Culture Shock: Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism (essay)

I learned that Culture varies around the world, and culture influences everything that we are and everything that we do. Culture is something we learn, when we come into this life we have no language, values, or ideas. Culture is all things people learn to do, produce, use, know and believe. Culture shock is the disorientation that people experience when they come in contact with a fundamentally different culture and can no longer depend on their taken for granted assumptions about life. When I traveled to Punta Cana In December of 2016 for my best friends 16th birthday, I definitely felt a Culture Shock. My Culture Shock occurred as soon as we got off the plane, and it wasn’t bad it was very exciting. We were greeted with dancing and music and that doesn’t normally happen to me. The people there were so nice, but we couldn’t understand the majority of the people because they didn’t speak English so there was a culture shock in language. But I loved everything about the Dominican Republic, from the tan of their skin to the way they functioned. The people in Punta Cana were fun and did adventurous stuff, which is what I like to do. They aren’t sitting around on cell phones all day not doing anything. They riding dirt bikes and four wheels around, and dress differently. You don’t see people walking around in designer all the time. What seems really exciting and cool to mean is just normal to them. You can see a huge difference in culture by comparing art, music, sports, religion, language, and food, clothing, gestures, and much more.

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When It comes to eating, I’m not very open to trying new things so being in Punta Cana was a challenge for me also. This leads you to the term Ethnocentrism, it is the use of one’s own culture as a yardstick for judging the ways of other individuals or societies. It is to make a judgment about other cultures, Leading to a negative evaluation of their values, norms, and behaviors. I was uncomfortable with the food and that made me judge the way people ate, but this was their culture and that didn’t make it wrong just because it was apart of something that I was unfamiliar with. Also, I felt this idea with clothing and hygiene. Since there is a lot of riding of bikes and things of that nature, the people tend to get really dirty. And I don’t get that dirty often. After riding on four-wheelers through the mud I was covered in dirt from head to toe which made me feel super uncomfortable and nasty. I also felt weird about certain activities we did because I wasn’t as brave. The people in Punta Cana have most likely been their all their lives, so they are used to certain things that I felt was very strange. Jumping into deep dark water caves is normal, as well as owning exotic animals, or walking at the bottom of the ocean with helmets on, taking speed boats underwater, cooking without an actually kitchen, selling and creating art right then and there, and riding a bike with more than 5 people on it was things that they did in their daily life. Ethnocentrism is where bad, weird, strange take part in one’s idea and this was how I felt in some cases. These type of activities were not apart of my culture so it was a little scary and also shocking to see how people could just do things that would cause me to feel fear.

Even though I had some problems adjusting to the different cultures I still loved everything about it. I felt the people there were more friendly and caring then what I’m used to and I would love to live there and be able to raise animals I thought was impossible. Cultural Relativism is not judging a culture but trying to understand it on its own terms. This is when you are trying to understand “Why” and Examining how elements of culture fit together. That’s what I tried doing visiting Punta Cana. My trip was amazing and I would love to go back again and again. It’s beautiful and I have seen some really amazing things. Different ways of living, working, playing, and enjoying yourself. Through Cultural Relativism I was able to connect with the people in Punta Cana in a different way. Just in that short time, I was there, It made me think completing different about everything I knew or thought I knew. It’s nice to be in the heart of an unfamiliar place because you get to see how others live. While some places are taught to go to school at a young age others are taught to survive and work.  

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Culture Shock: Ethnocentrism And Cultural Relativism (essay). (2021, Apr 07). Retrieved November 29, 2022 , from

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