Рефераты. Cultural Values

hard, they are good housewives, they are always loyal, and they

dress nicely.

. There are a high number of educated people, especially in the

sciences. They are able to work under difficult conditions.

It's a wonder. It's not about equipment. That's Russia's


Major differences between cultures

. Alcohol — many Muslims do not drink.

. Families at home are bigger —5-10 people

. In Russia, people don't know their neighbors' names. They don't

greet each other on the street and communicate.

. Clothes — women dress more modestly than Russian women.

. Women don't smoke, drink, or dress revealingly as they do in


. Families support each other more. Brothers and sisters support

each other. Russian families seem more isolated and


. The divorce rate at home is very low.

. Men respect women more at home, there is not so much domestic

violence as in Russia.




When you first arrived in Russia, what stood out the most?

. People are very thin.

. How many people actually walk. There are lots of cars and good

public transportation, but there are lots of pedestrians too.

. How dirty the cities are. I knew they would look a little run

down, but there's more litter and trash than at home.

. People don't smile.

. Russians are not materialistic. They consider other people more

important than what you can buy.

. To some degree, they are less culturally aware. Russia was

dosed off to the rest of the world and Russians are not used to

seeing people of color.

. Men with machine guns at the airport A woman with big, black

poufy hair, a frilly white blouse, an army-issue green mini-

skirt, black stiletto heels, frosty pink lipstick and a scowl

It was like a scene from a John Waters movie.

. In 1978 I arrived in St. Petersburg from Sweden. It was like

going from color to black and white. There were shortages of

food. It was drab; it was dark. I came back in 1998. Ibis time

I noticed a washed-out drabness. People wore dark clothes, not

much color. There were things to buy in the shops this time,

but somehow everything looked faded. The communist experience

was unique. The whole world moved on, and Russia was closed

off. There are some good things and some bad things in this. It

was like being dropped off in the 1950s, when I was a child.

There was still not much tourism, but the attitudes of people

changed. This first time it was less friendly, people spoke

less English, and there were millions of forms to fill out,

scattered all over the place. You had to be precise, because

the authorities were hypervigilant.

. Crazy drivers everywhere, incredibly long waits for trams and

buses, no timetables for buses and trams, people going out of

their way to help you find a destination

Stereotypes You Were Aware of Before Coming to Russia

. Lines everywhere (though I knew it was thing of the past)

. No freedom of speech

. Few products

. Pervasive presence of Mafia

. Young people getting rich very quickly

. Prostitution (from news exposes about dark side of big city


. Prejudice against people of Southern nationalities

. Russians drink vodka

. Russians are poor, suffered a lot, are very serious, have bread


. Never smile

. Bureaucracy is infamous

. Churches with onion domes, great literature

. Russian women dress up, but it doesn't matter so much what men


. Every woman is looking to marry an American, there are mail

order brides, women want to get out

. I remember bomb scares in American during the 50s and 60s and

hiding under desks. The Russians wanted to come and

conquer the USA, we were told. They had the same message as us.

. Russians tend to be paranoid.

. Russians don't think in or about the future. Americans think

about the future, but not the past or present. Americans

pay for classes so they can learn to live in the present!

Russians don't plan so far ahead. If they have money today,


spend money today.

. Russians are quite rigid about teachers being authoritative and

strong disciplinarians.

Advice family & friends gave you before you left home

. Don't drink tap water.

. Advice to women: be prepared that girls here dress differently:

Russians dress for fashion and Americans for comfort

. Be careful, you can't trust people there.

. Be careful. Russia is not safe because of worries about war,

bombings in Moscow, unrest, crime, civil strife. General


. Bring toilet paper and jeans. You can sell your jeans.

. You need to have good health insurance and be prepared to fly

back to the US if you need treatment Hospitals are bad and

doctors aren't very good. In fact, doctors run the gamut from

very dedicated to indifferent.

Why questions

. Why is shopping a three step process? It's so inefficient.

Maybe it prevents shoplifting.

. Why is only one person doling out money?

. Why is only one door open?

. Why is service so bad? Is it because there is no tipping and so

no motivation?

. Why can we sit in a cafe all day without buying very much?

. Why do women wear such high heels?

. Why do people crowd others and cut in line?

. Why do shop attendants go on so many breaks or just close down?

. Why are things so unpredictable? Nothing is consistent.

. There are no schedules at school. I arrive at school to teach

and I'll be told "there is no fourth grade today." Why can't

people tell me in advance?

. Why are restaurant workers so indifferent or outright rude?

. Why do Russian women think they need a man for anything

technical or physical?

. Why must everyone sit at a party?

