Foreign to Familiar

(Chapters 8-10: Different Concepts of Time and Planning, etc.)

the book Foreign to Familiar

After reading chapters 8-10 (pp. 104-128) in Foreign to Familiar, respond to one or more of the following questions based on 1) what you’ve read and 2) your personal observation, experience, and opinions:

  1. Do most people in your culture generally plan more carefully or do things more spontaneously (or are mostly similar!) to your colleagues and friends from the U.S. (or elsewhere outside your culture) at work, school, etc.? Do you generally plan more carefully or do things more spontaneously (or are mostly similar!) to your colleagues and friends from outside your culture? Provide specific examples supporting your opinion.
  2. If your culture is generally cold-climate in its views of time and planning (i.e., generally plans events ahead of time), what kinds of events don’t get planned ahead (e.g., what you’ll eat for dinner that night, when you’ll do your laundry, etc.)? If your culture is generally hot-climate in its views of time and planning (i.e., generally responds spontaneously to circumstances), in what aspects of life do you value structure and planning (e.g., the military, high-level corporate interactions, etc.)?
  3. How much do people in your culture apologize if they arrive late to some event? From your observation, do U.S. Americans generally apologize more or less than people in your culture? Why do you think any differences you observe exist?
  4. Have you ever been irritated with someone (e.g., a friend, a colleague, your boss, etc.) who apparently has a different view of time and planning than you? Has anyone ever been irritated with you as a result of your views of time and planning? Describe what happened as well as ideas for what you could (should?) do to reduce the likelihood of a similarly frustrating situation happening again.

Note from Monica: One of my U.S. American friends was taught by her parents as a child that “5 minutes early is 10 minutes late.” Because my personality aligns much better with hot-climate rather than cold-climate values, particularly as regards time, this friend sometimes complains (nicely) about my always being late. Although I do know I need to work harder on living according to the common U.S. perspective that planning one’s time well enough so you arrive to events on time is a way of showing respect (and that not doing so demonstrates disrespect), it’s so hard for me to predict how much time I’ll need to prepare for and travel to each event. Have any of you from hot-climate cultures successfully made the transition to living according to Ames’ (moderately?) cold-climate norms as regards time? If so, how did you do it? It’s possible that some of your classmates could, like me, benefit from your advice!


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Foreign to Familiar — Chapters 8-10 — pp. 104-128 (Estimated time required: 2.5 hours) — No Comments

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