Editor’s note: Living in a culture that is different from your own can be both an exciting and challenging experience. You have to learn different cultural practices and try to adapt to them. Our bloggers share the top six cultural differences between China and the US to help promote mutual understanding. You’re welcome to leave your comments.
Chinese people do not have the same concept of privacy as Americans do. They talk about topics such as ages, income or marital status, which Americans think is annoying and intrusive.
In China, elders are traditionally treated with enormous respect and dignity while the young are cherished and nurtured. In America, the goal of the family is to encourage independence, particularly that of the children. Unlike the Chinese, older Americans seldom live with their children.
Chinese people have different meanings to define friends. Just hanging out together time to time is not friendship. Friendship means lifelong friends who feel deeply obligated to give each other whatever help might seem required. Americans always call people they meet friends, so the definition of friends is general and different. There are work friends, playing friends, school friends and drinking friends.
As is well known, the Chinese like to save. They are always conservative when they are planning to spend money. It is different in the USA, where far fewer families are saving money for emergencies and education than their Chinese counterparts.
Chinese people value education and career more than Americans, who in turn put more emphasis on good character and faith.
6. Collectivism vs. Individualism
Basically China values the community and the US values the individual. If you achieve something in the US, it’s because you were great. While in China, if you achieve something in China it’s because the team, or family, or company is great. Everything you do gets attributed to the greater whole, while in America individual merits are celebrated.