On Sunday, January 12th, 2020, I interviewed my friend Kessy Brooke who was born and lived in California. Being an international student from China, I wanted to learn more about the difference in my culture and that of the Americans, especially my current residence, California. I invited her to my apartment where the interview took place and I prepared for her a Chinese dish that she enjoyed that evening. I never knew Americans could enjoy our cuisines. Kessy was born in California 22 years ago and she has lived there all her life. She has never stayed out of this state. She lives only with her mother after her parents divorced ten years ago. She has two elder brothers who treat her like a princess. For the past ten years, her brothers have played the role of a father to her and they live happily as a family. The remaining part of this paper analyses the California culture and different it is from Chinese culture.
The interview began by discussing the importance of family in the California culture and how the members relate to each other. Kessy told me that a two-parent family in America is a rare thing following the high rates of divorce, cohabitation and remarriage. She enjoyed the company of both parents for twelve years and believed their family was the best and perfect in their neighborhood. The truth only dawned on her when her parents divorced and that affected her emotionally. In her opinion, the American parents value their happiness more than that of their children. They never realize the pain their children go through when the family splits. Since divorce is something currently common in the world, America tends to have the highest number of single parents globally, and the institution of marriage is not respected following Kessy's narration. Apart from having single parents, Americans also live as nuclear family unlike China, wherein an ideal Chinese home, three generations live under the same roof. Even though some Chinese have adopted the western way of life, they still value the traditional family structure and it holds a significant position in Chinese culture.
While talking about communication style in America, she came out clear about their communication culture. Having lived in California all her life, she told me that they usually like to be transparent, direct, and clear and open about matters. She said to me that many people see Americans as rude, aggressive and self-centered, but the truth is they always like direct and prefer conveying the messages verbally. They pay less attention to the body language since communicators are expected to 'get to the point'. I found this quite strange when I first came to America but now I am trying to adapt to the new environment. In China, direct communication is a rare thing and saying 'no' is a tricky thing since it causes embarrassment and loss of face. They usually prefer to disagree with something indirectly. Delivering bad news in China is a tricky thing. Kessy told me that in the USA, the report is given just as it is without beating about the bush. She also said to me that the communicators should always maintain direct eye contact since that shows openness, warmth, honesty and approachability. Without maintain direct eye contact, the communicator is considered unfriendly and slightly rude. I find this opposite to the Chinese people since in china, prolonged eye contact is portrayed as confrontational and avoiding eye contact is seen as respectful.
Other parts we talked about during the interviews include religion, gender roles, greeting, and education. In America, Christianity is viewed as the general American identity and patriotism. It follows some phrases like, 'God bless America' or 'In God We Trust'. For Kessy, she is a Christian belonging to the catholic faith. She has friends that belong to different religions like Jewish, Judaism and Islam. Kessy told me that there is freedom of worship in America, and no one is denied that right. Kessy also said that gender equality is paramount in the USA and women are given equal opportunity in all sectors just like men. Unlike China, where men tend to have significant roles in the family than women, most American women play all the functions in the family. Kessy gave her mother the best example since she stayed healthy for them after their father left and catered for all their needs. According to her, both men and women can play any role in society because she has never lacked anything since the dad left. She appreciates the western culture that gives women equal chances. To me, it was quite strange since I am from the remote part of China where men are required to provide for their families. In terms of education, students are required to stay in school for up to 16-18 years in America. They focus on how students use their knowledge in society. In China, all students should complete at least nine years of education.
The American culture is indeed different from the Chinese culture in many aspects. The similarities in these two cultures are very minimal, and someone from china can find it very difficult, especially those from the interior parts to adopt the western culture and vice versa. Before this interview, I had limited information about the culture of the west following what we read in books. Having this one on one with American born person made me earn more about their culture and even learn how to interact with them daily. It has also made me learn that everything we read about America and its culture is all true. The information I got from this interview will help me throughout my stay in America.
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Essay Sample on Experiencing the Difference Between Chinese and American Cultures. (2023, Mar 25). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/essay-sample-on-experiencing-the-difference-between-chinese-and-american-cultures
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