Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Educators’ Insights on Culture Shock, Identity and Pedagogy
Interplay 3: Chez nous c’est ne pas comme chez vous!
Chez nous c’est ne pas comme chez vous!
“Everybody is different,” Mrs. Hopewell said.
“Yes, most people is,” Mrs. Freeman said.
“It takes all kinds to make the world.”
“I always said it did myself.”
Flannery O’Connor (1995) from Good Country People
If there was one thing Cameroon taught me, it was the powerful influence that culture has on people. I’m not sure that you can get a clear understanding of this until you have actually lived in another culture yourself. If you’ve only lived in one place for all of your life, you may get the notion that the rules you grew up with were the only ones and the right ones, or maybe you never even realized that there were rules at all. I have come to the conclusion that culture has a high degree of control over people without them even knowing about it.
Basically, culture was waiting around every corner of Cameroon just to slap me in the face. Even when I could see it coming, there were times that I couldn’t get out of its way. For example, I knew that if an event was to begin at say 1:00 p.m., it wouldn’t actually start until at least 2 hours later. But try as I might, I’d sit and I’d squirm and I’d pace until I just couldn’t stand to wait any more and I would...
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