I enjoy discussion around here, so I think I’m going to make more of an effort to have more of those kinds of posts. (I enjoyed the one we had a while back.)
How do you think we should react to cultures around us? If you moved to another country, do we have any obligation to that country (the “host country”) at all? Should you learn the language? Eat the food? Celebrate your host country’s holidays?
How about your home country, and your heritage. Should you leave it all behind? Should you hang your home country’s flag on your house in the host country, or is that being disrespectful? What if you are earning your living through resources available by the host country? What if you become a citizen of your host country?
How do things differ between home and outside home? Do you speak your native tongue in your home, while learning the language of your host country outside the home? Do you expect people to speak your native tongue? Do you expect the government of your host country to provide services in your native tongue? Do you educate your children in your native tongue, or in the language of your host country?
What if you were settling permanently in the host country, with no plans to return to the home country? What if you knew your children would grow up and stay in the host country? Do you think that you have more of an obligation to embrace the culture of your host country? Would things change if you were only living there a few years, with the intention of returning to your home country?
What if you have a business in the host country? Do you let your employees conduct all the business in the language of the home country? Do you advertise in that language? Do you have special sales for holidays of your home country?
Where I’m coming from: As most everyone knows, I grew up in Peru, South America. My parents always knew we would leave Peru to return to the States (we lived there for 9 years). We spoke English in the home, and learned Spanish. We went to a Spanish-speaking church for much of our time there. We received all our education in English, as my parents felt the Peruvian school system would not adequately prepare us for U.S. college. We had an American flag, but we kept it inside. We flew Peruvian flags from our house. We ate Peruvian food and celebrated Peruvian holidays. We celebrated common holidays with a blend of traditions. We acknowledged some American holidays, but I don’t think we went all out to celebrate them. We learned about Peruvian history. I personally think that if you’re in another country, you have an obligation to respect that country’s culture higher than your own (ESPECIALLY if you are planning to stay in that country!). I don’t think there is any excuse not to speak the language of the country you are living in. I also don’t think that you should cite heritage as a reason to evade the law of your host country.
Paul obviously disagrees with me on all of this.
What do you think on this subject?