about a culture other than your own?

Asked by laureth (27091 points ) November 27th, 2011

Sure, your own family, religion, or national group does a lot of things really well, but there are lots of different people out there that you meet in your travels through life. Can you name some characteristics or practices from another cultural group that, while they might not be your own, you have come to appreciate? Why is that, and how have they made you a better person for knowing them?

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30 Answers

laureth's avatar

I’ll start.

Personally, I really dig Mexican food – it fills me up and satisfies my hunger like no other kind of food can. I have Buddhist friends whose ability to remain balanced and evenhanded in hard times is an inspiration to me. I admire many Christians for their service to “the least of these,” for walking their talk and making personal sacrifice without fear. On my vacation to Jamaica, I was impressed by the ingenuity of the people there in making homes out of the materials at hand, and with their friendliness and music.

Blackberry's avatar

I like how in Spain, people take a break from work in the middle of the day. It’s a nice reminder that we’re not here to work for others 24/7.

Judi's avatar

I like the ideas of Ramadan and Yom Kippur

janbb's avatar

I love the French relish for life and appreciation of good and beauty and English stoicism (at times) and dry wit.

Aster's avatar

I have no idea why I admire this , it isn’t “me” but I respect the way the Amish wives keep their mouths shut when their husbands are speaking. I like seeing this on tv. It is something I’d like to do, learn how to do. It sounds obnoxious to me whenever I interrupt/correct him when he’s talking. I will never be anything like an Amish wife.
I also like certain Christian groups who put great importance on modesty in dress. It makes me cringe when 90% of women on tv wear mini dresses then cross their legs. What is the point? Do they think they can’t get a date without showing their underwear? Are they that unsure about themselves? Add to that a low cut neckline and , to me, they wish to be half undressed. Then they expect a man to love them for their mind?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I thoroughly appreciate the art and cuisines of multiple cultures.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

I appreciate how Italians place great importance on their families, as this mirrors my Asian culture where everything is done “for the family”. I have Italian friends who say familial closeness and loyalty is part of Italian tradition——same thing in Chinese culture. I see this too in some Native American cultures, as well as some Middle Eastern cultures.

snowberry's avatar

I have Mustlim friends who have “adopted” me as a member of the family. It’s awesome to explore our similarities and differences, and occasionally I try to eat without siverware (usually a bust). I make a point to wear a long skirt when I visit them, and they laugh with me when I try to pronounce their words…

We had a family from Argentina live with us for a while, and I adore food from Thailand and many other cultures. I always try to get my students to teach me customs or words from their homeland.

everephebe's avatar

Wait? I have culture? I thought culture was something everyone else had…
:p Ok, so… the other day this guy says to me, “How did you get so cultured?” and I was like, “I dunno, but I don’t think I can blame my parents… Um… PBS?”

MissAnthrope's avatar

I love the geniality and honesty of the Italians, combined with their lust for life and sincere appreciation for family and friends.

I admire the Dutch for their ingenuity, friendliness, tolerance, and acceptance/openness of sexuality. I’m extremely impressed that they generally speak English very well. Plus, I love the focus on art, architecture, poetry, landscaping, etc.

Native Americans, I admire for their worldviews. I know this varies from tribe to tribe and is somewhat general as a comment. However, there’s a sense of peace, community, and connection to everything that is quite close to my heart. They were environmentalists, foresters, game wardens. They listened to the earth and learned to work in harmony with all the gifts available to us as humans.

The British… I admire the humor, the stoicism, the history, the accents! I’m a huge Anglophile, actually.

Australians, I admire them because they seem to be some of the nicest, friendliest, most fun-loving people I’ve ever met! Whenever I’ve traveled, I knew to tag along with the Australians for the best possible time. :)

rebbel's avatar

It is a minor thing, but in Greece (at least the places I go/went) people pay for their own drinks when going out to bars and such.
In the Netherlands (again, my places, my people) when a group of people go out and drink, they each pay a round for all which has the ‘danger’ that some try to get under out of it (‘forget’ that it was their round) or some will order fancy (read:$$) drinks when somebody else is paying.
With the Greek way those things cannot happen.
All happy.

And what I also think is neat; the Greeks wish each other, besides (Have a) good day, a good month (Kalo mina).

