I did not know this until now that when you are immersed in a new culture an inward obsession with identity is provoked.Several a times you begin to question yourself who you are among all those in your new environment ,what you are even doing there as if you do not know the cause and try assess the extent of your relevance.But what I am liking the most is you begin to view the world through a completely different prism ,one which highlights your differences and sobers you up to the fact that there is a rift between what you have always known and what you must now learn quickly in order to behave appropriately in a new society.I make it a point that I should befriend more Americans ,and I feel for my sake I should make more concerted effort to both gain and impart cultural awareness through friendships with Americans I know that will equip me to navigate the new complex society am finding myself part of!
It goes beyond cultural understanding into what I would want to think of as cultural interpretation/translation-different gestures and facial expressions mean different things in almost every culture -recently I was with Caitlin and Eimear one of the International students from Ireland ,then Eimear and I were pointing on the map I wanted to use my middle finger -I did not intentionally did that but I never thought it means that.
Again I was also taken by surprise with cars driving from the right-growing up in Zimbabwe it had been hammered right into my skull that when crossing the road one should always look Right without failure-now imagine relying on this very Zimbabwean information which becomes horrid misinformation in the US-yes Shingirai would get over by a car if this information pops up whilst he is trying to cross a car otherwise there is so much to learn. Another example ,all my life I feel embarrassed to look anyone direct into their eyes but now maintaining eye contact is more appropriate here -I still need to learn to!
There are so many things to learn-Pounds instead of kilograms,Fahrenheit instead of Celsius.Miles instead of kilometres. Color instead of colour. Left instead of right!
Lets get in classroom for now,where all conversion of this “raw young man” is happening.I had anticipated my first day of class with so much anxiety-28August,and my first class was ACT 151.I am not sure if I took something from this class on this particular day.I looked around in a more hidden manner trying to find indentity-having been used to a classroom where I would sit next to my friend this time I instantly detected that it was going to be something else I had to dismiss any prejudice of any kind -as I told myself on the first day that on this campus my future shines!
After going through the first week of my classes I had got an insight of what to expect -realized how engaging an American classroom is,you just don’t walk without some preparation or rough idea of what is going to be discussed that day , it is just something else. Homeworks descend on a student like nobody’s business and for fleeting moments I would freak out about this-would my time ever be enough-I realized I need to start learning time management.
After all the Comedian will come on Friday-I enjoy this even though some of the humour is still slipping away but I am good to go with what I get.Weekend at the Valley with trips is great.Going play racket ball with David and Bart without using any of the rules of the game is awesome.At I one time considered going Gym but I am sure not why I was there just a single time up to now .Playing Uno in the launch is still fun.!!Roommate offering to drive me to Target can never be ovelooked-Dan, my roommate is really nice I am learning so much from him.I appreciate .And finally hanging in the grounds for no apparent reason by myself still refreshes me.And eventually meeting mentors from various discipline is cool-my spiritual mentor Addison is cool,my Study Abroad Calyn is great!!These are some of the things beyond classroom that makes my life meaningful so far at the Valley having joined other clubs am yet to understand is hopeful!!