A young Polish woman, recently moved to Texas, describes her culture shock:
As a high schooler in Europe, I was already treated like an adult. I could leave the school anytime I wanted to, I could skip classes if I felt like I know the material (not recommended, but as long as I made it to 70% of them and passed all my exams) I suffered no consequences), I could wear whatever I wanted, I could smoke cigarettes in front of the school (I don’t smoke, but I could if I wanted to), and even at 15 or 16 I was the one to be contacted, not my parents, if anything needed my attention. My parents paid the tuition and made sure my grades are good when I decided to show them – that was the extent of their communication with my high school. Moving to the US felt like moving back in time to primary school – or even worse because even in primary school I was able to go out and get ice cream from a nearby grocery store during longer breaks! As a high schooler in America, I had to learn about dress code, detentions, hall passes, and the fact that the teachers have absolute control over my mind and body. Even if I wanted to go to the restroom, I had to have a hall pass to prove it. One day, my friend and I decided to have lunch on the grass lawn behind the school – he was a guy, so after we got caught, we were immediately questioned whether we had sex, did drugs, maybe both, and ended up getting after school detention. For eating a sandwich. I had more freedom as 7 year old in Europe than a high school senior in Texas.
The thing that strikes me is that the freedom she describes for young people was pretty much what I experienced as a teenager in Texas, four decades past. The extreme level of control that shocks her is one that developed here during that time.