During this meeting, I wanted to focus on how companies that are both based in the United States and in China are both similar and different. When I asked her about what she could think of first, McDonalds of course was the first thing that came to mind.
Five years ago my cousin taught English in China. She would talk about just how different the food is. Of course we have all heard rumors. Cats instead of chickens, weird creepy crawly food things on a stick. Yes, they have them. I asked what was the weirdest, and starfish was the one that came up first. I love starfish. I could NEVER eat one.
Surprisingly enough, the McDonald’s in China look very similar, almost identical to the one’s in the United States. I am sure it is the company trying to give the same experience to everyone but we were both very surprised at this. She said the only thing that was noticeably different was the food served. Of course there are some signature McDonald’s items that cannot be taken off the menu, but they also add a lot to the Asian menu to make it more appealing.
Some aspects I was surprised with include:
- Filet-o-fish is actually fried shrimp not a fish patty
- Breakfast Pasta Soup with Egg and Sausage
- Seaweed Seasoned Fries
- Green Tea Ice Cream
As we have previously talked about in class, it is very important for companies to be up to date with what is popular in each individual company if they want to go internationally.
One thing that I was VERY surprised about was that just recently Asian companies added rice to their McDonald’s menu. Everyone knows that rice is very popular in Asian cultures so I was shocked that it was not added earlier.
I have learned a lot about how to approach different cultures by doing this assignment. I realized even more then I already knew that every culture truly is different and that it is crucial to get to know thier culture very well if you want to do international business with them.
There are a lot of ways things we do here in America are seen differently in China. Whether it be how we act, respect we have for others or just our general actions. My friend and I had a very interesting conversation on how she sees us in America and how she views the decisions we have made.
Being compltely new to this culture, she has the best point of view to be able to talk about all of those differences. After hanging out in my apartment for almost an entire afternoon, she opened my eyes even more to the way we as Americans treat not ony others but ourselves.
We first started talking a lot about her friends and family in China. Some of them have more money then others, but it never shows in conversation. In China, having respect for each other is so important. I was left a bit confused when she first brought this up because I know what I believe, and I know that I personally see everyone as an equal. Even in a work setting when I interact with my boss I see them as an equal that is willing to help with anything. However, she mentioned a lot about how she sees people all over campus groups of friends that are of equal standing trying to act “cooler” or “more important” then others. For example, her first, and most obvious example was the sports teams and jocks. They walk around campus like they own the place. That to her is a very unattractive quality because although she sees them as her equal, she will always know they wont see her the same way.
What else was interesting is the morals that the Chinese culture has. She pointed out marriage specifically. Getting married in China before age 25 is looked down on and very discouraged. We all know teenagers that are getting married way to young and having kids way to young. Dating in China is not suppose to even start until your in your twenties. We did have a bit of an intense conversation about this one because I have a few friends that had babies and got married befor age twenty. Did I agree with thier decisions at the time? Definitely not. But seeing them now, some five years later, happy and in love, I support every decision they make. You cant tell someone to hold off on loving someone. She understood what I was saying, but still believed that she was right in this situation.
This is the perfect example of having to accept different cultures. We all come in it with a different view on certain topics. As PR majors I think it is crucial to have an open mind and be willing to see the other side.
I did notice in our meeting that she was not at all interested in seeing my side as an American. Maybe it is the differences in the way we were raised, but I would have at least hoped that she would be willing to listen and consider what I had to say. I think that is another difference I see in the American culture and Chinese culture. I know that a lot of my friends and people I have met were raised to be open to other cultures. We are taught at a very young age to be comfortable with the differences we all have. Maybe because we are surrounded by this huge melting pot full of different cultures.
Time is something that we as Americans take for granted. I cant even tell you how many times in the past I have put assignments and stuff on hold to do things that now seem unimportant and stupid. This as we all know is call procrastination. Putting things off, thinking of ANYTHING else that can be done instead of doing the work. Thankfully this semester I have leaned away from all of that.
Time is a very important aspect of the Chinese work culture. Many meetings between businesses are expected to be planned at least a month in advance in writing. This is so different between or culture because we are usually the ones to send someone an email about a meeting that can occur within the week. I have emailed professors countless of times asking if I can come meet with them the next day.
Another aspect of time is to be on time to the meeting, if not early. I know plenty of people that strongly believe in the “Better late then never” philosophy of life. But I also know people, including myself, that would rather get to my destination 15 minutes early, then be late. Talking to my partner, I would be ideal in the Chinese culture.
