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A country is just like an onion; the innermost skin is Culture. Culture is like the soul of a country. All countries have their own unique cultures to live by, which means that people who have grown up in different places will have different ways of behaving, different ways of thinking about things and different ways of expressing themselves. Each country has its own culture, and there are many differences between different countries in culture. Those differences make our world a more colorful and exciting place to live.
We can have a better understanding of it if we compare the big cultural differences between America and China. According to my two years of study in America and Intercultural Communication Stumbling Blocks by LaRay M. Barna, which talked about the difference between different cultures, I find two big differences in friendship and education. First difference is friendship. Time is often the best way to test friendship and friends.
For the Chinese, to know each other for a long time, the communication needs to be at a certain depth, finding out each other’s habits, temperament, similar interests and the common experience of “suffering”.
Then they will make the recognition of each other as a friend in the heart, and they will value this friendship. Once friendship is established, it will be lifelong, and hard to break. Chinese can share almost everything with their friends, for example, when you are in China, at restaurant, you can actually see people fight for the bill.
It’s not about showing off to their friends or someone else. It’s just because they want to show their appreciation for their friendship. On the other hand, for most Chinese, we think Americans are “superficial,” like what Barna said “They talk and smile too much” (67) and “Their friendship are, most of the time, so ephemeral compared to the friendship we have at home. Americans make friends very easily and leave their friends almost as quickly” (67). For Americans, in general it seems to them that Chinese and some other people from different countries are “not necessarily snobs but are very unfriendly,” (67) Because we don’t talk and smile a lot.
The reason why Chinese and Americans have a different opinion on friendship is because our cultures are different. We can’t tell which kind of friendship is right or wrong because there is no such a thing as wrong culture. There are all just different cultures. The second difference is in education.” What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country.” says a Chinese proverb. As we all know, American and Chinese education systems are different, which creates different culture in turn. American education focuses on the students’ creativity and practical ability. In their classes, the teachers just play a role as leaders. Students do lab homework, group work to find out the answer by themselves. However in China, the school is more like a concert hall. This means that students are completely listeners. Students all focus on the textbook, try to memorize everything from the book, and then get a good score.
They hardly come up with their own ideas. That’s why Barna says, “U.S. students often complain that the international members of a discussion or project seem uncooperative or uninterested”. (66) But both of those two educations’ intentions are good. In my view, we should learn the academic knowledge well, but we should also take part in the school activities, improve our interpersonal skills, and creative thinking, so that, we can prepare well for the future challenges. In one word, each country has its own culture. Although there are many differences between different countries, we should respect them and learn from each other. Especially, in the modern century, each country has to communicate with other countries more than ever. So, we must understand the differences in different countries’ culture well, only in this way, we can get along with each other in peace.
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