Today I want to reflect on a new cultural perspective I have gained. Additionally, I believe I have learned more about the overall nature of all cultures. Since half of my time in China is over, I definitely hope to learn as much from the second half as from the first. I will first preface my learning experience by stating some of the experiences I have been through. Mostly these experiences are about the hospitality and goodness of the people in China.
When we first got to China, it was definitely apparent many people, especially children, do not see or interact with a lot of westerners or “white people” very often. Sometimes we hear “Meiguo Ren Meiguo Ren!” or Americans, from children we encounter. Although this is true, they were always very kind to us. As we went to school and met students, they were very friendly to us. I will sometimes play basketball at a campus court and the other students from the various universities will always invite me to come play with them. They are always so inviting. Sometimes shy to approach but always so friendly. One of my first friends who spoke enough English get through a conversation, while I was struggling to communicate at all, invited myself as well as asking if the other interns would like to go, to dinner. He made sure our glasses were full and always explained the various dishes. He also insisted he pay for the meal. This was not my only encounter like this either. Another major experience was when I stayed in the home of Holly’s family, my Chinese friend, for the national holiday in Xining, Qinghai. They would get up early to make sure we had breakfast. They sacrificed sleeping in the living room so my roommate and I could have our own rooms. They made sure we ate very well and tended to all our potential needs or comforts. They were so generous and hospitable. Like I stated, I constantly go through experiences similar to this. This is very common.
To summarize what I have learned about all cultures and what I believe to be humanity as well, is the goodness in all people. Though I think we get stigmas, preconceived notions, or generalizations about various cultures and groups of people, I have come to believe that most cultures want to treat others with kindness. From the outside China and America or Asia and Western Culture are much different, and there are definitely differences, but both have so many similarities. The one I have experienced is the good nature and hospitality. Both cultures want their guests to feel warm and welcome. Both would set aside or sacrifice personal luxuries for the comfort of another. I have experienced this America but most definitely experienced this in China.
I hope to learn as much from this second half of this semester compared to the first, but more importantly, I hope I can have a new level of appreciation and generosity for those I will have the opportunity to do for what others have done to me.