何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

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American Youth on college Life (6) 精选

已有 6697 次阅读 2009-11-30 11:13 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:海外观察

Fornew readers and those who request to be “好友 good friends” please read my 公告first.

(This article is a part of a continuing series on US college experience for Chinese student coming first time to the US for undergraduate studies by my Grandson, Daniel Kim.)
           I believe the number one assumption that Asian people run into in America is as to what type of Asian they are. For instance I am half Chinese and half Korean and born in America. I have been asked if I am Chinese, Japanese, or Korean more times than I can count. So somewhere along the way, someone may think that you are Korean or Japanese, or ask if you are Korean or Japanese. I assume that most of you are mature, therefore this likely need not be said, but do not be offended by this. Most of the people you meet will not ask to be offensive, they are merely asking because they cannot tell the difference between the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. A common joke in America is that “All Asians look alike.” However, as I said, most people will ask not to be offensive, rather they will ask so they do not offend you later.
           More important than assumptions though, is the political and social climate. The difference between China and America is vast in this respect. On the whole, American people are much more outspoken. Everyone has an opinion. Almost every opinion differs in some way. This is because of the wonderful freedoms we are allowed in America, to say things, write things, that would get you imprisoned or worse in some countries. For this reason, many Chinese immigrants are often shocked or offended by Americans. It is one of my main worries when writing these articles, because I know that I grew up in a culture much different than the one I am writing for.
           I find this to be of particular importance now, as China grows as a world power. The US is wary of China and China is wary of the US. You will find that many Americans your age are deeply passionate about the issues and politics in the world. Particularly many condemn China for its government which they see as oppressive and unfair. On the whole, Americans are much freer with their thoughts than Chinese people are and this can take some getting used to.
           Lastly, the social aspect. When I see Chinese students come to America, they are often very shy and quiet. It is only natural, you are in a foreign country, with a different culture, and the people are very opinionated. Therefore here are just a few tips. Speak up, do not mumble or talk to the floor. You may be insecure about your English, but do not let that keep you from being heard. Make eye contact when speaking. Also when you meet people for the first time, it is polite to state your name and shake their hand firmly. Note that I mean firmly. If you have a handshake like a dead fish, you should put more power into it. Also do not expect the other person to always introduce themselves first or shake hands first. If nobody says anything, then take initiative. Say hello, say your name, say it’s nice to meet you, and then stick out your hand for a handshake.
           Also one more thing. If you meet another Chinese student, you may be tempted to lapse into Chinese and talk with them entirely, thus ignoring the other people around you. I would advise you not to do this as it is kind of rude. The people will feel left out because they don’t speak Chinese. You are in America. Use this opportunity to speak English whenever you can, even if it is uncomfortable to you. There is nothing more annoying to see two people laughing and conversing in front of you and have no idea what they are saying.


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