I am a Chinese from Chengdu capital in the Southwestern parts of Sichuan province. Moving to America to pursue my education as created cultural and social differences starting from the cuisines to language. Even with the early civilization in my region, our mode of communication is still the Yi language; it was a challenge to adapt to the fast English speaking peers and tutors. By engrossing in books, constant interactions with peers, watching of movies and hiring of an interpreter, I have fully adapted to the language as it’s the general mode of communication.
Used to my ethnic Chinese cuisines which are always fresh, hot and spicy and prepared at home, it’s been great to get other diverse cuisines e.g. Italian, Mexican and Indian. It’s of great interest to just walk into a restaurant and order Italian take out, a myth in my province. This has greatly helped me to know more about the varied foods in other countries across the world. The only thing that puts us all on the same levels in terms of food is the MacDonald’s take out a restaurant that makes almost the same types of food here and back home. I had never seen a Mexican restaurant nor eaten Chile rellenos before. The change as opened me to the world, to experience the varied life styles that come with it and am taking in as much as I can.
In my cultural setting, greeting is done formally starting with the oldest person, where we look towards the ground when greeting others. The adjusting to hugging and close intervention of personal space has always been a challenge. I am getting used to being close to people, accepting a hug and not bowing for the tutor when he walks to the lecture hall. Whistling and the constant snapping of fingers are some of the habits have picked from my peers in here its considered rude and abusive back home but when here am allowed to be rebellious a bit culturally. Recently when back home, I noted the looks I was being given without realizing the unconscious whistling I was doing to a song; it shows the diversified cultural influences that have I have acquired. Our tutors at times compliment a person for work well done, it’s always been a weird to me since I have never been complimented or heard a compliment in back home. I like the complimenting culture here; it shows open appreciation for effort and a motivator for even more effort.
In our group discussions, conversations have always been held in a round table setting where peers stare at each other directly in the eye while talking. Initially I found the gestures rude, like folding of legs and putting hands in the pocket when someone was talking to me. Since peers are used to doing that, I have come to acknowledge the easy lay back cultural doctrines. In my first lecture day, learnt with horror that there’s no standing to offer greeting to …