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Culture Shock – American Lifestyle

By Kashif:

A life-changing event for me was a trip to the United States of America (USA), when I was selected as a Fulbright Scholar. The US is a dreamland for almost everyone; considering the number of visitors in New York and Chicago per day waiting in a queue would certainly testify my above mentioned assertion. I couldn’t believe I am in the US until the first day at the school. The whole system, the organized processes, students’ maturity, students’ goals, professors’ friendliness and among others, impressed me a lot and instantly broke the prejudice being carried in my mind about America and American people.

The mind-change was a little bit quick and I realized I am still in a danger zone as my friends and family members kept on calling and asking how’s everything? Am I having any trouble? It took sometime to settle down and realize that it actually is a safer zone than the part of earth I had been living.

Now comes “The Culture Shock”!!! The First day, I stayed in Holiday Inn in Lincoln, Nebraska and in the elevator one girl ran in with a towel on and wet hair. She seemed to have shower and forgot to go to her bedroom to change, instead, accidentally entered in the elevator. This was actually an elevator pitch for me for culture shock. Another Instance – My 3rd day in the US. I finally moved to my new apartment and someone knocked at my door. I woke up and thought who is there? I didn’t know anyone. I opened the door and Flash – A brown-headed old guy smiling with big face and having some condoms in his hand and said: “hey I have some condoms”, without looking at me. Excuse me – I said. He replied with even bigger smile, I clean this area and I thought a new chick just moved in. Whoa – Thank God, I do not look like a chick from any of the 360 angles. I asked what do you clean anyway? He smiled and said never mind – Good Day. That was unanswered smile for a very long time.

Well, Culture Shock does not end here. The actual Culture Shock is here that is not interesting for most of the people living back home. I will share my opinion but first let me share what I have been doing during the last year in the US that gave me enough experience to share some valuable shocks. I experienced many things in the US and the living proof is that I visited more than 30 States of the US within 1-Year stay here. I would say that I have seen more than half of the US and it is more than an average American travel count. I lived in Lahore for 22-Years of my life and never visited any single city other than that. My first city was Islamabad for 4 hours trip to Fulbright building for an Interview. That’s it.

Lets start with actual culture shocks. I would start with the appearance preferences first. Americans do not make “comments” on your physical appearance. That means in simple words if you are black, white, short, tall, bald, hairy, poor, rich or anyone; no one will ever comment on you. This gives liberty and confidence to anyone to do anything he/she wants. Therefore, any kind of talent does not go unpolished. Everyone is concerned what you can do? Regardless, what you are wearing? Or what language do you speak? That’s the reason, people do not say that a ‘Jamadar’ topped the exam or a ‘kitchen-boy’ topped the exam. They don’t disgrace the achievements but embrace it instead. They do not limit the pool of their talent to rich or people with good attire to come forward and perform. They do not make comments here if professor is wearing shorts or dirty shirt. They are just concerned with what he has to offer? I was shocked that respect is not connected to anything but one’s skills and behavior.

Secondly, Americans utilize the time they have. I actually realized the importance of the word ‘24’. We have ‘24’ hours in a day that is a great resource to achieve something. They calculate everything on daily basis and never compromise on the hourly utilization. They do not sit in groups for long and share jokes for long. They rather read books, discuss ideas and try something new. They develop habits and enjoy doing activities. I still remember one guy saying “I am 23 and I sometimes regret why I waste my that hour in doing something useless.” They really believe in productivity. Excuse me – Leave Friday nights apart, they deserve to go crazy on that night to get relaxed for whole week. That’s their culture so I am not discussing that. I was shocked to see the value of the time we waste mostly in traffic jams, load shedding, sharing useless jokes and doing useless things.

Thirdly, Americans become independent in their early twenties. They get very mature at that age and see the world differently. They identify their goal of life, their skills, their potential, their drawbacks and above all their plan. They make efforts to earn for themselves through varied sources. They never feel awkward in doing anything like cleaning, serving burgers, arranging books or anything. They experience the hard part of life at very early age. That’s the main reason we have more American business people around the globe and most the Richie-Rich are Americans. Take Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, and the long list of successful people around here. They saw world differently and performed in their life. This is not surprising for me that most of the Americans are leading different organizations if we compare this with the rest of the world. I was shocked to see Americans too organized, mature, goal oriented, and self-made. All of them mostly start from zero.

