I have never really though about being "literate" in a culture before. After watching this week's lecture material, I have to take it a step farther. I agree with the fact that every culture has an identity of some sorts, and American culture is extremely strong and spirited. But within the U.S.A. there is a lot of discontinuity. There is southern culture (hey ya'll) northern culture (wicked awesome) midwestern culture (you guys), and many more. And a different stereotype is tacked on to each of these regions. My thick southern accent only fuels this fire. And with popular reading, movies and television all portraying the south in a certain light, the rest of the country and world sees southern culture as, for lack of a better term, "hick-ish". Obviously, there are some discrepancies with the southern stereotype, but the only way to realize these discrepancies is to live or spend some quality time in the south.
If the U.S. is so culturally divided within its own borders, I have to assume that all countries are equally diverse. I must admit, this is slightly nerve-racking. What should I expect heading over to Germany? I wonder if what I have learned about Germany in school is true or just another misunderstood stereotype? I think that the best I or anyone can do is to have an open mind. The worst thing I can do is go into Germany with a preconceived perception and blow off the opportunity to learn about a new and exciting culture. Also, learning about a new culture will hopefully help me better understand and appreciate my own culture. German culture will provide me with a point of comparison for American culture and something as simple as the American handshake might become more significant to me after living in Germany.
Being able to live in a new culture is going to be an invaluable experience for me. And the fact that this course is requiring me to document and record this experience is going to make it that much more special. I really hope to take away a great deal of understanding and respect from Germany. I just hope that I can break down any stereotype and really come to understand the multiple complexities of German Culture.
What can I say... I'm culturious.