Today after class one of my students thanked me for the lesson. This is the second time this particular student has done that. So I started wondering if this is typical behaviour toward a teacher as I’ve never seen anyone thank a teacher before (at least not right after a lesson) or if this student just really appreciated this certain lesson or if there was an aspect of this lesson in particular that was worth mentioning. Perhaps there’s nothing out of the ordinary here at all. But lately I’ve found that when something happens or someone does something that surprises me, I immediately wonder if it’s a cultural difference. For some reason, when something new happens to me while living abroad, I seem to search for the meaning behind the action. But is there always a meaning? There are many things I’ve never experienced, but does that mean they’re really that different? Would I give them a second thought if I were in America? Probably not. So the question is, are these things happening because a) they simply haven’t happened in my life, regardless of culture, b) because they only happen in this culture, c) both or d) neither? Sometimes it’s hard to determine whether something is truly a cultural difference or indicator of cultural differences.
An update on the conversation exchange front. I’ve been communicating with a really interesting girl named Nastya. She’s a student in Moscow who studies English and also enjoys learning about language and culture. We’ve been e-mailing back and forth and are trying to arrange a time to meet sometime soon. I’ll keep updating as things progress.