It is evident that every country will display a different culture that best fits the citizens and working system. Without the diversity of cultures, the values, beliefs and perceptions of different countries citizens wouldn’t be prominent, leading to every country being similar. Divergent cultures make for independent countries. I have been fortunate enough to explore and familiarize myself with the Vietnamese and American culture and have noticed the distinct differences between the two. The first major difference I have experienced between these two cultures is the ultimate simplicity of the Vietnamese culture.
Americans as a whole seem to be very materialistic, wanting everything that’s popular or that may higher their rank in society. They strive to perceive the perfect image, which is often held by celebrities or those with lots of money. They then go through life with this objective in their mind and set it as a goal. Something I admire about the Vietnamese culture is that the people don’t formulate their goals off of one other. Living in such a simple culture can make for more short term goals rather than long, such as: to wake up in the morning, to get a job, to feed their children etc. Many Americans are given these things and often take advantage of what many strive to have. We’re materialistic, always wanting one thing after another and never being satisfied. This is what makes us so unlike any other culture. The American culture is also much more demanding of perfection. With magazines and social media constantly demanding the perfect women or male, it has become extremely difficult for people to feel comfortable in their own bodies.
Along with striving to be wealthy, Americans push themselves to be what society thinks is perfect and this is ultimately a major roadblock in America. In Vietnam there is not typically an “ideal image” making it easier to feel comfortable in your own skin, which is another display of the simplicity in this country. An obvious cultural difference is the distinct religious belief in Vietnam. The majority of Vietnam is buddhist, which is exhibited through the scattered temples in every portion of the country. It is looked down upon to believe in any other religion and the betrayal of buddhism even leads to being shunned by family. In America, religion can be very diverse and we often see a blend of different types of religions everywhere. Having different religious beliefs doesn’t dictate a relationship in America and it often serves little significance in this century. Language is universal, but there are different meanings and sounds, which vary from one culture to another. This is another difference between these two cultures. In Vietnam, 79% of people only speak Vietnamese, possibly only knowing some broken English. I experienced this first hand, often having to be accompanied by a fluent Vietnamese speaker anywhere I went. In the U.S. there is an “official speech” which is the English language, but along with this many citizens also speak foreign languages as well.
The U.S. was created through many people from different countries migrating to the new states, which may be a reason for the diversity of languages. The language of both these countries are not only different in meaning and sound, but also reflect the way in which the people in these societies live, believe, and function. There are obvious similarities between these two countries, but the most vast one is the hard-working people. The citizens in both of these countries work hard for what they want and only accept perfection. This makes for a healthy, diligent society. This is also the reason for the astounding landscapes and architecture in both of these countries, making both huge tourist attractions.
The best way for anybody to become educated about the world around them is to experience the world first hand; to see the different cultures and lifestyles up and close, and I am incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to do so. The Vietnamese and American cultures are almost polar opposites, but they both display individual traits that make them so unique. Without cultural differences the world would be a very tedious place full of the same traits, these differences make the world what it is.