Time is of the Essence…. Or Maybe Not

This past week, I felt very lucky to have heard an international student’s view of the United States. I have never had the opportunity to speak with someone from another country, so hearing the opinions of those students was very eye-opening. For the most part, they seemed to know a lot about the United States however, there were some things that stood out to me. The most prominent, was that the students were not used to students standing up when the class ends, instead they were accustomed to waiting for the professor to dismiss class. It amazed me that they did not leave class at the time that class ended in their countries. However, this made sense as they continued talking, because for many of them, time was not as important as it is in the United States. For example, we create a schedule, stick to it, and are on time or early, whereas in many international areas, they are very lenient in their time and it is often acceptable if not preferred to arrive late. The students very much stressed the difference between time here and time abroad, which I had not known about before.

Although time is so very important in the United States and being on-time shows respect, I need to realize that in other countries, this is not the same. I must take into consideration the cultural norms relating to time and respect that arriving on time could be considered rude. This will take some adjusting to, as I am a very punctual person and get irritated easily when people are late, however, I must realize that this is the way their culture functions, and to fully engage, I must adjust my views of time.

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