Intercultural Experience Paper

Different cultures around the world show the essence of different human civilizations, which should be recognized on a global level and revered as part of each nation, traditions, and beliefs. Culture is an amalgamation of many different elements such as history, language, cuisine, art, and many other tangible and intangible aspects. An in-depth study of one culture requires tremendous effort and time to understand its basic principles and values.

Every day, we have an opportunity to notice how diverse cultures interact with each other. Two weeks ago, I met a very interesting person in the library of my university. Slim girl with chocolate skin smiled at me. I was shocked by her grace and beauty. We went towards each other, and I decided to speak to her. As I did not have any practice of casual dating, my attempt was doomed. Next day, I saw her in the classroom where we had lecture on Economics.

In that evening, we had scheduled meeting in the café. Our dialogue developed very rapidly. She said me that her parents and she came from Guinea three months ago. That is why she had a small circle of friends; finally, she invited me to have a dinner with her parents.

Next Friday, we met in their house. I was pleasantly surprised. There were a lot of photos, amulets, and statues. Her father started telling me about Africa focusing on the African art.

African art has certain themes that are repeated in all kinds of art be it ceramics, painting or any other crafts. Some items usually portray couples, woman and child, a man with wild animals, or photo of a stranger. According to African culture, photos of couples usually portray ancestors or even community founders. Often, one can see a picture of twins. However, the representation of a pair of rare species shows sexual intimacy or love; most often it represents strength and honor. The image of a woman and her child or the Earth Mother and the child represents the people living on earth. The image of a man with a weapon or a horse typically represents the power or status conferred on that person. Finally, the image of the stranger, the foreigner or stranger is also often met in African art. In Ancient African culture, the stranger was not happy, and there was always a gap between the stranger and the African people in the pictures.

There are about 2000 languages spoken across Africa in comparison with America.

Therefore, it is very difficult to find a common language with local population there, but if you want to know something important (for example, ask the correct path to where you want), there are some people who can speak English a little.

Also, the girl’s father added that it would be great to have Halloween in Africa in addition to traditional Muslim festivals. He told about lots of African festivals are focused on the harvesting cycles and farming.

Then, miss compared African and American cuisines. She explained that like any other cultural element, American cuisine is also strongly influenced by the European culture. Commonly used ingredients in American cooking can vary from one region to another. Some popular dishes of the American cuisine are banana split, "American pie", corn, cookies, crab cakes, dogs, clam chowder, burgers, sausage, lobster, Italian pizza, and New York-style cheesecake. Surprisingly, but African cuisine is a wonderful cocktail of tropical fruits and vegetables as well as exotic seafood. There are numerous regional differences in African cuisine. For example, in East African cuisine often uses corn, saffron, rice, cinnamon, cloves, pineapple, tomatoes, orange, banana, and lemon. The product preferences of the Central African cuisine are influenced by plants grown in the region, which include bananas, cassava, spinach stew, okra, chili pepper, pepper, ginger, onion, and peanut. Meat products containing monkeys, crocodile, antelope, and wart-hogs are also found at times. Due to the Malay influence, South African cuisine includes spicy chutney and curry, sweets and marinated kebabs savories in their authentic dishes. On the other hand, a typical West African diet contains a large amount of starchy elements and relatively less meat products.

As I am a Christian, I was a little surprised that there are two main religions in Africa; therefore, the majority of Africans adhere to either Christianity or Islam. Many adherents of Islam and Christianity also follow traditional African religions. Because most states in the US follow Protestant Christianity, the proportion of Catholics is slightly smaller than the Protestants. In addition, in the United States, as a secular state, there is the number of people who have also adopted other religions such as Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam.

After a delicious dinner, I returned home under the great impression. To my mind, the best way is to regard culture not as just one of such things as art or other stuff in the world that bother us. Sometimes, people talk about “culture” implying movies that are interesting to them or music whose lyrics they do not like. Culture is much more, and I think that the best way to perceive it is like all people in the world do. They regard culture as a combination of arts, cinema, TV programs, and movies. However, it also includes clothing, buildings, and food. It refers to any human activity which is aimed not only at creating something material, but also at making sense of the world.