“…before we begin to understand other cultures, we must first understand how our own culture influences our thinking and behaviors” (Ferrado). As I made my way through the assigned readings from the previous weeks, I encountered this point made by Ferrado and proceeded to carry it in the back of my head during my time spent at Lucy Choi London these last two weeks. My interpretation of what Ferrado is trying to say is that in order to appreciate other cultures in thrive in a world that is not native to your own it is imperative to first have a firm understanding and appreciation of your own. I have never given so much thought about myself as an American and what exactly that means to me until this trip.
For instance, one of my biggest challenges at work this week has been creating Training Manuals for my designer’s AW13 line. I was given the freedom to come up with a short little blurb about each shoe in order to make it more appealing to customers. Typically, I would consider myself a creative person, but this task has proved a bit challenging for me. The first obstacle I have had with this project is the fact that each shoe style is named after a borough in London. I am not even an expert on London, so how can I creatively describe a shoe related to something so foreign to me. The second obstacle I have faced is that every time I finish a descriptive paragraph about a particular style my designer’s assistant reads through to make it sound “more British.” I am perfectly equipped to handle and respect constructive criticism, but it has been a bit difficult for me accepting that I might now be producing work that is up to par with British standards.
I am not one to back away from a challenge, nor do I give up easily. I am confident in myself as an American, and I am open to learning the “British” ways both in the business world and in everyday life. After all, that’s why I chose to study in London, right? In an attempt to not let this setback overshadow all of the exciting progress I have made at work, I will admit that I am learning so much from my designer and how she conducts business. She has been fantastic to work with and I certainly admire the hard-working businesswoman she is. Living, working, and learning in London has certainly been an eye-opening experience thus far. During a time where I am making such a conscious attempt to assimilate into the British lifestyle, I have yet to forget my American roots. Ironically, HAPPY 4TH OF JULY AMERICA.