As human beings, knowing the different cultures surrounding us is of a great importance. The book “Foreign to Familiar” by Sarah A. Lanier, studied during Life skills class, is based on what Lanier refers to as “cold” and “hot” cultures. Several examples of her own experiences are introduced to the reader in this book, giving the reader an often broad idea of what she wants us to know. The main topic of discussion in term one and term two of our Life skills class, was college life, though the main focus was the different cultures that we will e faced with as we go on to a different and new journey in our lives.
Hot versus cold cultures, what is the difference? In a Hot culture, relationships are crucial. When we are given a responsibility in doing a certain thing or things, the people that are involved, hence relationships are more important than what is demanded Of the person to complete. Moreover, it is very rare to find people excluded and ‘left out’ in a hot culture, since inclusion plays a major role in the hot culture, compared to the cold culture where inclusion (especially ‘self-inclusion’ is often considered rude).
Hospitality in these cultures is more relaxed; a person can drop into the daily life of a friend and is expected to in many circumstances. As we discussed as a class, in a hot culture the sense of time is lenient compared to the cold culture where time is of upmost importance. Talking more in depth; in the cold cultures, being direct is considered normal and is what should be done. In ‘Foreign to Familiar, Lanier gives an example of a car ride, in a cold culture, one would say directly if they had no space to offer in the car, “Because saying exactly what you think, is a way of respecting he other person’s need.. . Coming from a hot cultured background (Mauritius) and having moved to yet another hot cultured country, was one of the aspects that made this move fairly easy for me. Tanzanians are not like Mauritians but the warmness of the people in general, is what draws room for common factors. Then again, there was always and still is an issue with race, and I suppose this will remain an issue for long, unless something dramatic or sudden occurs. Reading ‘Foreign to Familiar’ have taught me several things that I had no idea about.
The main point was the difference etween ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ cultures, I was aware that there were different cultures, but ignored the fact that factors such as ‘inclusion’ was such a huge difference. Furthermore, believe that am not the only one who found the book assigned, interesting, helpful and useful. It has taught me several things that know will be helpful as I move on to different places in my life. If I move to a cold cultured country, I will know the main ‘do’s and don’ts’ and will probably not be as surprised and shocked as I was while reading certain examples in ‘Foreign to Familiar’.. well.. hopefully.