Teacher : Stephanie Hunter
Culture Shock in the US
Something unpredictable might happen when you experience culture shock. Culture shock is a situation that makes people confused when he or she is suddenly in a different culture. Gerald in “Shocking Popcorn for a German in the US” said that he instinctively spit the popcorn out after he took one bite when he was at a movie in States with some friends. Gerald says in the story, “My taste buds were shocked!“. Gerald spit the popcorn out because it was salty. His
friends told him that it was supposed to be salty. However, in Germany, people put sugar, not salt, on the popcorn. This shows that people might experience an unpredictable thing when they deal with a culture shock.
My experience with culture shock is something unpredictable too. When I had an interview with a cruise ship agency in Indonesia and they told me that I got the job, I was so excited. I would be working for one of the biggest cruise ship companies in the USA. I was so happy because going to the US was one of my goals. I wasn’t aware of the things that I would be
dealing with because the agency didn’t let me know the details. So I packed everything and I left
for the US. When I arrived in Miami, I was surprised to hear that many people in Miami speak Spanish. I asked a woman that looked like a Mexican woman a question and she couldn’t answer
me in English. I wondered why because I thought everybody speaks English in USA.
I spent a night at a hotel and the ship came in the morning. The van came and took me and the others to the ship. I had to carry my suitcase to the crew entrance alone. I was happy that I finally arrived on board. Then the unpredictable things happened. After checking all of my documents, they gave me papers full of information. I had to figure out everything by myself. First, I had to find the cabin by myself. There were so many crew cabins so I looked at the numbers one by one. Second, I had to find the store room to pick up my uniform and shoes. After
that I felt hungry and went to find the crew dining room and got lost somewhere. By the time I got there, it was too late because the place was closed. I had to go to work hungry because the first day of work started the day I arrived. The working hours were long. They were ten hours per day, split into two shifts, five hours per shift, seven days a week. It means there was no day off at all for the whole contract. My contract was for nine months. In Indonesia, like in other countries, people work eight hours a day and get at least one day off every week. I was shocked by the working hours and the fact that I had to figure out everything for myself because everybody was too busy. I had no one that could show me the crew facilities like the dining room, laundry room, store room, and others. I just asked people I met, that’s all. I was shocked,
confused and tired. I am glad I got over it. Being a teacher saved my life. That’s why I am going
to keep on doing it.
Looking back, there’s always something nice behind the bad experience. If I had never worked there, I wouldn’t speak English well. I probably wouldn’t be an English teacher or be
here at Highline because one of the scholarship requirements is English. In conclusion, there’s
always something good behind the bad and unpredictable things that happen to you.