Don’t say “No”

The most shocking aspect of Chinese culture was the idea that directly saying “no” could be insulting. Here in America, saying “no” is a part of life, and it is usually encouraged. In fact, in business, by saying no to the offers that you don’t like, you get closer to the one that you will say “yes” to. I am usually very forward about my answers, so I say “no” plenty of times. In China, I will have to resist the urge and use phrases like “maybe” or “I’ll think about it.”

I found it really interesting how they value respect so heavily. The Chinese value hierarchy, so the highest respect goes to the leader or boss. In America, the boss is respected, but he usually interacts with employees almost casually. The boss in America wants to be accepted by those he leads so he shows the employees how much he cares about them. This seems more like a double-sided relationship. In China, the boss has the highest power and employees don’t get to talk to him as easily as here in America. This will be especially hard for me in china because if I want to communicate something to the boss then I have to go through the entire hierarchy of employees to communicate something to him.

I thought the fact that Mao Zedong is on every single bill, except the least important one, was interesting. I wonder if people will publically praise him. This won’t affect me at all but I am just curious. The fact that I learned so much about him will allow me to understand why he is praised over there.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect that I learned about was gift giving. It is common for people to give gifts every time they go to someone’s house, and even randomly. Considering that most of the time this is done to develop a relationship with the other person, I think that it is a little selfish. However, in China, this is the culture. I will be gifting anything I can, from tangible goods to favors to compliments. Here in the States, we usually wait for special days to give gifts, but in China, it feels like any day could be a gift giving or receiving day.

Jorge Alvarez

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