Reasons why I am early:
- I hate awkwardly walking into a meeting or class and have everyone stare
- I hate wasting not only my time but the time I am borrowing from other people
- Its just flat out rude to be late unless there is an issue or something happening
Time and punctuality are very important to the Chinese culture. Being on time is considered a virtue, and arriving late can cause the company to lose respect for you. When starting out a new partnership, it is important to consider ALL of their common business etiquette to ensure that you have a good relationship from the start. My advice..DO YOUR RESEARCH.
When interacting with any culture, it is important to be aware how nonverbal cues can affect the interaction between you and the person you are meeting. We in America tend to be very over dramatic when we talk. I know that I use my hands A LOT when I talk. But it is not okay when people get in my “personal bubble”. I like maintaining a tiny distance when talking to you.
I wanted to talk to Jenny about non-verbal cues in China so I decided to make a list because she made a few important points. These are cues that I was shocked with, and also not surprised with.
- Chinese show more affection to the same gender. If two males are best friends that put their arms around each others shoulders. If two females are best friends they hold hands. This was surprising to me because typically in America we do that when we are dating someone. I have never walked into a store holding my best girlfriends hand. It could be taken completely different here.
- Couples do not show affection. This is TOTALLY opposite of Americans. We have all walked past that awkward couple saying goodbye to each other.
- Touching another person’s head is considered to be the most disrespectful gesture.
- be prepared for random people approaching to you and asking to practice their English. This I found to be kind of funny. There have actually been many occasions in TETC when an ESL student has asked me very random questions. Now this may sound weird, but I think it is kind of cool that they use us to practice. I can admit that I forget that not every person is confident with the English language since it has been pushed into my mind since I was able to talk.
Another cue that we talked about was when entering a Chinese home or temple, you have to take your shoes off. She said people in her culture do this as a sign of respect.
I also asked about table manners. My roommate told me that they way they eat even has different customs. Some of the ones we talked about include:
- LEARN TO USE CHOPSTICKS. This is very important. Especially in China.
- Try everything offered to you.
- Chinese people typically make slurping and belching sounds. I told her that this is considered very rude and obnoxious to some Americans. She said in China is a sign of respect.
It is so important to know the cues of other cultures when going to that country personally. Every culture has different beliefs and customs.
As I walked into TETC today to meet my new friend. I had an idea of the topic I wanted to cover today. I wanted to focus on getting to know more about how companies get the word out and keep the country up to date. Unfortunately when I arrived, my partner was know where to be found. I was able to get a hold of her and she forgot about our meeting so we rescheduled it for tomorrow. So instead of posting about our interaction for the week, I wanted to address goal number 1: Understanding the culture I live in and how we as Americans make assumptions about others.
In chapter 6 (Guidlines for Successful Intercultural or International Public Relations) of our text book, it mentions how important it is to understand the differences to have a peaceful environment. In order to achieve this we as individuals have to be open to new cultures and willing to accept some change. “A crucial part of community development is learning to deal constructively with the conflict that will inevitably emerge.”
If I have learned anything so far in this course is that cultures really do have different beliefs and views. Things we do here in America are things other cultures would look down on. What amazes me is just how different each culture sees the other. Now I know we do A LOT of things that are so unknown to other countries. It is so important to get to know a culture that are considering doing international work with. There are so many differences that need to be taken into consideration. Even something so small as to where we put our hands at the dinner table.
Casual Social Relationships/Task vs. Relationship Orientation Examples:
- In China, social relationships are very formal and are very comfortable with people of higher authority. However, in America we tend to stay with our social class and avoid people of authority.
- People in China tend to honor time. They tend to look towards the long term future. As far as Americans are concerned, we tend to keep our eye on the near future. We tend to not look back, but not look to far ahead either.
- The Chinese culture is very relationship oriented. It is important to maintain positive relationships. This is more important to them then any other goal or issue that comes up. However, Americans are very task oriented. We work more and care less about relationships. I grew up in a family where my mom worked all of the time. I can definitely relate to this one.
