Nowadays, more and more students choose to be international students. They want to get a better education or to get a different mode of thinking, to look at some different culture and environment. Many Chinese students choose to get education in the United States. The first big challenge for them is the culture impact. Different countries have different cultures, even between the West and the East.
First of all, there are some differences in the style of communication. Chinese may consider Americans to be very upfront in their manner of speaking. This may often cause a lot of misunderstanding or sometimes even hurt the feelings of some Chinese people, especially if they are very sensitive. People in the United States are encouraged to defend their ideas, which may even lead to a confrontation or debate for the purpose of getting the other person to agree with their way of thinking. Some Chinese people would simply nod at your opinion, even if they don’t really agree with what you are saying. They do this to respect and honor others’ opinions. Being too direct may be perceived as humiliating and the other person may come across as rude. Blunt communication makes Chinese people uncomfortable, so they prefer the subtle, indirect ways of delivering their thoughts and opinions.
Another point of difference is the food. Chinese usually eat communally and share their dishes with others. Westerners usually enjoy individual servings. For example, in the United States, when people go to a restaurant, they would often like to order food individually. But in China, people always order food together and share their food together. Chinese cooks chop everything into bite size pieces. Thus, people don’t need knives to cut it, and just pick up their food with chopsticks. Westerners cook food in big pieces and serve it with knives and forks for cutting it up. Chinese usually don’t remove bones, and just cut them and the meat into pieces. They cook fish whole, including the bones. Westerners usually eat filleted fish and meat with whole bones, or no bones.
Bob, an international student from China, talked about the differences between China and the U.S. He said: “The biggest difference is that the foods here are such a different type from China. Actually, I do not like the foods here. Second is that, in the U.S., people always do some things by themselves. But in China people always expect to do things by their relationships. In this case, sometimes it is easy to finish work or things easily in China.”
Manish Pandey, who is from Nepal, also noticed cultural differences between his country and the U.S. He said: “ The biggest difference is that things are so expensive in America, and I cannot believe that sometimes vegetables are cheaper than meats in this country.”
Bob and Manish are from different countries: China and Nepal. But both of them choose to be international students and to study in the U.S. They introduce some real differences between their countries and the U.S. and some problems they face while living here.