Article: Adjusting to a Different Culture
The English, French and German cultures have taught me some lessons about adjusting to different cultures, with their unique strengths and weaknesses.
This is the 8th year I am spending in my 3rd African country – Nigeria. I lived in Cote d’Ivoire for about 10 years, a French-speaking West African nation after growing up in the English-speaking part of Cameroon, Central Africa. Also lived in Germany.
In Cameroon, the French-speaking citizens are often amazed by the hospitality of the people when they travel to the English-speaking part.
The French-speaking part excels in other areas. I get the impression that everybody keeps fit in a place like Yaoundé, Cameroon’s capital – sports and physical wellness.
My German experience revealed the following – it takes a while to win the trust of a German. But once you prove yourself to be trustworthy, you have a friend for the rest of your life. Germans are also known to be a people of their word – integrity.
These differences provide insight into the fact that each culture is endowed with at least a Christ-like virtue.
I must continue to learn the art of celebrating the strengths while bearing with the weaknesses. This principle also applies to interpersonal relationships.
Paul had to learn to become all things to all men within the context of their respective cultures. May we be flexible to make the necessary adjustments as we reach out to people of different backgrounds, nationalities, tribes, languages etc.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23*; *Revelation 5:9-10