If i have truly learned anything this semester its that Americans are not looked at with the highest quality or best reputations. My new friend has even said in the past that we are looked at by them not very well. She sees that we move so fast, and work so hard, and yet a lot of Americans she has come across don’t treat friends that well. I was very happy when she told me that she enjoyed hanging out with me because I have taken the time to get ot know her and her culture. I responded and said it has been enjoyable getting to know the Chinese culture as well. I think it is very easy to get caught up in our every day lives and forget that there’s things in life that are more important then a paycheck. We need to appreciate all of the good we as Americans are given.
I have come to really get to know a lot about my new friends culture. I recently met my new friend in Starbucks to get to know even more about her and her culture.
I made it an important point mentally going into this time to really learn more about the importance of media and how the internet is used in a foreign culture. In the United States, we use the internet for EVERYTHING. Keeping in touch with social media, making reservations, email, company complaints. You name it, we can use the internet for it.
So automatically I asked my new friend what the internet was like for her and the other people in her culture. I was not at all surprised when she said that the internet was used a lot of the time for booking domestic hotels. We use this feature of the internet all the time. Whether it be for hotels, rental cars, or even reserving our spot for a concert or show. We use internet in a lot of the same ways.
I did however find it so interesting when we talked about social media and its role in the Chinese culture. Here in the United States it seems as though anything goes when it comes to the internet. There really is not any big restrictions and anyone can post anything at any time. However, in China the government has a lot more control over what can and cannot be posted on the internet. Basically, if the Chinese government doesn’t approve of what you’re doing, you’re not going to be successful in China.
After our meeting, I did a little bit more research online about what websites are allowed and which are banned in the Chinese culture. I found the website bellow and realized that Facebook, the social media I use most, is not used in China.
I encourage you all to take a look and see if the sites you use most can be used in China!
I was able to meet my new friend this morning in hopes to find out what the major challenges have been for her in her transition from her home country of China to her new environment in the United States.
I kind of forget that people from other countries do not know the English language. Crazy right? How could I forget that? Probably because we are surrounded by it and it is all I have ever known. I grew up in a family that spoke it, and have surrounded myself with people that use it as their primary language. However for Jenny, learning the language we are so familiar with has been a very big challenge for her.
I never really realized how hard it was until we started talking about it. As I thought about it I realized just how confusing this language really is! For example, their and there. Sound exactly the same. Almost look the same. But mean something totally different. How many other words do we have that are like that?! I never really thought about it until asking Jenny.
Just finding American friends. She said that people look at her and her friends like they are from another planet. She said that many people get thrown off because they speak mostly in their language. She has gotten the impression that people are threatened or thrown off by that. I told her honestly that it is intimidating for us to walk up to someone of a different culture and that hardly knows our language. Her response? “We want to make friends to!”
What did I learn from this meeting? That they are here to learn and grow. In order to do that we need to accept that just as much as they are accepting us and our culture!
I am very relived to be able to say that I found a new friend.
I was riding on the shuttle coming from UP and she sat right across from me. I was a little bit nervous but said hello and she was very friendly. I asked her where she was from and how she liked it here. She was a bit shy considering a random person was asking about her but warmed up very quickly.
She said that she is really missing home but her experience so for in Salisbury has been very eventful. She spoke very highly of parties that she has gone to and her first time going to an American party. The hardest part however has been finding new friends that are willing to be patient with her as she makes her new adjustments.
We got off the shuttle and she was going to class and so was I but I got her number after explaining a little bit about the assignment and will be seeing her again Monday for lunch!
I am very interested to get to know her on a more personal level and get to know the culture that she comes from.
I was a little bit hesitant to meet with one of the international students. I was unsure of how I was going to go about it, and two weeks in I am still hesitant. I have had a pretty rough time trying to find my new friend.
I walked into TETC thinking I will do this! I walked into the cyber cafe found a table full of international students I walked up and said hello and not a single person looked up at me. I realized in that moment that language barrier was a lot more apparent then I thought. I said hello again, realized it was a lost cause at that point, and walked away.
My second attempt was on the shuttle bus. I was awkwardly the only person on the bus one afternoon and we got to the University Village (UV) bus stop and a very nice looking girl got on the bus. I said hello and polity asked if they were apart of the international students program and the young girl said yes very hesitantly. I talked to her about the assignment and that I was interested in getting to know her culture and she seemed very excited. I also asked if she would be willing to meet me to hang out at a certain time and plus and she said of course! I got to TETC to meet her……and she never came.
I am still frustrated with how this assignment is going but I am still trying to make a contact with them. Maybe a trip to the international building is in my future so I can ask for some advice!
Wish me luck!