Sangyal greeted by warm smiley faces. We introduced ourselves

Sangyal Dorjee GST 110 Dr. Cahill                                                                                           13th December 2017All through the summer, I was nervous about meeting my new American roommate. Having grown up in India, my knowledge of American culture and its people were limited. All I knew about American people were through the movies that I watched growing up as a teenager. However, later I came to learn that the movies were not a true representation of the American culture. The first time I met my roommate, I expected a firm handshake from her and her family members because that’s what I saw in the movies; but that was not the case. The minute I walked into my room, I was greeted by warm smiley faces. We introduced ourselves and hugged each other. It was a much friendlier experience than I anticipated. After about a month of studying in the US, I noticed that American greetings are generally informal. First names are often used when introducing oneself and instead of handshakes, they prefer to greet with a casual “Hi” or “How are you?” The relationship between students and professors are more open then what’s back at home in India. This, however, does not intend to show a lack of respect, but rather demonstrate their American belief that everyone is equal irrespective of their gender, race, socio-economic status, cultural and ethnic groups.  Additionally, it was interesting to see how students here in Berea use their greetings such as “how are you?” as a form of pleasantry. For instance, when I am in dining and I pass by someone from my class or work, they would normally ask how I am doing and pass by without listening to what I have to say. I found this strange at first because in my culture when someone asks about my well-being they’ll expect me to chat for at least a minute, but here in Berea, it was different. I saw people rushing all the time, so the only proper answers to such greetings would be “Fine,” or “very good.” These I believe is due to the difference in our cultural attitudes towards time. The pace of modern life in America and most of the western countries are much faster with its fast food, instant coffee, speed-dating, etc. America, being a future-oriented culture run their lives by their clocks because most of the time, they are focused on their future to accomplish their “American Dream”. On the other hand, countries like India with a long history are past-oriented culture and are more easygoing and less rushed when it comes to time. I also learned that pleasantries are exchanged out of courtesy rather than being genuine. When they say “see you later” or “we should have lunch sometime” they mean it as a simple gesture and not an invitation. Also when departing, instead of saying bye, they use more polite terms such as “see you soon” or “call me sometime.”In a nutshell, I observed that the Americans greet informally as an expression of their belief that everyone is equal.