There are about three thousand nations and more than two hundred sovereign states today in the world. Each ethnos, state, people, nation is characterized by its historical and economic way of development, its own culture, its behavior.

First of all, let us define the notion of culture. For example, Hofstede referred culture as “a collective programming of the mind which distinguishes one group from another” [3, 25] and also as “mental programming … patterns of thinking and feeling and potential acting” [4, 4]

According to the Oxford dictionary Culture means „The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively‟ [7]

Culture is referred to as behavior, a set of beliefs, habits and traditions shared by a group of people and assimilated by people who are part of this society. The elements of culture with the deepest roots are a set of values and fundamental assumptions accepted as a must and shared by a group of people. All of the above implies that culture includes certain values that are common to a group of people specifies by the environment in which these people have grown up and that to some extent affects their behavior within and outside the organization.

Individual differences are very important. When we describe cultures, we talk about "typical" values, beliefs, attitudes and "norms" of behavior. So, different people have their own distinctive features, according to which we can express in one or two words the main characteristic of a representative of a particular country.

So, Belarusians are considered to be tolerant and patient, Germans are pedantic, English are smug, French are thought to be economic, Americans are freedom-loving, etc. And all these features are reflected in the behavior of people all ages and belonging to different social groups: employees within the organization, students in their attitude to studies and to their friends, youth in communication with fellows.

Religion and economic situation of the country, interaction with other countries and political structure also have a great significance for behavioral characteristics of each particular nation.

Let us examine in more detail some of the features of the behavioral characteristics of student youth in different countries (Russia, the United States and some European countries), which have direct influence of different cultural features.

First of all, we should note such distinguishing features as collectivism and individualism. Former USSR countries are characterized as the ones that have a tension to interact in the team. Russia, in accordance with the scale of Hofstede, can be attributed to a group of countries with predominantly collectivist inclinations [5, 53].

In Russia, collectivism is more valued than individualism. So, students consider group solutions to be more attractive than individual ones. We all remember the proverb: "One head is good, but two is better". Perhaps, it also hides a latent desire for a collective solution of problems. And it does not always obligatorily mean shifting responsibility to others, but it shows that a person feels more confident when his opinion is supported by the approval of others. But to some extent we could speak of shifting responsibility to others as well.

If we want to project these arguments on student youth, it is worth remembering how willingly Russian students work together. It is a common practice among the students to have joint preparation for their exams, when they search necessary materials, find literature and even the writ the so called cribs and short answers to exam questions together – all the work is done by several students, and it allows them significantly to reduce time and effort.

For European countries and the United States, collectivism is a more alien phenomenon and gives way to individualism. It is quite possible to characterize these behavioral models by the phrase "If not me, then who?". Students from the United States can be characterized as people with strong tension to independence and the desire to rely only on themselves and their skills and abilities.

Perhaps this is the reason for such a wide spread of the phenomenon of writing off during the tests, which is well-known in all post-Soviet space. This phenomenon is laid down and is considered to be normal even at school. it is difficult to find a student who hasn’t written off at least once from a neighbor. And very often students are not refused, because their colleagues realize that at any moment they could find themselves in the same position when they will need help. The phenomenon is that even being censured by teachers, student has never considered it to be a shame to write off.

We should also note that in the US and in Western Europe it is completely unacceptable. Moreover, when asking for help from a student at a nearby desk, you will not only be refused and deserve the disapproval of a classmate, but also face the fact that your request will be immediately reported to the teacher.

However, it is not only connected with a tendency to collective or individual.

A lot of teachers, who managed to have a working experience both with our students and with the foreign ones, noted that the main difference is in their initial attitude to study. That is, our students believe from the very first years of their studies, that these will be the best years of their life. It is always possible to write off, peep, skip or even oversleep a lecture. And nothing serious will happen.

A European student from the very first day of his studies at the university is set up (or better to say, programmed by parents and the educational system itself) that studying is the basis of a future career, and hence, of his secure and happy life.

Some more words about writing off: in other countries this phenomenon does not exist, and only students of the post-Soviet space are actively writing off during their exams, and a modern Russian student simply can’t study without cribs, use of modern gadgets, headphones, etc. A student can’t imagine any exam, any control test or seminar, without writing off. There were some cases in prestigious universities of the United States when our students were expelled from the university for writing off during the exam. And it is interesting, that fellow-students of those who were trying to write off toll on them to lecturers.

This can be easily explained: for a long time Russia has been "illiterate", while in Europe the first schools have already appeared. And when the nobility started to use services of foreign teachers, in other countries first universities had already appeared.

It should be said that in the post-Soviet space there still exists a desire of students to work independently as little as possible and to write off as much as possible. Students who managed to study for a while in foreign universities emphasize that abroad individual tasks are built in such way that only the student himself can do his work on particular topic, since it is narrowed to the limit and not described in detail in common literature.

