Since it’s my third month studying and living in the United States, I find myself gradually getting used to life here even though I found it very different at first. Not to mention, that’s due to cultural differences between Chinese and Western country, and there is, in fact, a lot of differences. What I am going to talk about today, is just one of them.
It’s very usual here in America that people smile and say “Hi” to strangers when they walk into the same elevator, or even when they just meet on the road. When I first arrived at our school on August.3rd to attend orientation for FSSP, I met a black girl on the elevator or San Nicolas Hall. She just looked at me and gave me a warm smile and said “Hello!”. I was too nervous to talk to her and looking hardly for sentences or phrases in my memory to reply her properly. At last, I just raised my hand waved her a small “Hi!”. Then she arrived on her floor and stepped out the elevator.
That’s just the start, I find many other American people greet to each other even if they didn’t know each other at all. Which is, in my eyes, quite different from what most Chinese people do. To tell you the truth, not only Chinese people, but also many Asian people tends to be more shy than American people.
Just think of, if you can remember, on the first class of linguistic 3b of the first Monday, when Corona asked us to introduce ourselves around, most of us started by talking to people they already know before this class and then moving to others slowly. That is very different from what I experience at INT95 sections this summer. I was the only Chinese student in the classroom. The same things happens at the first class, our TA also asked us to speak to other people in the classroom. Two girls walked directly to me and started our conversation.
I think the reason why this would happen is because Chinese culture teaches people to become more reserved, speak less and think more. On the other hand, American culture tells people to be more open and outgoing.