. Why can't people put bags on the floor?

. Why do men carry purses (for women)?

. Who does everything break so easily?

. Why does everything need to be stamped?

. Why are there so many forms?

. Why do women dress like hookers (prostitutes)?

. Why do women wear see-through trousers with thongs and stiletto


. Why is everything so dirty?

. Why do people spit and blow their noses onto the street?

. Why are people so mean to each other (at stores, yelling at


. Why do people push in front of others?

. When a husband beats his wife in public, why doesn't anyone do

anything? Why are people so reluctant to stop and help?

. Why are there no public toilets even approaching American

standards? Why do people accept such things?

. Why do toilets have no seat covers? Is there a shortage? Can't

they find them somewhere?

. Why do Russians drink so much tea? Why don't they drink during


. Why do Americans say "excuse me1 when they bump into strangers

and Russian don't?

. Why are Russians so formal when you first meet them?

Things that frustrate

. People always on the make

. Large injustices in society, for example, why are teachers paid

so little and then expected to buy their own textbooks

. I'm annoyed at people looking and making an instant judgment

. Russians are emotional, prejudiced and xenophobic.

. The Russian sense of personal space, especially in public

sphere: people stand much closer, pressing up against each

other, pushing

Why questions Russians asked you about Americans

. Why do you want to come to Russia? (most consistent question)

. Why are Americans fat? Why do they all have cars? Why are they

so loud?

. Why do Americans drink so much water?

. How can you believe men and women are equal when they are so


. Why don't Americans lock their doors at night?

. Why do Americans smell like soap? - What interviewee's mother

taught him: "If your clothes smell like you, they're dirty."

. Why do Americans smile all the time?

. Why are Americans so informal about everything?

. Why do Americans ask so many questions?

. Why don't you speak English correctly? It's your native

language, isn't it?

Stereotypes Russians You Met Had of Americans

. Americans are rich. "You can afford to pay that price, that's

nothing for you at home!"

. Americans have cars — are fat - are loud.

. Americans are rich, noisy, lazy, and unworldly.

. Americans always smile.

. All American women hate men.

. American women are drab, dull and unfeminine.

. American women want to do everything themselves.

. American women are ambitious and individualistic.

. American women are not afraid to speak their minds or confront


How are Americans viewed?

. Russians are accepting of American music, movies, and clothing

but still have anti-American sentiments. It's a kind of guilty

pleasure - a sense they are letting themselves, their roots,

and their standards down. They accept American cultural

products while remaining anti-American.

. They think we're rich; even our poor, compared to their poor.

Retirees on cruises set this stereotype, with Russians

misunderstanding that some people must save for a long time for

such a trip. Also, Russians on exchange programs stay with

middle-class, educated families. They don't see American


How has living abroad changed your original view or expectations about what

life in Russia would be like?

. Some stereotypes were borne out. People can be very rude in the

public sphere— in restaurants, airports, trains. On the other

hand, if you're invited to people's homes you'll find they're

the most hospitable people you've ever met. I didn't expect

warm hospitality though I was prepared for inhospitality in the

public sphere.

. I tend to try not to have too many set expectations before I go

to a different culture. Sure, I have some, but part of the

experience is seeing what is there and seeing how you can adapt

to these circumstances.

Gestures that are different, etc.

. I always speak with my hands and show facial gestures. Most

people here don't gesture much when they speak. Ibis is true of

facial gestures too. My face always betrays my feelings.

. The Russian gesture for being drunk.

. Helping women put their coat on; other women can't do this.

. Men NEED to carry things and pay. I met a male friend at a

cafe, and he HAD to pay, to be a gentleman, even though I know

he doesn't earn a lot of money. No Dutch treat.

. The weight of swear words is stronger here than in the US. In

the States I use obscenities every day. Now that I'm here, I

use them maybe once a month.

. Banging the fist again the palm

. Thumb between the middle and index fingers

. Touching: there's more same sex touching in Russia, women

walking down the street arm in arm or holding hands

. Shaking hands is not common practice in Russia where it is

automatic and unconscious behavior for most Americans. (Said by

a woman)

What are the most positive things that happened to you in Russia?

. I met my wife and made some very close friends from another

culture. Human contact. You realize you can make close friends

and find similarities. I also improved my Russian.

. I had an opportunity to live with a family and be included in

family life- crises and arguments included. I really

experienced normal Russian life in more depth than many.

. Positive things: meeting very friendly people/ hospitality and

the nurturing manner of Russian women. The sincerity I

-have felt from the sympathy expressed by Russians about the

attacks in the U.S.

What is the worst thing that happened to you?

