The biggest shock in terms of traveling abroad came when the misconception I had about foreigners and their attitude was shattered. I always thought them to be self-observed and too practical. I had categorized them as people who live in their own world and are only concerned about people close to them. I couldn't have been more wrong.
The biggest and an instant shock to me was how considerate and helpful these people are. Their lifestyle is inspiring and I am in awe of it.
Below are some very common instances to prove the same.
A car stopped 10 meters before me, the driver smiled, waved at me and asked me to cross the road. How wonderful is that?
When I asked for directions at a metro station and was not able to understand properly due to his accent, the guy came out of the station, and showed me patiently on where exactly I need to go. Helping hands are on a rise.
Standing at a road crossing, i waited for the light to turn green for quite some time. A man walked about 100 meters to come to me to show me the button that needs to be pressed to change the light. Who takes out time to help-out a complete stranger who has not even asked for help in the first place.
The Europeans pursue their hobby while managing their work. The guy who came to receive us had his boxing kit in the car's boot space.
Another colleague there brought his bicycle to work and explained to me how he rides every day for an hour after work just because he likes it and finds it healthy. The point of both these examples being they get off from office on time and do what they want to do.
It's 9 pm and I am reading a book at a cafe in natural sunlight! It was just weird!
I am not saying only we Indians have wrong notions. I am sure people visiting India will be enthralled by the beautiful country and even more loving people.
Cultural shock is a two way street.
If a foreigner comes to India, he will be shocked to see that there are no snake charmers, or elephant riders in the middle of the Indian roads. He will be surprised to see the love we have for our parents and how we don't mind living with them for the rest of our lives and taking care of them personally.
The point is we all have made certain assumptions based on what we have heard and we should be open minded about the possibility of a contrary view. There are two sides to each coin. Choose to see both and appreciate them both equally. The good and the bad!