I have been studying in the United States for almost a month and I am impressed by the huge cultural disparities as I live here and talk to domestic people.
One thing that catches my attention the most is the use of language and their speaking behavior. I remember the first time I walk in the neighborhood, there was a guy passed by and said: “good morning.” I looked back and thought “ was he talking to me?” Obviously, since there was no guy behind me, he was talking to me. However, I didn’t know him. Why was he greeting to me? I gave a simple response to him and walked fast to leave. This is unusual to me, because from where I live, I never greet to someone that I don’t know. I started to think maybe that is the culture here: you will need to say “Hi” to people even if you don’t know them. I can’t accept that especially I am not an outgoing person. Thus every times, there is a person who walks by. My psychological behavior is dynamic. I will think, should I say “Hi” to him? What if he will not give me that response? What if the culture I think is not an actual culture here? What I always do is to raise my speed and try not to look at him. If I have a phone, I will pretend to pay my attention at my phone to avoid embarrassment.
Another thing I noticed is the class behavior. Here in the U.S. if a teacher asks a question, there will be many students raise their hands, some might just yell out the answers. They are really active in class. However, this is special to me. In China, if a teacher ask a question, he or she will have to ask a person to answer, since no one is going to raise their hands. That doesn’t mean students are not paying attention in class. We know the answers but we just don’t want to be unique and therefore we try to keep quiet. That is my culture and because of that I lost a lot of participation points in my first week of class.
There are some other disparities in culture that I am still exploring. I try my best to assimilate those cultures, but at the same time there are still a lot of things that I just can not get over with.