I would not stop sharing things, which shocked me actually. The list goes on and on but I have shared the most important things here. There are many things to be worked on to change the system in our country. We have to take many bold steps to become successful and competitive in this world. No doubt, Pakistanis are very smart and genius. We can do wonders but first we have to identify our skills. We have to think differently and start reading as much as we can. We have to start following the rules and say no to everything wrong happening around. Rules mean something; they are not there just to see but to adhere. We have to stop discriminating. We have to give our children liberty and sense of independence. We have to embrace diversity and give reward based on skills, not on look or bank balance. I love my country and I love to see it flourishing. But that is way too far, especially after seeing what happened on Friday, 21st Sep. We have to think before doing something even for fun.

Kashif is a Fulbright Scholar at University of Connecticut. He is studying Financial Risk Management and also a professional Finance tutor and trainer.

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15 Responses to "Culture Shock – American Lifestyle"

  1. ahem Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    USA has been plundering all over the world since 100 years (if not more). But muslims have been doing that since 1400 years. And yet USA’s performance is many many times better/faster than that of any muslim society or islam-based society.

    That is the crux of the matter.

    Muslim world has no real humour or intelligence or tolerance. Islam is leading muslims to become zombies and killers who elevate death over life and an obscene heaven over the earth and dishonesty in the service of islam over honesty in the service of mankind.

    Some muslims are tyring the trick of declaring that USA is where islam really has been realized.

    Islam will remain a scourge on us all – unfortunately USA helped this scorge become worse during the past 60 years.

  2. Asim Canada Google Chrome Windows says:

    I think you never met high school dropouts during your visit.Its almost 50% of their youth.I am living here since 1996 and my perception is quite different.Only those people who can afford the university high tuition fee or are very intelligent and get scholarship can go to university.One thing more …..acts which are considered as haram or forbidden in our relegion are allowed to them like drink,girlfriends,dancing and bla bla bla….so please don,t portray US as dreamland to youth.

  3. Vajra India Safari iPad says:

    With respect, who cares if an infinitely small minority purses up its lips and disapproves of the US as haram? It cuts both ways; you should hear the candid opinions of Canadians about the small-minded oppression of their families, especially their women, by Pakistani men. If you don’t like their society and their ways, come back.

  4. relevant Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    to asim

    Not only should you go back to Pakistan but also back to 7th century Arabia.

    Islam and muslims will always be a nuisance everywhere – and if it is the fastest growing ideology then we are soon going to have lots and lots of fascism all over the earth. The muslims’ arrogance makes any rational conversation with muslims hopeless. What kind of people are converting to islam? Answer: Those who want to live under fascism and totalitarianism in the name of a god of “safety” and dumbheaded-ness. Going berserk when islam’s fascism is exposed only exposes more fascism in islam.

  5. romain United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Asim,

    I kinda agree with your assessment about the US. So please stay away.

  6. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ Kashif
    What a rotten piece of writing!

    .
    America is a land of depression….loneliness and lechery. Why didn’t you spell out the evils of their society?? Why didn’t you do what the American do in their daily lives?? I know how they live and work, how they die for dole from the government, how they are taxed and extorted, how you feel unsafe moving around there with cash in your pocket..
    /
    As the Bible says, NO food for the one who doesn’t work…..yes, without work NO one can survive in the US or the advanced countries.
    Getting independent in the US is not great because it’s the government support which makes them revolt at that age. Not many American youngsters can even afford to buy their own house….this is why they live with their parents!

    /

    You shouldn’t have returned from America and had better kept your eulogy with yerself. But how could you?? people like you are paupers who go there to make money….diving down the gutters with their life style. If you like America why didn’t you adopt their culture and got assimilated with your women folk in their society?/

  7. relevant Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    to AKB

    You come from a rich feudal-fascist family of muslim quislings and bootlickers of arabs and turks. Your talk reveals that.

  8. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ Kashif

    Strange you haven’t written your full name…..are you ashamed of annexing your father’s name with your name?? What a shame!!

  9. Article United States Google Chrome Mac OS says:

    Mr AKB,

    I really appreciate your time in reading the article and then commenting on it. Your comment totally shows that Yes, We are Pakistani and we don’t want to change. Look at your words, asking about someone’s father. Do you even think it is your business let me tell you, “It’s none of your business buddy”. You should be concerned only with article why don’t WE people understand this is not good to make comments on others. Talking about the article, did you see clearly what it is saying:

    It is saying from what I understood:

    1: Don’t judge people based on physical attributes
    2. Utilize your time
    3. Gain some Independence and perform

    What’s wrong with all 3. Please explain otherwise don’t bother to spread extremism over here, we already have in excess supply.