Symbeline's avatar

I like how Norway isn’t into small talk and needless etiquette. You don’t say thank you or please unless you really mean it. Or you don’t overdo it anymore than it needs to be. And if you don’t say it, then, naturally, nobody gets offended. That’s just how it seems to work, apparently.
It’s also interesting that things like happy birthday, merry Christmas and all that is pretty much wrapped into one single congratulatory phrase. They all have their different terms, (god jul; ’‘good yule’’ for merry xmas for example) but nothing specifically unique, so you can just say Gratulerer med dagen (congratulations with the day, if I’m not messing up) to everything lol. I like the whole cut the bullshit approach they seem to have.
Not that I’ve ever been to Norway, but I’m trying to learn the language, or at least some of it, so naturally, I learn about the culture, too. I think so, anyways. Could be totally wrong in a lot of what I just said. But if I’m not, I think it’s pretty neat.

thorninmud's avatar

I admire how the French value the intellect. People from all strata of society read and stay informed. Pretty much anyone you meet is capable of informed discussion of world events. They make pop stars out of their great thinkers (quick, who are the current great American thinkers?). Literary discussions are prime-time TV material. Being well-read and informed isn’t snobbery to them; it’s part of being a responsible citizen of the world.

I admire the hell out of the Japanese aesthetic. They understand the beauty of simplicity.

cazzie's avatar

@Symbeline I live in Norway, and you’ve got it down. The other thing they are really good at is not making eye contact and saying hello in the street. It is different when you get further north. People up there are friendlier in the more recognisable sense.

I think you will appreciate this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L62cT2nOZQ

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

@cazzie One of my cousins visited Norway on a number of occasions, and she said she found Norwegians to be aloof and unfriendly. That could be the reason.

But generally, I find most northern Europeans (Scandinavians, British, Dutch, etc.) and Russians to be on the “cold side”, emotionally, when compared to Italians, Greeks, and Middle Eastern peoples. If you give them a warm hug, they stiffen up and are bothered by the closeness you show to them. Not Italians.

Sunny2's avatar

I have a great liking for cuisines from other counties. Sometimes it’s interesting to find another reality about customs you’ve heard about. In Japan, I’d heard, wives walk several feet behind their husbands. We saw one such couple walking as I’d heard, but she was really giving him a long scolding harangue. Custom, correct; flavor, quite different.

Blondesjon's avatar

I appreciate the German love of beer.

I appreciate the Belgian commitment to beer quality.

I appreciate the Irish for just being so fucking Irish.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I appreciate any country that provides maternity leave for all mothers.

janbb's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir How about parental leave? Even better.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@janbb yes, that is too much to ask though…of course i’d want parental leave.

janbb's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I believe most of the Scandinavian countries have it.

Symbeline's avatar

@cazzie I appreciate it indeed, lmao. The description at the bottom was quite useful. So ’‘Faen’’ (Satan/Devil according to the list) is the Norwegian equivalent of ’‘fuck’’, or at least, people use it as such. Cool lol. What does pule mean? I’m assuming the fuck they use in the translation is something else. Make love, have sex, or whatever slang Norway uses for that?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@janbb right and i’d move there if i could

keobooks's avatar

I like the healthy lifestyle and eating habits of Latter Day Saints (aka Mormons)

I also idealize the polygamist lifestyle of the non-traditional Mormons. Not the ones that force 12 year olds to marry their uncles or whatever. But I gotta tell you, I wouldn’t mind a sister-wife or two. Especially if one was a workaholic who made loads of cash and the other was a compulsive cleaner.

My husband won’t go for it even though I tried to tell him he’d get 3 times the sex. I told him that I wouldn’t get jealous. I just want the housework and money… just sayin..

snowberry's avatar

@keobooks Yeah, it’s nice unless you don’t like her. Rivalry, personality problems, favorites, and that’s just the wives. I teach a family that comes from a polygamist culture in Yemen. They told me that their line of the family doesn’t practice polygamy ”...because it makes the women cry”. It’s no fun, and they should know because that’s how many in their culture live. Don’t believe the hype that tv show presents as if it’s the truth.

The day to day life of polygamists through out the world is the same, regardless of the religion or the rest of the culture.

bkcunningham's avatar

I appreciate the culture of the Old Order Amish.

lonelydragon's avatar

I admire how Jewish culture values education, both for its own sake and as a path to opportunity. I also like the ideas behind bat mitzvahs and Yom Kippur.

lloydbird's avatar

I very much appreciate the cultural works of ants, termites, wasps and bees.

Judi's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, we DO have it in California. State disability covers a spouses leave up to six weeks.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Judi Well, that’s great. Wish pregnancy wasn’t defined as a disability though. We don’t have any such thing in NY. And I’m sure not everyone in CA gets this privilege either.

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