Hi! My name is Bry, and this is my guest post for littleadventuresblogger. After studying abroad in India last semester and studying abroad in Thailand this semester, I’ve noticed some of the key cultural differences and similarities between the East and West and wanted to share them! My main blogging is primarily travel photoblogging, but I also enjoy urban life and the things that come with that such as art, food, music, and more!
Respect and Collectivism
In most Western cultures, independence and individuality are idealized. We are expected to stray from our parents at a young age, with some students going to college preparatory boarding schools. In many European countries, students will take a gap year in which they travel by themselves before attending college. In contrast, family is prioritized much more in Eastern cultures, with most college students living at home if their campus is located nearby. In Western culture, it is typical for families to place their elders in facilities where someone else looks over them, whereas in Eastern culture elders are given the utmost respect and are taken care of by their children.
The link between culture and religion in Eastern society is much more prevalent than that of most Western society. In Thailand, most people are Buddhist like their parents; in India, Hindu; in Malaysia, Muslim. In the United States and many European countries, people do not share the same views as their parents, and this often leads to a lack of spirituality and direction.
It is interesting studying in Thailand- a developing nation which is starting to take cues from America in fashion and technological habits. Similarly as in the United States, most teenagers are addicted to their cell phones, although less so here. People are more quiet with people they do not know, but will generally talk to others, whereas in much of America people are more likely to judge each other. So, while in Thailand people are generally more friendly, there is a similar millennial trend in America in which people use their cell phones rather than talking to each other.
Yes! With Westernization and technological advances, the selfie and social media applications such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook are huge in many Eastern countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and India (although banned in China).
In most Eastern cultures, womens’ priority is taking care of the family, and sacrificing professional life to rear children. Women in the West are much more liberated and free to decide her priorities both professionally and personally, such as picking her career or when to marry or even bear children.
Management of Emotions
In the West, people usually do not smile very often, and it is very common for people to openly express their anger or frustration through yelling, fights, frowns, etc. In the East, even if you are unhappy, it is expected for you to give your best smile regardless instead of dwelling on what is making you unhappy.