Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why Do Americans Act Like That?

Do you ever think about American culture and what makes us different from other cultures and countries around the world? I admit that even though I'm preparing to live in a foreign country, I don't always think critically about the assumptions and values that are a part of my life as a result of growing up in the U.S.

I just came across a really interesting article that provides an overview of some distinctives of American culture. I think the author hit the nail on the head... Reading it definitely made me recognize the things that I will not be able to assume when I live in Austria. I can confidently say that I value everything on this list...sometimes to a fault.

Here is the list of things that the author says are valued in America (I would encourage you to read the article for a more full explanation):

  1. Personal control over the environment; Personal responsibility
  2. Change is seen as natural and positive
  3. Time and It's Control
  4. Equality/Fairness
  5. Individualism/Independence
  6. Self Help Initiative
  7. Competition
  8. Future Orientation
  9. Action/Work Orientation
  10. Informality
  11. Directness/Openness/Honesty
  12. Practicality/Efficiency
  13. Materialism/Acquisitiveness
What aspects of American culture have most impacted your values?


  1. Neat article- short and to the point- easy to read-
    You might also check out Storti's Figuring Foreigners Out for simple explanations on many of those and self assessments as to where you fit, explanations where other cultures tend to lie and the possible misunderstandings that often take place because of such differences. Also American Cultural Patterns has quite a bit but is more academic. Storti was definitely one of my favorites from intercultural. -K

  2. thanks for your thoughts! crossing cultural barriers is always an adventure and misunderstandings are bound to happen. Thanks for sharing those other resources!


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