Because I will be studying abroad in northern France, I know that the culture, the customs, and the country itself will make for quite an adjustment. France recognizes, like many European countries, that the family is a working unit, in need of respect, privacy, and attention. French family members make decisions with much importance placed on the opinions of the other family members. Because my background and upbringing with my own family is not solid and strong, it is impossible for me to adopt these culturally significant values for myself. It will also be difficult to remember that other students, perhaps native to the country of France and the idea of a tight family unit, were not exposed to my background, and therefore, have no need to be as self-reliant and independent.
Within my self-audit sheet, I scored strongly in openness and weakly in flexibility. My willingness to try new foods, visit new places, and meet new people will combat and hopefully conquer my need to know all the information regarding a situation. I am inflexible with my planning habits and feel the need to live by an agenda. In doing this while overseas, I might miss valuable opportunities to partake in spontaneous adventures. This is something I will have to be aware of and control.
The popular opinion regarding Americans is that the are loud, selfish, polite for the sake of politeness and not respect, and boastful about their busy schedules, seeming to have no time for friends with all their time going to work/school. I get loud when I become excited or angry. I manage a schedule because I am used to juggling work, school, volunteering, and other obligations that require focus and time of me. The cultural atmosphere I exist in does not allow for much flexibility and so I have grown inflexible along with it, and my independence and ability to work well alone can often be perceived as selfishness. I fit much of the standard expectations regarding Americans, but I want to show that I am more than those things, and I want to learn all I can about the French people and the unique individuals that exist within that group.