Cultural diffusion is a process by which cultural traits are spread from one society to another.  Cultural diffusion has become common in current society, and it happens all over the world from food restaurants to new technologies. Crossing societal boundary lines leads to having interactions with each other, and these interactions lead to cultural diffusion.  Cultures can use new ideas from foreign countries to suit their own need. Cultural diffusion is important to the development of culture because it allows cultures to improve based on what they learn from the others.  Cultural diffusion can lead one country to influence another’s culture through trade, travel, or immigration. The first influence on culture is through trade. When different areas of the world trade their goods, these goods can be incorporated into different cultures, and they can be adopted in new areas. In current society, we often use planes, trips, trucks to transport the goods around the world. The second influence on culture is though travel or immigration. When people want to travel or migrate to another country, they often bring their custom with them.

One example is the cultural diffusion of Chinese food into American society. As the Asian population grows throughout the United States, more and more Chinese restaurants have also expanded. One reason Chinese food has become so popular is that Americans love the taste of Chinese food, such as stir fry, lo mien, fried rice, and especially egg rolls.  Another reason is they enjoy how quickly the food is prepared in Chinese restaurants. Also, many Americans believe it is healthier to eat out in Chinese restaurants than American fast food.


As Chinese food expands in America, American food also expands to other countries in the world. An example is McDonald’s expanding in Vietnam. When I was young, I never ate hamburgers at McDonald’s. Nowadays, my nephews and nieces eat food in McDonald’s all the time. Vietnamese love McDonald’s because it helps them save time from having to make breakfast for their family and children.


Cultural diffusion can have both positive and negative effects on both cultures. Many cultures have benefited from cultural exchange. One advantage is cultural diffusion causes Americans to become more aware of diversity in society. The knowledge and understanding of other cultures help people to stray away from cultural discrimination. When people are informed about cultural diffusion, they interact with one another with more tact and respect. Another advantage of cultural diffusion is new technologies around the world, such as computers, the internet, transportation, and scientific technologies (microscopes and telescopes), have a big impact on how people live in every area of the world. Now more than ever, people have used technologies, such as laptops, I-pads, smart phones, and Blu-Tooth, as a communication device and change the idea of socialization forever. However, cultural diffusion also has disadvantages on culture such as loss of cultural identity, traditions and languages. One example was when cultural diffusion spread to Vietnamese teenagers by foreign countries’ movies. Couples in Vietnam began living together before they got married. The living together of Vietnamese couples never happened in Vietnamese culture before. Here’s another example, from a long time ago.  Vietnamese men often wore long dresses called “Ao Dai” on their wedding day. Nowadays, they wear suits to wedding celebrations.  The spread of diseases from visitors when they travel to other country is also negative effect of culture diffusion. Diseases such as AIDS, smallpox, and bubonic plague have killed millions of people as they spread from one to another. Cultural diffusion occurs every day, and will continue to happen due to the fact that new technology has caused our world to become completely interdependent.

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