My personal reflection towards collectivistic and individualistic culture in the story is that most people in high context culture tend to be collectivism. This is because they concern about other’s feeling, norm and group’s values when they communicate to each other. They want to be accepted by the group or community. On the other hand, people who are individualism. They tend to communicate directly and clearly regardless on the context of the communication situation. They have low context communication based on the low context culture. (Rogers & Steinfatt 1999) In case of Waris who came from the place where the high context culture exists. She needs to understand the opposite culture which it is quite difficult for her in the beginning. Nevertheless, ‘not everyone in a collectivistic culture is equally collectivistic in thinking and behavior, nor are all of the individuals in an individualistic culture equally individualistic.’ (Rogers & Steinfatt 1999, p. 90) This means that people may discover individualistic people in collectivistic culture or vice versa.
Secondly, one of subculture of Somalia is that gender equality in society. In Somalia, female seems inferior to male and Somalian strongly believe in the tradition that Somalia girls must be cut female genital so that those girls seem as clean, value and get ready to marry with a man who is able to marry with many wives. At the end of story, Waris narrated the tradition of female genital mutilation that she disagreed with this kind of tradition in her country and in many parts of Africa. She also wanted Somalian to discontinue this tradition. The cultural clash occurred when the United Nation organisation called on Somalia government and other relevant people to stop this female genital mutilation in their countries due to the conflict that they disagree about a certain value. (Rogers & Steinfatt 1999) However the rest of the world also perceives that this female genital mutilation tradition is weird and unacceptable.
My personal reflection towards cultural clash in the story is that the culture is the way of life. Normally, people might think that their own culture is common because they learned and shared behavior patterns, values, norms and so on from generation to generation. It is very complicate to change or modify their culture, particularly the culture which based of beliefs. Nonetheless, I agree that sometimes people should adapt some cultures in the right way at the right time so that it will really improve the way of life. I believe that people will not perceive the difference of culture unless they see another side of it or compare to the other cultures. Some traditions occur due to misbelieve in superstition. The culture, which has been accepted by a group, may not be accepted by other groups. We are able to meet culture clash when a certain action are not right in another certain cultures, for example, Chinese eat dogs and Japanese eat whales. The most reasons come from the belief that those meats are good for health. In the present day, people see and learn more about the growth of the world. If they adjust some cultures in order to become a part of new larger community or the world, regarding the time changes, I think it would be the real benefit for people in the community.
Thirdly, there are many times that Waris had encountered with the culture shock which means ‘the traumatic experience that an individual may encounter when entering a different culture’ (Rogers & Steinfatt 1999, p. 212) In other words, cultural shock ‘occur when people must deal with a barrage of new perceptual stimuli that are difficult to interpret because of the cultural context has change’ (Lustig & Koester 2010, p. 319) For example, Waris came from African where the weather is hot and sunny but she had to live in London where the weather is cold and cloudy. At first, she did not speak English fluently. She had no friends. She felt depressed and lonely. Then Waris confronted differences in attitudes and values when she knew, Marylyn, her English friend. Waris was a very conservative woman due to her own culture. She was surprised when she saw Marylin stay with a man on the bed. Nevertheless, Waris had tried adjusting herself and learn new experiences since she wanted to have better life. Therefore she had worked and earned money.
My personal reflection towards culture shock in the story is that Waris felt very confused when she came to another culture or the culture that she had never seen before and she was not familiar with that culture. All people are able to encounter the culture shock when they come across the culture. There are six phases in the intercultural encounter. Those are introduction or preparation phase where we gather a lot of information before traveling to other places that we never gone, for instance, study abroad. The second is the honeymoon phase where we feel enjoy with new environment at the first couple of weeks. The third is the stress phase where people feel uncertain, anxious and homesick. The fourth phase is changing from passive to active. Those people feel discourage but also begin to recognize and understand the difference. The fifth is the adaptation phase where people are familiar with the new culture. The last phase is reversing culture shock where people come back to their own culture and feel shock again as a cycle.
I also encounter the culture shock when I arrived at Sweden in the beginning weeks. Although, I prepared myself very well before encountering with the cultural difference but I still was shock with the difference between Western and Asian culture. In order to overcome the culture shock, I prepared the information before traveling, especially religious information, language, greetings, foods and so on. Many times, I felt discourage because I felt that I am different from other people. I did not stay alone, went party and joined a community group. I really sure that if I go back to my country, there will be many things that I want to change some of my cultures in my country. For example, adjusting from polychronic to be monochromic people and adapting from high context to low context communication in business.