I recently read “The Values Americans Live By” written in 1988 by Dr. Robert Kohls. For something published over 20 years ago, I was astounded by how relevant it was, and think we (Americans and the Internationals that have to deal with us) can benefit greatly from reading this and thinking about the types of values we hold dear.
Kohls wrote this article as a guide for International students to better understand the values and motivations of Americans. He lists 13 values that stood out most to him, that he believes anthropologists would have claimed despite resistance from Americans…
“It is my belief that if foreign visitors really understand how deeply ingrained these 13 values are in Americans, they will then be able to understand 95% of American actions – actions which might otherwise appear ‘strange,’ ‘confusing,’ or ‘unbelievable’ when evaluated from the perspective of foreigner’s own society and its values.” (Kohls, 1988)
I would like to explore these values in detail, as they do need some explaining, so I will be posting a discussion of the values in groups over the next few weeks. For now, I’d like to leave you with the list of values and their assumed opposites that many foreign nationals identify with.
Keep in mind that this is not a list of values that we should live by, nor is it an accurate depiction of how we act, but rather the values that motivate us, and we hold dear as a core part of our identity. I would like to invite a discussion on these values; please leave a comment or email me directly at Michelle@abroad101.com, or comment on twitter @EdAbroadGirl