Today in Russia the reference exchanges (or stock exchanges for the provision of services for writing students' works) are becoming very popular. There any student can order from any author almost any type of student treatise or scientific research, any control work, a course work or even final qualification work, paying a certain amount of money for it. And some students do not consider it necessary to read the purchased work at least one time before sending it to the teacher for verification. Also sites with databases of ready works are popular, there you can choose a suitable project, for example. And it is also common for first-year students to hand over such projects to a scientific supervisor without paying attention to the presence of quotations in them like "This issue has been studied in more detail in my monograph ...". The situation is comical, but it reflects modern realities.

Is this possible in the West or the USA? No, it isn’t. Careerism and focusing on the result will not allow the student to use any of such services at least out of pride. More than that we can say that this is due to the specific nature of the educational system and process itself, aimed at developing a creative approach to the acquisition of new knowledge.

There is one more important thing: for example, an American student enters a university at least at the age of 22, that is, in a fully conscious and mature age. Our children, however, begin to study in universities being quite young and unformed. This fact also affects the attitude towards learning and the choice of profession in general. Many of us choose a profession, guided by its prestige, the level of future income. Some follow youthful dreams and prejudices, still being influenced by some kind of romance and mistaken stereotypes.

Turning to the problem of taking initiatives in the education process, we should note that American students have a greater incentive than our youth. The reason is that they are more actively attracted to this process by the government. For example, a foreign student participates in various conferences, in educational trials, and actively writes articles of various subjects during his study at the university.

One more important thing: a foreign student openly demonstrates to his employer his extracurricular achievements (sports victories or some kind of hobbies), and our graduates do not mention their sporting merits or victories in any competitions that are not connected with their future job. But it should be mentioned that employers regard those achievements as signs of giftedness and extraordinary abilities.

But the things are not so bad: in Russia similar projects are already started to be used actively. But still our students are not willing to take part in the scientific life of the university, they prefer to stay away. Note that this does not apply to those of them who have firmly decided to devote further life after graduating from the university to science, research or education, since without active participation in scientific life during the academic years, further development in this field will be quite difficult.

Thus, modern educational system has a solid fundamental basis, while the applied European one is exclusively aimed at careerism.

Сareerism. It is important to say a few words about this phenomenon. Careerism is more typical for different countries of Western Europe and the United States, while in the post-Soviet countries former schoolchildren increasingly understand their student years as a continuation of their youth and consider this period of life to be the so called "golden age" of their youth. At the same time European student enters the university, clearly realizing that he will have to pay a considerable sum for obtaining the cherished knowledge. Of course, there are some cases when students receive various grants and scholarships, which partially or completely cover the costs of training (and sometimes living), but this requires considerable efforts. Bank loans for education are also possible and they are to be returned after graduating from the university. Otherwise, the cost of the training costs will have to be covered independently or with the financial support of the parents. And it is common for students to earn extra money in order to pay for their education and to satisfy their own life needs without help of their parents.

Today students of the post-Soviet countries are also characterized by a tension for financial independence (at least partial) from their parents, which motivates them to start their labor activity quite early. It can be also explained by unstable economic situation in our country when parents do not have enough money to support their children during their studies at the university. However, it is common for students to skip classes and not to pay enough attention to their studies, motivating it with employment and the need to earn money for living. Thus, education itself depreciates in the eyes of students and is perceived as getting a "cherished diploma", which will be necessary only to show it to a future employer if the student will get a job according to his specialty.

Often students enter the university to receive one specialty, but they do not obtain jobs in the chosen field in the future. Getting education does not have a clear logical connection with further employment and career development.

In the USA and Western Europe, the opposite trend can be observed. Students are more focused on personal achievements and obtaining the maximum possible knowledge while studying at the university for the purpose of further employment and material well-being. It's not a secret that the diploma of Oxford or Cambridge Universities is appreciated by employers all over the world. While diplomas of the countries of the former USSR will not be recognized in 90% of cases and a young specialist will need at least a course of retraining or getting local education in this or that from if he wants to get a profitable and prestigious job in Europe or the USA.

Thus, we have identified some more differences between the students of the USA and Europe and those of the former USSR countries.

It is also important to consider another important aspect: participation in religious life as well as the importance of religion in everyday life and the behavioral characteristics of students.

Some scientists tried to find out whether the modern students are a church social group. The data showed that no more than 5 people out of 10 consider themselves to be deeply religious. Modern students (with rare exceptions) visit churches and celebrate religious holidays (except for all the famous Easter and Christmas). Regarding the knowledge of posts and reading of religious literature the data is also very disappointing. All this is easily explained by persecution of the church and the mass inoculation of atheism, the destruction of churches in a certain period of time in the territory of former Soviet states.

