Clash of the Cultures

punctuationI have lived in the United States since I was 12, since four months before my 13th birthday to be exact, and yet I still struggle with certain cultural differences. There are some words for example that i just can’t seem to remember the American equivalent for – babygrow being one (what you call a ‘onesie’) – and there are some English expressions that I still don’t realize aren’t used in the States. The vocabulary is forgivable fortunately and mostly my slip ups are seen as ‘cute’ or ‘quaint’ and usually met with an “Oh you’re from England? How cool! I always wanted to go there. I have a friend from there called Dan – do you know him?”. I don’t mind being called cute but I just can’t stifle the laughter when I am undoubtedly asked to identify one person in a nation of 60 million based on a first name and sometimes a distinguishing physical characteristic. I am always polite and almost apologetic when I tell them that unfortunately I am not familiar with ‘Dan.’

By far; however, the biggest obstacle for me in blending in has been my lack of math knowledge and my misunderstanding of grammar. Spending most of my life moving from small village to small village in England my education had some quite noticeable holes by the time I was transplanted to the United States – most noticeable was the fact that at 12 I had no idea that numbers below zero could exist and don’t even talk about fractions of numbers. I had basic math knowledge but for the entirety of 8th grade and my high school education I spent many hours with a tutor trying to catch up on what my peers already knew. I still consider myself slightly behind my peers, math for me is a struggle but at least now I have basic knowledge and a willingness to learn.

Now grammar? grammar is a whole different story. Where I attended school in England you were expected to just know what went where, there were no classes on why or rules or even parts of speech. This, unfortunately (and as you can probably tell from my writing ‘style’) is something I never quite caught up with. As I sat down today to write further correspondence with professors from potential grad schools I realized that this is something I am going to have to figure out in the period of time between now and fall 2010, particularly if I’m going to be writing a dissertation. Now I just have to figure out where to begin!

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4 Responses to “Clash of the Cultures”

  1. 1
    DG says:

    yea that is so ridiculous –nooow, if you had mentioned a specific small town then sure people are justified in asking if you know someone but 1 person in a whole country? hah. so ridiculous, seriously!

  2. 2
    Queen Bee says:

    I disagree. Graduate students all across the country pay plenty of dollars to have their papers reviewed, critiqued and proofread (from a strictly grammatical standpoint).

    Just because you are super smart at psychology doesn’t mean you are a math whiz or a grammatical superstar. It means that you pay extra attention to known weaknesses and go for what you excel at!
    .-= Queen Bee´s last blog ..Threadless Tshirt Giveaway at =-.

  3. 3
    yefi says:

    grammar is important to me but everyone is amazing at different subjects. i personally suck at psych.

    where in england are you from? i lived in bedford for four months!

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