A Clash of Cultures or Just a Misunderstanding

A Clash of Cultures or Just a Misunderstanding

 

For this discussion topic, you will be using the geographic perspective to analyze an experience that Professor Loretta Lemay, one of the geography professors at APUS, had in Russia during 1995. The experience is summarized by her below:

 

Another professor and I traveled extensively in Russia about 20 years ago, taking students with us to participate in field school exercise. One event that you might find interesting occurred while we spent a few days in Moscow on our way home. When we informed the cooks of our group’s intention to forgo the evening meal at our hotel the next evening (which we had previously paid for) and eat at a Pizza restaurant instead, the ladies were most upset and told us that we could not do this. They insisted that we must eat our meal in the hotel. (Or, at least that’s what we think we told them and what we think they told us. We had pressed some young man into service as an interpreter when he stopped to chat with us and practice his English.)

 

In a minor rebellion, the other faculty member and I left our hotel the next evening (our students following behind) and enjoyed our pizza dinner. However, when we went down to the hotel dining room the next morning, we found that our breakfast was the dinner from the night before. (We had been considerate enough to in from our hosts at noon time the previous day that we would not be in the hotel for the evening meal, so what was their problem?)

 

Why were they served dinner for their breakfast? Was this a clash of cultures or just a misunderstanding, or might something else have influenced the event? Can you figure out some of the contributing factors: Try to consider everything that might have impacted the staff’s decision. Use the geographic perspective. What environmental, physical, cultural, historical, socioeconomic and political factors contributed to the dinner for breakfast episode? Share your own cross-cultural mishaps, misunderstandings, and machinations.

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