Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hosting an Exchange student to Landrum, South Carolina..

I attended a very small high school, with a graduating class of 97 students; therefore, "exchange student" was hardly in our vocabulary. However, my senior year of high school we had an exchange student, Anne Bergløv, from Copenhagen, Denmark. This was such an experience! Not only did Anne learn and experience a new culture, but through our interaction with her, we were able to learn and experience the Denmark culture.
I remember Anne saying repeatedly that she was so amazed by everyone's friendliness. She stated that she felt welcome from the very beginning. She said that she loved the friendliness and and politeness you meet everywhere around South Carolina and that people always appear happy.

As I was thinking about Anne's experience in Landrum, SC, my people and my culture, and what/how I would explain it to a foreign exchange student, I found the following examples of the 5 Strands/Roots of Culture that were discussed in last weeks lecture video:
Nomos Religion is very important in the Southern part of the US. In fact, the south is often referred to as the "Bible Belt". The story of my culture and my people can be told through the significance of holiday names and people's names.
Names of holidays we celebrate help tell the story of my people.
*CHRISTmas-a holiday that commemorates the birth of Christ
*THANKSgiving-a holiday to give thanks to God
Names of people also help tell the story of my people. It is very common for children to purposely be named after Bible Characters (Rebecca, David, Matthew, Mark,Samuel, Luke, Paul, etc)
*A family in my hometown conceived a child weeks before they found out the mother had breast cancer. This little baby (now 4 years old) was born healthy as ever, even through his mothers' cancer treatments. They decided to name this little boy David--after David in the Bible who endured and won the fight with Goliath the giant.

Sports Teams If I were to host a foreign exchange student, I would have to explain to them the importance of the Clemson Tigers ;) Just as Professor Nichols spoke about in the video--the oral (C-L-E-M-S-O000-N), visual (solid orange), and textual (car decorations, clothing)aspects.

Food Food in the South is much different than any other part of the US or world. Any foreign exchange student visiting my family would literally get a good "taste" of our culture.
Homemade Strawberry Cobbler, Southern
Funnel Cake from Dollywood-not just Southern, but American
Glass of SWEET tea, Southern
My Hamburger and frenchfries from Crab Shack. Not just southern, but American.
FastFood is very prominent and popular (more so in the South)
Fried Chicken (or fried food in general), Grits, Biscuits, and gravy are also very popular in the South.
The New Years dinner is unique to America, too. This may just be the South, I'm not sure, but this dinner is designed to bring you good luck in the New Year. On the menu: collard greens, black-eyed peas, pork, and cornbread. The collard greens symbolize the dollar bills one will earn during the new year, and the black-eyed peas symbolize the coins one will earn during the new year.
*display of the Cross of Christ Jesus for Easter
*Christmas tree--star on top represents the star at Bethlehem that led the Wise men to Baby Jesus, and angel on top represents the angel that appeared to the Shepherd to announce the Birth of Baby Jesus.

Mythos & Techne
Many people know Landrum for the unique antique shops. Antiques have a way of telling their own story (mythos). There is also antique folk art such as carousel horses, fire buckets, painted game boards, cast iron doorstops (Techne).

On the note of Geert Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions:
1. While America may have a high individualistic attitude, this level tends to decrease in the South. We are not only concerned with the well-being of our immediate family, but Southerners tend to form strong bonds with friends. My family shares close relationships with our immediate family as well as our church family. We care for the well-being of our friends just as we care for our family.
2. The South also shares values associated with short-term orientation. We definitely value family traditions.