A Reflection on Culture
University of Saint Joseph
As Gosha looks out the window of her home and watches the youngsters bustling off to school, she reflects back on the way she used to travel to school. Gosha states the ways we get places in the United States is much different than the ways back home. This is all in relation to the struggles within Gosha’s developmental niche between the rural life she once came from as a child and the suburban life she has become so accustomed to in her adult years (Gardiner, 2008). Gosha, only being 24, finds herself in a tough position in the everyday decisions that reflect her culture. This paper will discuss family, socialization-goals, religion, work and education, and the rites of passage from a cross-cultural perspective.
Gosha was brought to the United States at a very young age along with her two older brothers. She was excited to see what changes this country would offer her family, since it was the country with the largest economy and options. “I was always told, it was a place to make something of myself, the place to become who I wanted to be!”, Gosha said with a smile. Gosha took this opportunity as an adventure. As the youngest of three, and the only girl, she was not able to do the exploring she wanted, she was to be at home and safe.
Gosha stated many times that even though her family worked hard for their money, they were different than the usual Polish immigrant family. But, stresses the fact that as a person from Poland, you typically stick with other people of the same decent. Gosha has been married for 3 years to Daniel whom is also a Polish immigrant. They do not have children, but plan to soon, and they hope to incorporate the cultural values from both Poland and the United States.
The childbearing practices are similar to those in the United States. Gosha said, she remembers as a child going to the hospital to see her aunt after she had a baby. The hospital room was full of family and close friends and there was not much room for anyone to move around. She compares this to a recent birth to one of her close knit friends in the United States. In Poland, there were more people at the hospital, but it was still the same practices. The mother is admitted to the hospital to give the birth and then stays for only a couple of days. In Poland a birth is celebrated during a party after the family comes home.
A child’s upbringing is much different compared to that of one in modern day United States. A child is able to have more freedoms and the ability to do things without constant adult supervision. In Poland, it is small enough that people are secure in their environment and because of this children are allowed to play freely outside. Gosha giggled when talking about only going home when it was getting dark. The children were never in the house and mom just wanted the children home for dinner.
Children were allowed to go on play dates to other friend’s houses without supervision. Gosha, as a nanny, says this is much different then here, she is always going along to the play dates with the girl she nannies. She thinks this is odd, but understands it is not as safe here. Kids never rode the bus to school, but always walked. Not only did they walk, but they did it with other kids, not parents.
The family is the center for the socialization structure, and this was strictly emphasized in Gosha’s upbringing. Having a weekly family get together was always mandatory, most times the get together was held at a nearby park. This get together did not only include her immediate family, but also her extended family and the close friends that are considered family. Her family valued strong, secure relationships amongst all members of the family/friends. She stated