    Your Well Wisher
    Get a LIFE AKB

  10. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ relevant

    AND YOU ARE A BLOODY LOUSE IN THE PUBES!!

    .

    @ARTICLE
    .
    i JUST SKIMMED OVER THE NONSENSE AND FOUND IT UNFIT FOR READING.
    .
    TELL COCK AND BULL STORIES TO THOSE WHO HAVEN’T BEEN TO AMERICA..
    KASHIF (WHO HIDES HIS PARENTHOOD …AND YOU WHO HIDES HIS METRICS TOO)
    DESERVE CONDEMNATION FOR EULOGIZING A COUNTRY WHILE HIDING IT’S BLACK SPOTS.
    .
    BETTER WRITE HONESTLY …ONLY A BALANCED ARTICLE SHOWS THE COWARDLY NATURE OF A SYCOPHANT WHO IS EASILY IMPRESSED AND BEGINS TO LICK BOOTS!

  11. article United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Sir, There are all type of people who have not been to America. This website is not for people who are already been to the US. I don’t have words to reply. Look what you wrote to @relevant.

    This is I really appreciate:

    “BETTER WRITE HONESTLY …ONLY A BALANCED ARTICLE SHOWS THE COWARDLY NATURE OF A SYCOPHANT WHO IS EASILY IMPRESSED AND BEGINS TO LICK BOOTS!”

    I wrote something very first time, your comment that write something balance etc would have been a great value. Please start appreciating work of others and think positively. If something is bad mention it and say how can it be good. If good so mention it. Why take extreme words and make comments. Never let anyone feel bad. I really felt bad when I read comment. You have been to US, I assume you educated here so you are great resource for us. Please use it and start motivating people to do something and start appreciating.

    Best Regards,

  12. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    For the biased non-Muslims and Deviates—

    Like many of his contemporaries, Tahtawi still had an intact belief in progress and an admiration for the Europeans’ (scientific) achievements which had to be emulated in the interest of development. At the same time, he respected his own culture and believed that not all aspects of European culture should be adopted.
    .
    However, he did argue for the establishment of a parliament and education for girls. Only later did the question of how Arabs can adopt European innovations without sacrificing their own cultural and religious identity acquire the explosiveness it has today.

    Barbara Winckler

    http://en.qantara.de/France-as-a-Role-Model/9527c228/index.html

  13. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @article
    .

    AS i have been to the Americas and dealt with the Americans and many other nations of the world, I have already admitted that unlike Islam which says”’MEHNAT MEIN AZMAT HE” or ”RIZQ E HALAL MEIN BARKAT HE” ETC the non Muslims (except the conspiring Mirjai’s) hold on to the Biblical edict which says; ‘those who don’t work will not get anything to eat’, and there is No reason NOT to appreciate it. As for other things, I cannot agree with the poster because the Americans or for that sake any other developed and so called civilized nation is MADE to do and act as the Original Poster stated. In reality they are brutes which are shut in the cage of Law. We Muslims are backward because we do not respect the Law…
    ( no proper enforcement of law or service of Justice) This is the main difference between Muslims and Kafirs. Kashif’s experience is superficial,,,and incorrect in many ways. He must realize that all that glitters is not gold. Poor Kasshif simply got dazed by the rolled gold
    brilliance of the West or the US. You can make money in the US….but you cant save it if You lived there like the Americans do. Because Americans spend, Asians horde and ”fast” all the year round and sleep in dungeons.

  14. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ article

    read ”ONLY A NON=BALANCED ARTICLE……” INSTEAD OF BALANCED. SORRY FOR THE OMISSION.

    .

  15. Vajra India Safari iPad says:

    I wonder about the dreary daily life of people who write in only to vent spleen. AKB apparently has nothing to do but use the article as a platform to rail against America. It doesn’t occur to him to write his own critical article, or maybe it did and he was honest with himself and knew that his article would sink like a lead balloon. It was therefore better to be a parasite on Kashif.

    What a hero! And what a bold brave social commentator. I loved the bit where he asks Kashif his patronymic from behind his own nick made up of conveniently anonymous initials.

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