Chinese Views of US

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Cultural Studies

Document 1

S. Communication is an important element in the human life because it helps in giving instructions and passing of messages between the sender and recipient. However, culture determines the kind of communication as well as non-verbal cues that a person uses in his communication and the meaning from the same. Working in a foreign environment brings Intercultural communication which has both positive and negative effects on an individual. Different cultures have various methods of communication some similar while others are different from one culture to another. Even with this, Shi still had a bad perception of Americans in general. Both Chinese and Americans are motivated by the same things; money, comfort, provision for the family, job security and satisfaction. However, the two cultures achieve these goals via different mechanisms hence the differences.

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The different routes used explain why the two seem to be two poles apart on the surface. Understanding how Shi behaves the way she does goes a long way to successful intercultural communication. In the Chinese culture, the hierarchy is important and greatly adored. Respect and complete reverence is given to those in higher ranks. On the other hand, American culture operates on a much flatter structure where every employee has access to those at the top (Hsu, 1981). Shi feels that as a worker with a lower rank, she cannot directly access the top officials, something that makes her feel that American workers in lower ranks do not respect those in higher ranks. She, therefore, behaves timidly and with fear when while interacting with top officials.

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Americans, on the other hand, are more accustomed to physical space and will become territorial if they feel crowded, snapping at people who push in lines or whether it is their car or desk. Shi finds this Americans’ behavior disgusting and feels it should change. She frequently finds herself being shielded by the American colleagues whenever she wants to trespass into their personal space. Lastly, Americans operate businesses at a different pace compared to their Chinese counterparts. Americans emphasize on competence and speed. With time and the level of rapport between us, I have made her understand that most of the behaviors she sees in Americans are shaped and based on culture just like in her case. I have also made her understand the difference in cultural view concerning various activities.

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The Americans do not underrate them in any way but are instead controlled by culture on how to keep their personal space and separate relationships with work. She, however, has a friendly and trustful interaction with people from her culture. Respect for privacy is the biggest difference between the two cultures. Despite the numerous cultural differences, we still share a number of values with Shi at the workplace. The similarities between the Americans and Chinese are indeed the building blocks of our currently illuminated friendship and understanding between the two of us. It should be noted that Americans and Chinese though bear different cultural views on activities share similarities that are worth noting. Cultural Similarities between American and Chinese Cultures Just as the two cultures have their differences, they also have some characteristics that make them similar.

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These similarities explain why it is possible for an American to forge a friendship with a Chinese. Her behavior during meetings in which her opinion and that of other employees are incorporated in the decision-making process is always inclusive and has respect for all the parties without considering whether they are Chinese or Americans. Another key area where the two cultures have the same view is on punctuality. Both Americans and Chinese accord a lot of respect for punctuality especially when reporting to work. The American culture aggressively respects and demands punctuality in all aspects of life (school or work). The Chinese culture respect and adores punctuality as well. For the duration I have worked with her, I realized that Shi’s unfavorable opinion of the Americans is as a result of the stereotypical ideas from people, her culture, and life.

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