Living in a Hot Culture
Cold and Hot Cultures
Most of the world is divided into two types of cultures; hot culture and cold culture. I was born in the cold culture of New Jersey. Efficiency is the main priority of the cold culture. Time is important and should not be wasted, communication is direct, even relationships are centered around schedules. I moved to the “warmish” culture of South Carolina when I was eleven. I say warm because the south functions in a cold cultured country with hot cultured influence. Hot cultures center around friendliness; you’ll always have a conversation during check out at a store, people may tell you your haircut looks good even when it doesn’t, the task at hand is never more important than the relationship.
Warm to Hot Culture
Now I am here in Jacó. I just graduated college in May, and even though I went to a university in the warm culture of South Carolina we still are primarily task-oriented. Everything in college is a check list of homework, exams, lab reports, study groups, and meetings. The hardest thing about living here, is switching from that mindset. Here, people will sacrifice completion of a task in order to build or maintain a relationship. This is so foreign to me. When a job is given to me, I want to complete it as quickly as possible. However, when it comes to ministry, the relationship is what counts. Being Jesus to just one person is more important than writing 100 blog posts.
In cold culture places, time creates order. Schedules, due dates, appointments dictate the productivity of a day. The more things completed, the more one is satisfied. If an event starts at 4:00pm then the cold culture people would plan to arrive around 3:50. However, hot cultures are more spontaneous and flexible, event oriented. They are able to go with the flow, they’ll arrive 10-15 minutes late because they stopped to talk to someone on the street. Whereas, arriving late, to a cold cultured person, it’s often viewed as disrespectful since their time was wasted.
Good or bad?
There’s no “right” or “wrong” culture. It is being aware of the culture opposite to your own that is important. Look at how they value time and relationships. Notice how they communicate. And when you find yourself in another country with a different culture, be aware and respect their values.
For more updates on my internship here in Costa Rica check out my website https://emilyrypkema.squarespace.com/
and for more information about Oceans Edge click here to contact us!