. The first week I was living in my flat, and felt like a

stranger in my landlady's home, my landlady and her husband

would share nothing with me. I had to buy my own dish washing

liquid and toilet paper. They would not allow me to wash my own

clothes and wanted to charge me 20 rubles per shin. (While this

may not be typical, this incident it is a true story.)

. In St Petersburg, I got ripped off. 60 or 70 dollars in a money

exchange on the street It can happen anywhere, though, and it

didn't change my feelings; but there are nasty rip-offs in St

Petersburg and Moscow.

. Negative things: indifference to issues of lateness and when

things don't work or something goes wrong. How things tend to

be more black / white or how things are taken more literally.

How certain some Russians are about certain issues.

If you were to compare Russian and American culture, what are some of the

broad distinctions you might draw?

. Economics. In the US everything is about money. Sometimes

Russians are very concerned about money and talk about money

because it's a necessity. They have no qualms about asking how

much money you make. That's a taboo question in the States.

. Russians are more traditional, especially the way women want to

be treated by men. Feminism doesn't seem to exist. (Said by a


. Russians drink more. There are few laws about drinking in

public. You can drink beer in public but not vodka. It's

strange, in the springtime, to be the only sober person walking

down the street.

. Russians are less tolerant of racial differences and of sexual

orientation. Russian men are very homophobic.

. There is no one word or phrase for "cultural identity," vanity,

or privacy in Russian language; you would have to explain your

intention in order to be understood.

Can you describe some situations/incidents in which cultural expectations

caused a misunderstanding?

. American men are not expected to be as attentive as Russian

men. Men pour drinks for women, carry packages for women, etc.

. If I'm silent, people see me as standoffish.

. Americans separate business and pleasure

By living in Russia, have you learned anything new about yourself and your

native culture?

. I learned a lot of about myself as an American. There are some

things I feel proud about. I stopped taking things for granted,

things I would have demanded in the past.

. I value independence and self-reliance.

. I notice consumerism in the US more. Everything is packaged,

everything is for sale. There's more media and advertising

everywhere. People need things NOW: fast food, quick and

efficient customer service.

. Shallow, superficial friendliness and customer service. But I

like it anyway! Maybe it's not so shallow. Maybe it says

something about egalitarianism.

. The number of trashcans and the amount of waste produced in the

US. In Russia there's no place to put trash and there are lots

of wrappers and litter on the streets. In America there ate

lots of receptacles because we produce lots of waste

-packaging, wrappers, etc. We even sell special 10-gallon trash


. The main thing I noticed and was overwhelmed by was by the

amount of choice in everything- it was great but too much to

handle sometimes, whether I was shopping or trying to decide

what to eat in a restaurant.

. I can live in an arctic climate but I'm still not a fan of long


. Americans value individualism and the right to speak their

minds freely

. Some Americans can be as ethnocentric as some Russians can be

and more concerned with events at home, but what culture isn't?


When you first arrived in the USA, what stood out?

. The traffic system is orderly and well organized. Drivers are

polite and stop for pedestrians.

. How Americans are relaxed, they have a relaxed posture, free

behavior, a relaxed way of dressing, usually sports clothes

. Aged parents very seldom live with their grown children and

prefer living alone or moving to a nursing home

. Americans prefer to live in suburbs in their own houses and

thus a car play a very important role in one's life and there

might be several cars in the family

. They use computers a lot in everyday life

Stereotypes of Americans You Were Aware Of

. Pragmatic

. Rich

. Overweight

. Always smile

. Body conscious and fond of healthy life styles

. American women are too independent

How do you think Americans viewed Russian culture, in general terms?

. As far as I remember, everyone I met was very friendly,

considerate and helpful and eager to get to know Russians

better and learn more about our culture.

Advice friends or family members gave you

. To find some things they wanted

. To set up an aim you want to achieve in this country and to do

it. For example, to visit all the museums.

. Try to make new friends and make the most of your stay

. My mother told me to try every kind of food I can

Why questions you asked

. Why do Americans love their cars so much?

. Why do they never dress up?

. Why do they mingle at parties? Why do they invite so many


. Why do they leave their nests? Why do they so often change


. Why are university professors so informally dressed in class?

. Why do children prefer to live separately from parents when

they complete high school and almost never come back to

live with the parents again?

Why questions others asked you

. Why do Russians stay at one place (at a table) at a party?

. Why do Russians have more long lasting friendships?

. Why do you prefer jeanswear: is it because you like American

style clothing or do you find this kind of clothing more


. Do people in Russia know foreign languages?

Stereotypes of Russians You Discovered

. Russians are poor.

. Russians dance very well. They like to dance.