Turning back to our historical past, we can easily trace how young people differed from modern youth in questions of religiosity. It was quite natural and normal to observe fasts, thank God for any joy in life, ask for His help and intercession, go to church services, confess and receive communion.

At present time most of the students are non-religious people, the so-called "pagans" who feel the presence of something miraculous, but doubt the existence of Jesus Christ.

Modern youth has lost connection with religion. Religious education is mostly the task of parents and family. But how they would educate their children to love God and explain them the ritually-ceremonial side of the religion and its meanings and symbols if they themselves have already lost this connection with religion. Today these are rituals and sacramental that frighten modern youth so much. But at the same time, a significant part does not reject the inner necessity for Divine protection and guidance.

At the same time, in Western Europe and the United States, attitude toward religion is more scrupulous. Young people actively participate in various activities, go to church, know the traditions and are more aware of the issues of faith.

Let’s give one illustrative example. In France there is a small village of Taizé, in which young people believing in God from all over the world come to find peace and tranquility, to get new emotions and experiences, to regain God. “Coming to Taizé is to be invited to search for communion with God through community prayer, song, silence, personal reflection and sharing.” [8]

Life in Taizé is built in a special way. No one is forcing the reading of prayers or singing religious songs. But at the same time everyone who comes has its responsibilities in the community, as all household chores lie completely on all members: someone is responsible for the cooking, some for cleaning, some for the preparations for the evening and morning prayers.

“There is also a range of workshops later on in the afternoon that you can choose from. In some weeks when there are fewer people present, there may be just one group for people of all ages. You can decide whether to listen to the introduction in the morning and take part in the small group sharing each afternoon or else follow the theme for half a day and help with some practical work for the other half day” [8].

In process of time life in the community of Taizé has came out from the boundaries of a small village and today one can learn a lot about the Christmas meetings of Taizé, held annually during the Christmas and New Year holidays in different cities throughout Europe. Christmas meetings unite under one roof thousands of people between the ages of 18 and 30 (no one will forbid you to take a younger 12-year-old sister with you or come if you are older than the marked age, but the main task of these meetings is the education of the youth). And young people from all over Europe actively take part, prepare for meetings, and are not afraid to reveal themselves.

Taking part in one of those meetings, you can surely see hundreds of young boys and girls sitting in a dark hall (lit only by small candles in everyone's hands) and immersed in their reflections (such works the Room of silence). Some of them listen to lectures and sermons of the monks, some actively discuss issues and problems of religion. And there is nothing shameful or frightening for them. Many know by heart the texts of prayers and songs. But, unfortunately, there are practically no young people from Russia, Belarus or the Ukraine among the participants of the Christmas meetings in Taizé. This does not mean that there are none at all. But their quantity is so insignificant in comparison with other countries that it can be almost reduced to zero.

Now we should pay attention to some linguistic features in students’ behavior. Linguistic differences are evident not only in the fact that nations speak different languages, but they also present in special linguistic habits. When it is necessary to express pain, attract attention, Russian students and will use “- oh”, “- hey”). And in expressing the pleasure of eating, we are in solidarity with the Americans using “- mm”. Russian students rate the "supermarket" and "McDonald's" as expensive institutions, with great design and service. Some of them have come close to a real assessment that coincides with the American one: the first one is a universal store and the second one is a cafe or simply fast food. In this aspect, can be traced the tendency of rapprochement in language habits.

As for individual self-expression in the national mentality, one can note the following: an analysis of the judgments of Russian students shows that they openly and directly express their opinion in undisguised forms and, in case of conflict, exacerbate the situation, Americans tend to show restraint and tolerance in expressing their point of view. Researches show that half of young people in the USA do not want to have any open conflict, and prefer the position of restraint and understanding.

Knowledge of Russian students is more programmatic. So, for most of them letter "V" is associated with physical quantities, a credit card is connected with money and well-being, Nelson, of course, is considered to be an admiral etc. American students have more improvisation, their statements are diverse and individual. These are results of the system of education and upbringing.

There are some distinctive features in perceptions of different aspects of life. In general, our students, like all Russians, show some sentimentality, emotionality in their characters. This is evident in the evaluation of concepts through feeling and common stereotypes. For example, democracy is related to politics, racism is associated to nationalism, AIDS is a deadly disease, etc. While Americans are more pragmatic in their assessments, they use personal practical experience.

It is not a secret that habitual actions influence behavior. Our students' behavioral attitudes are completely connected with knowledge of "what is good and what is bad" (begging is bad, honest act is good). American students slope to associate an act with its causes or consequences (murder - court). Analysis of the causes, actions and consequences, of course, is a more effective mechanism for self-regulation of human behavior, so the Russians are not the most law-abiding, unlike the Americans.

