Whythe U.S. and Chinese cultural differences interferes withinteractions between people from the two cultural backgrounds.
Allhuman values, perspectives, and feelings, learn through activeparticipation in some cultural systems. The term culture has beendefined in different ways, but most of the available definitionsagree that culture encompass shared interactions and patterns ofbehavior effective understandings, and cognitive constructions thatare learned through socialization (McGee 1). The shared patternsdistinguish members of other cultural groups (Gardenswartz 3). Inother words, culture refers to features of a given group of peopleand it can be defined by nearly all things starting from language,cuisine, music, religion, art, and social habits.
Iwas born and spent my childhood in China before traveling to theUnited States for higher education. My interaction with my Chineseparents, fellow primary school pupils, and the neighbors gave me anopportunity to adopt the Chinese values, perceptions, and beliefsthat are influencing my culture to-date. There are three majoraspects of the Chinese culture that are still influencing my life,even after traveling to the United States. First, my Chinese culturetaught me to identify myself with social groups as opposed toindividualism. Secondly, through the Chinese culture, I learned toemphasize more on the interpersonal relationships instead of relyingon written procedures and rules that are intended to structure humaninteractions. Third, my culture has taught me the importance ofestablishing lifelong friendships with each friend feeling obligatedto each other. In essence, the three values I learned from theChinese cultural practices have shaped my current culture and the wayI interact with people.
Myencounter with a course mate with whom we shared a room in the UnitedStates is one of the most memorable intercultural moments I haveexperienced since I came to the United States. The roommate was aNative American and we joined the University in the same year. Theroommate used to discuss sex topics from time to time. Initially, Ithought that the roommate was obscene because such controversialtopics are not discussed in public. However, I later noticed that theAmerican culture, unlike the Chinese culture allows people to discusscontroversial topics freely and express their personal opinions. Theroommate preferred direct confrontation and criticism, which madecommunication difficult. This was mainly caused by interculturaldifference where the Chinese avoid direct confrontation whileAmericans believe that confrontation is the best way to resolveproblems. Although I felt offended by the roommates approach, I hadto adjust my values and beliefs to accommodate some aspects of theAmerican culture (Zimmermann 1).
Understandingand appreciating the fact that people from different culturalbackgrounds have different values and beliefs is the most effectiveway of promoting a successful intercultural encounter (Colombo 3).This helped me live in harmony with my American roommate whoseculture seems parallel with the Chinese culture in many aspects.
Inconclusion, cultural differences are some of the key communicationbarriers between people from different cultural backgrounds. TheAmerican and the Chinese cultures differ in many and this makes theinteraction between Americans and the Chinese difficult, especiallyto individuals without a prior experience with cultures differentfrom their own. This describes my experience in the United Statesafter living in China in the whole of my childhood and teenage.Appreciating the existence of cultural differences is the easiest wayof bridging cultural differences and accommodating people who comefrom different cultural backgrounds.
Colombo,W. Reflectionsfrom teachers of culturally diverse children.Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, 2005. Print.
Gardenswartz,L. and Rowe, A. Understandingtheir own culture and appreciate other cultures.Champaign, IL: University of Illinois, 2004. Print.
McGee,C. and Banks, J. Multiculturaleducation. NeedhamHeights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2014. Print.
Zimmermann,K. What is culture? Definition of culture. LiveScience.July 09. 2012. Web. September 5 2014.