. There is Mafia in Russia.

. Russian women do a lot of work at home.

. Russians don't know how to work.

. Russian women do too much work for the family. They do not

respect themselves.

. Russians are strong and hard working.

. The new generation will change the country.

. Russians don't know foreign languages.

. Starving and wearing shabby clothing

. Russians don't smile on the street.

. One young American guy mentioned he wouldn't be interested in

meeting a Russian woman because Russian women are

hairy and don't shave.

. There are few cars in Russia.

. All women are prostitutes because that's the only way to earn a


How has your experience changed your original view or expectations?

I don't think Americans are rich. They get more money but they

economize and spend more rationally.

If you were to compare Russian and American culture, what are some of the

broad distinctions you might draw?

. Russian culture belongs to the eastern type and American to the

western type.

. Americans are more matter-of-fact and business-like; they are

more active; they are not afraid of making severe life changes.

Can you describe some situations/incidents in which cultural expectations

caused a misunderstanding?

. When you are in Russia, invited to someone's home, you are

asked to have tea or some food. In America this does not happen

in every house.

What things stood out the most or what things did you most notice about

Russia when you returned home?

. The one thing that pleased me is that my family was so glad to

see me.

. People not smiling. Not helpful.

. Gloomy people on the streets; impolite shop assistants; dirty

public places; no adaptation of public places for disabled

. People are less polite; there is garbage everywhere; there are

no non-smoking areas

By visiting the USA, have you learned anything new about yourself and your

native culture?

. Russians are hospitable, collective. They discuss things in

groups before making decisions. They are always ready to share.

. Russians are more family oriented.

. I learned that I should not feel inferior to other people

because of being physically disabled.

. Being in the US I am conscious of being Russian and proud of

it. I don't that I stand out in American culture and most

Americans can't say I am from a different country unless I tell

them, but somehow I always "feel" Russian and tell people I am

from Russia with a sense of pride.


Let's sum up everything considered above.

Now there is a problem of misunderstanding among people of the

different countries. This misunderstanding is shown owing to different

attitudes to life, to business, to family, to fellow workers. Also because

of ignorance of traditions, customs, etiquette of other countries.

Excellent knowledge of foreign language is not a guarantee of

successful cooperation of firms or pleasant dialogue of people from

different continents. To know language is only half-affair. The most

important is to understand priorities of other people, to try to look at

the world by their eyes.

If the country is more advanced in economic, political, social

spheres, it gives more attention to studying other cultures for successful

cooperation (for example, the USA, Japan).

It is important to note, that the closer cultures to each other, the

fewer problems arise at their interaction. If cultures are opposite, then

the essence of intercultural dialogue is reduced to understanding of

different values.

For greater success in relations between the countries it is necessary

to take into account all these features.


1. «Communication and Culture» / Alfred G. Smith // Hold,

Rinehart and Winston, Inc., the United States of America,1966

2. «Crossing Cultural Borders - Russia» / Julie E. Zdanoski //

Petrozavodsk, 2003

3. «Culture Learning: The Fifth Dimension in the Language

Classroom» / Louise Damen

4. «Culture Matters. How Values Shape Human Progress» / Lawrence

E. Harrison, Samuel P. Huntington // Basic Books, A Member of

the Perseus Books Group, the United States of America, 2000



When a person from a national society with hierarchical tendencies

encounters a person from a society with egalitarian tendencies, and

moreover when the country of the latter is generally "high" in the

estimation of the former, the idealized paradigm as shown in Figure 1 would

be approximated. In this diagram, X, the person from a country with

egalitarian views, behaves toward Y, the person from a hierarchically

oriented country, as if he occupied the same "level"; that is, in

equalitarian terms.


Figure 1.


North American (USA)

Personal control of the environment

Change inevitable and desirable

Equality of opportunity


Future orientation

Action orientation

Directness and openness

Practicality; pragmatic; rational

Problem-solving orientation

Cause-and-effect logic



DO-it-yourself approach to life

Contrast American

Nature dominating man

Unchanging; traditional

Class structure dominant; hierarchical Interdependence but individuality

Present or past orientation

Being orientation

Suggestive; consensus-seeking; group orientation

Feeling orientation; philosophical

Inactive; enduring; seeking help from others Knowing


Group progress



Values concerning

1. Nature and Culture vertically

(octopus pot)(draws in)


2. Interpersonal Relationships

Unated States

Heterogeneity; horizontal society guilt sasara (bamboo wisk)



Omote predominates

Independence; I/you clash symmetrical relationships informality

Achieved status


Homogeneity; shame takotsubo




We over I; amae complementary

Ascribed status

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