Culture Shock

So everyone talks about culture shock like it is this super scary thing that affects everyone in their own special way. Now, I’m one of those people who believes that all you have to do is accept that things are going to be different and everything will be okay but sometimes that can bite you.

I have spent the last three months in Scotland which both very similar and very different from the area in which I come from. It has more people in a much smaller area and they are use to a different way of life but they share many traits. The biggest one for me is the language that they speak. At first it took a few days to get use to some of the things they said, all the while wondering if they were truly speaking English. But I have quickly picked up the accent and have fallen in love with Scotland and all of its wonders to behold because every time I start to think I have seen it all, something happens. I connected so much more with everything around me and I really felt like I belonged in the highlands. But then everything changed.

I decided to city hop across Europe for my spring break and I quickly came to realize that I took so much for granted in Scotland compared to the rest of the world. I landed in Amsterdam and was dazed by all that the city had to offer but one thing seemed to nag at me the whole time. I just shut it out of my mind because I believed that everything would be great as long as I cam at it with a positive attitude. As I prepared to leave Amsterdam I actually met some people who had lived in Montana for quite some time and it made me realize how much I had waiting for me back home.

As I headed off on my next train journey to the German city of Hamburg I quickly realized what it means when you just can’t understand people. My train was delayed for a few hours after an emergency and when they spoke over the intercom they always spoke in Dutch and then German followed by English. It made me cringe because I could see everyone around me knew what was being spoken but I just couldn’t put all the words together fast enough so I would wait for the English one to find out what to do.

To end the crazy day on my journey to Hamburg I decided to go out for some dinner because I hadn’t eaten all day. The restaurant that I chose was so full that they were seating random groups of people together and I ended up siting with two German guys who never spoke a word to me because I wasn’t able to speak German enough to carry a conversation. It really shocked me how much language can divide me and it gave me a quick insight what people who are felling conflicts around the globe must feel when they come to another country and they can’t understand any of the people around them. It’s not a good feeling and it can quickly demoralize a weary traveler.

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