Social expectations characterize the notion of the future. Expectations of Russian students are mostly pessimistic, and partially this can be explained by the economic and political difficulties experienced by our state. American students have social expectations that are moderately optimistic, because any society can have difficulties and upheavals and their one is not an exception.

It is important to say a few words about the problem of values in the national behavior. Russian students have values of an abstract nature (e.g., luxury is connected with money). The American representatives have a material meaning of the values (e.g., luxury is associated with taxes). This is a consequence of the comprehension of life experience. Our students, along with abstract concepts, demonstrate practical understanding of the situation. The splitting of the perception of values is formed under the influence of traditional Russian mentality on the one side, and on the other hand there is an increasing influence of the practical side of life on the mentality of the younger generation and the shift of the center of values to the material domain.

The attitude to the celebrities is also differs among American students and the students of the post-Soviet countries. The tendency is the following: Russians students see in famous people certain properties: intelligence, beauty, talent, etc., and Americans see specific people, so it's easier and faster for them to forget them.

Also, significant differences in the development of the outlook can be observed among students of different nationalities. Millrud R.P. believes that the differences in the outlook are seen in the fact that Russian students are focused on the perception of foreign cultural information: “many students believe that discovering the culture of English-speaking countries beyond the inner circle of the UK and USA expands their horizons and learn different strategies of behavior” [6, 106], and Americans are directed towards their own national heritage. The broken balance between national and foreign in the minds of Russian students often causes bewilderment among foreign peers. However, a number of modern studies contradict this trend, noting that 16 out of 24 students note the importance of studying their native culture and 6 ones add the need to study foreign one in addition to their own.

We should not forget about such an important component of behavior as habits. Habits are characteristic ways of behavior and are important for understanding the mentality of the social group of a particular nation. So, the usual actions of a Russian student are mostly associated with obtaining pleasure (food is delicious, the fundamentals of life are directed to oneself ). Only one of the few will agree with the statement that you should act as you want people to act towards you. That is, our students’ behavior is aimed at obtaining pleasure, and American students primarily care about health and convenience.

An enormous role is also played by stereotypes of behavior, inculcated by society and cultural norms and values. In the stereotypes of Russian students a generalizing function is manifested: "All people are brothers." The American phrase is more differentiated: "All people are different." However, at present the tendency is that more and more future students (that is, current schoolchildren) agree with the position of young people in the USA and Europe. This indicates that at present our society tends to change stereotypes and more young people turn to patterns of behavior of Western Europe and the United States of America.

Differences in etiquette also tend to decrease: 7 years ago Russian students showed a typical sacrifice for the sake of the collective, the guest, etc. Nowadays they demonstrate more equality of the parties. At present their own opinion is more valuable for them, but they still give the right to make an important decision to another person.

What are the main features of the behavior of student youth in relation to the law and following generally accepted norms and rules? Russian students are distinguished by a more liberal attitude to instructions, rules and laws. Samples of this we can meet almost everywhere in our everyday life. For example we frequently cross the road to the red traffic light without any hesitation, explaining this by the fact of lack of transport on the road. A lot of students, despite the prohibitions and even the law, continue smoking on the territory of the university, etc.

In connection with this we can mention one interesting fact: when violations concern our rights and freedoms, we are all do our best to appeal to the law. So, in our mentality law-abiding gives way to disregarding of the law.

Let’s make a conclusion of all said above.

First of all we should say that patterns of behavior are directly connected with particular cultural characteristics and are influenced by them. Such cultural diversity of former soviet countries, the USA and countries of Western Europe can be seen in differences of habits of behavior of the students.

Students have much in common and with the developing process of globalization there are more and more features that become common for young people all over the world. But at the same time there are more differences than similarities. Those differences can be seen in attitude towards University studies, work, religion etc. Russian students are more aimed at collectivity, while European students and those of the USA are mostly individuals. Sometimes this fact can be related to the level of responsibility that a student is ready take. Initial attitude to study is also different: our students consider years of studies to be the continuation of their youth and mostly prefer to enjoy their life, while a European student from the very first day of his studies at the university is set up that studying is the basis of his career and his future well-being.

There are also differences in attitude to religion: Russian students mostly do not have clear understanding of faith, while Americans and Europeans believe in God and follow religious traditions.

When talking to linguistic differences, we can admit the tendency of rapprochement in language habits. Russian students more openly and directly express their opinion, while the Americans tend to show restraint and tolerance.

Russian students show some sentimentality, emotionality in their characters and European students and Americans are more pragmatic in their assessments and prefer to use personal practical experience.

Expectations of Russian students are mostly pessimistic, but American students tend to be moderately optimistic, which is explained by the stability of economics.

The American and European students have a material meaning of the values and Russian students, along with abstract concepts, demonstrate practical understanding of the situation.

Russian students’ behavior is aimed at receiving pleasure, while American ones mostly take care about health and their convenience.


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