The academic culture difference between China and America

Culture shapes the way that a person thinks, acts and interprets the outside world, and the world is consist of different culture so it can be colorful and full of variety. Since I have been studying here for nearly three weeks, I found that the academic culture difference is remarkable and worth to talk about. From my own experience, it differs from two aspects: classroom atmosphere and the study approach.

Firstly, in traditional Chinese academic environment, teachers are considered as authority. Most of the time, teachers are in an assertive position while students are in a passive position when receiving the one-way knowledge transition from them. In my formal study,since it is impolite to interrupt teachers when they are talking, it is common that during a class, students seldom raise their hands to ask questions, and with little interaction with teachers. However, after I came to the US, I found that students usually have a closer and more equal relationship with the instructors. Students may feel free to interrupt the professors to raise any questions or doubts. They participate in class in a very active way, which is different from the quiet atmosphere in Chinese school.

When it comes to study approaches, In China, grades only rely on one midterm and one final, so students just need to work hard 2–3 weeks before the exams to receive a very good grade. However, in here, since there are many weekly quizzes, several midterms, papers, group projects and presentations, we have to be well prepared and catch up with all the materials all the time. Also, another difference is the usage of electronic devices. In my junior and senior high school in China, electronic devices are absolutely banned in class. Phones and computers are considered to be disrupting for students. However, when I attend lectures here, I found that it is very common for each students to bring a laptop in order to make notes with higher efficiency. In addition, some study apps are also required for the class, take myself as an example, in my statistic class, we are required to download an app called TopHat, which our professor use it to ask questions during lecture and assign homework. As a result, the appropriate usage of phones and laptops is recommended and can help us with our study indeed.

Independent study are also important for college students here in US. Usually in a large class, the professor won’t cover all the stuff in detail, so it is necessary to own the ability of independent study after class. In Chinese school, teachers are used to make everything detailed and clearly enough, all we have to do is to memorize those things and practice again and again. By finding those differences, in order to better adopt it, I thrift to be self-managed and concentrated on my study.