Is it bad to be more obsessed with foreign culture than with my own?
A friend and I have been discussing how we are both obsessed with cultures that aren’t our own; she is fascinated with everything Korean, whereas I’ll devour anything and everything that’s either French or Russian.
I couldn’t pinpoint when my interest began, and I only understood I was in it when I could transition from speaking English to French or Russian (though I suppose I could always blame Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Alexandre Dumas). It was even brought to my attention by a friend.
I sometimes feel guilty for being interested in cultures other than my own. I mean, I’m in a relationship with a French guy and currently reading Happiness Is Possible by Oleg Zaionchkovsky. Some of the places on my bucket list include Lake Baikal, the Kamchatka Peninsula, and Moscow in Russia. The Côte d’Azur, Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, and Biarritz in France.
My mother, the most open-minded person in the universe, imparted some wisdom on the subject and got me thinking about it.
- Is this having a negative impact on your everyday life?
- Are you growing unsatisfied with your own life?
- Are you putting your interest to good use, such as learning about their culture, history, food, people, and language?
Here’s what I learned:
Foreign cultures provide something new and exciting. It broadens your perspective and encourages you to discover new things. There are undoubtedly aspects of other cultures that you dislike or find unpleasant. All of these variables contribute to the foreign appearing more intriguing and thrilling than your own culture.
Your own culture may be so rooted in your personality or character features that it lacks the allure or thrill to pique your interest in it. But don’t forget: even if your own culture is extremely known to you, there is still a lot to explore and experience in your own “backyard.” too.
Here are some things that inspire me and make me feel less terrible whenever I think about my interests in a foreign culture:
- Don’t allow it to replace your own cultural values. Instead, search for cultural characteristics that might improve your life, such as their dedication to work or passion.
- Make it an excuse to learn a new language. When I was 6, I went to an international school where we mostly spoke French, and when I was 18, I improved by watching French dramas, and when I was 25, I learned Russian by watching movies with subtitles, reading instructional books, and eventually hiring a tutor. This is useful since you may include it on your CV.
- Increase your understanding of geography, geopolitics, history, and the economics. It will help you see opportunities where you previously could not, and it may put you on the path to being able to go there someday and be a useful member of their community.
- Learn to be more accepting of different cultures as well. You are as weird to them as they are to you.
- Consider what it is that draws you to their way of life and emulate its positive aspects in your own.
- Analyze societal issues such as women’s treatment and rights, ethnocentrism, government corruption, and so on. There is plenty to be said about how common and where comparable problems might be found.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with an interest in another country or culture. The only issues arise when you allow it to take over your life to the point that you are unable to function in your own society, or when you have unreasonable expectations thinking you can actually BECOME French or Russian (unless, of course, you’re married to one and decides to migrate to another country, but that’s beside the point).
Have you ever been interested in foreign cultures? What effect has it had on your life? And how do I get a Russian name? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.