The purpose of the lecture ‘Culture USA’ from Kathy Hartmann-Campbell was to ensure that delegation members are able to make the best possible experience in the United States of America. Furthermore, to ensure that participants understand how culture is impacting people and how small talk is practically working in the appropriate way when it comes to networking in the USA. To fulfill the mentioned goals, the lecture has been conducted in form of an interactive workshop.
Students had to name words which they would use to describe their gained experiences and impressions of US Americans. Terminologies like outgoing, patriotic, open-minded, conservative, divided, mass consumers, shallow, traditional and self-focused came up. The lecturer was happy with the result and stated that the mentioned words are not reflecting the truth but are also not completely non-connected to US Americans. The words represent a mix between the given values and the gained experience of each participant. That is also the reason why some of the mentioned terminologies are contradicting each other.
Culture is a word with various definitions, from “programming of the mind” to “just how we do things here”. After a short discussion, the participants of the workshop concluded, that culture is mostly shaped by historic events, given geographical conditions as well as by minor players like the media. For the USA with its young history, the most important historic event was colonialism. People came to the USA with the drive to seek freedom and to be innovative and explore the limitless possibilities such a new land can offer. This led to the American dream culture and the understanding that if you want to, you can do anything. So, succeeding in the USA is a point of high importance. Many people still believe in the “nothing is impossible if you try hard enough”-philosophy. Unfortunately, this is not anymore like that in reality which leads to a lack of solidarity in certain social layers and a general division of the popularity.