Jules Quimbo ANT 202 Dr. Eileen C. Off 10/31/14
The film Cold Water was about twelves foreign students(plus one American) from different countries who were attending Boston University. In the film, the students shared their perceptions of the American culture and the experiences they had while living and studying in the United States. The film talks about crosscultural adaptation and culture shock, as one of interviewee puts it, “felt like jumping to the cold water”.
In the first 15 minutes of the film, the initial focus was on the student’s emotional experiences prior to arriving in the United States. Kikaya Karubi, who was one of the foreign student said “I was lost...The system here is so different from the system at home”. For them, arriving in the United States voyage to the unknown. Most of the students had “mixed” feelings, some felt partly excited while others felt frightened and nervous. According to Dr. Oliva Espin, a
Counseling Psychology professor, that there are different stages to culture shock. The first part would be the part when you think that it is not as bad as you anticipated and everything is just perfect. Secondly, would be that part when you start to hate and criticize the things that are new to you. Culture shock was defined in the film as a stage where you realize that your own beliefs are the ones being questioned.
There were numerous generalizations made by the foreign students. One of the generalization that were made is that Americans are rude and that they are straightforward. In the case of Kikaya Karubi. He grew up in a culture where it is very impolite to say “No” to somebody. In the American society if they don’t like something or they disagree to your idea, they would just say ”No” without considering that them being direct and honest might offend a particular individual. I would agree that Americans can be rude at times. However, it is because they value openness and directness rather than be vague about something.
It has been generalized that Americans value privacy and will do anything to protect it. I would certainly agree to this. Societies in developed countries like the United States values individualism. For example, Americans would prefer to move out and be independent and stand on their own. While in developing countries like India, they value collectivism as such that they would put family first. Collectivist cultures prefer to do what’s best for the group as a whole.
During her interview, Tina mentioned that there was a time she felt disappointed because her friends went out without her and the fact that they didn’t invite her despite having her phone number. Her generalization was that “Americans don’t think about foreigners, that they have problems getting to know people and that they need friends.” I agree to this because it’s true that most Americans are insensitive to the foreigner's “needs”. But I don’t think that they intend to be insensitive towards foreigners. It is just how they were raised in their culture, it’s what they have seen and learned through their childhood. Personally, if I were the foreigner students I would talk to them and open out about my “needs” and ask them to help me make friends.
Janine Brodie, from Jamaica, said she finds American students “undisciplined and rude”.
David Martin, from Indonesia, thinks that when Americans disagree to someone’s opinion, they just blurtly object rather than wait for them to finish. He considers these inconsiderate actions to be very disrespectful not only to the one talking but also to the whole class. In this case, I would totally agree that interrupting someone talking is rude, especially in Asian cultures where students are very quite and only ask or talk after raising their hands. As I’ve observed in the
American culture, even though you interrupt the teacher while