“Survival of the Fittest”

After one week of emerging myself into Chinese culture, I am proud to say I have already learned a lot, and I have not even arrive to China yet. It is very interesting to me how one’s perception of another country is always on the surface, but you won’t realize it until you sit and think about how other nations view your very own country. I once had a foreign exchange student tell me that before arriving to the United States, he thought Corndogs were very popular in our diet, and he was so excited to have one. However, having lived in the United States my whole life, I’ve only ever had a Corndog maybe twice, and I would not know where to get one at the moment if I had a craving. I am excited to go to China, and discover if any, and which of my current perceptions are just an ideology.

Studying the culture of China prior to traveling, was very informative and influential. I was extremely intrigued by how in China standing out is not always desirable. Wearing bright colors, and doing things out of the norm and status-quo are not highly suggested. Whereas, here in the U.S, I feel like we celebrate the theme of individualism. Most marketing campaigns push people to be unique, and different, even if it may be weird. It is very interesting to me, because I feel like we are raised and taught this idea of “survival of the fittest” and we are constantly competing to survive and stand out above everyone else. For example; even on US flights, the safety guide addresses you to put on your safety mask first, before helping others, even your own children.  I learned that in China, individuals are raised with the idea of collectivism, and doing things for the better of not only yourself, but the group in its entirety. It is better to match, and work as a group than have one individual constantly being one step ahead of everyone else. These concepts have already starting influencing me when it comes to deciding what to pack. I’ve always been someone who expresses themselves through their wardrobe, and jumps on the next trend. However, now I am packing more neutral colors, and going with classic designs and basic outfits which is actually quite refreshing. In a professional setting, I feel like these concepts will impact my experience in a positive matter. I expect to be more aware and in sync with my co-workers on a daily basis. I hope that although I may be foreign in China, that in the work place I am accepted in the group and permitted to take on the collective approach in daily decisions. I am excited to experience these differences, and will make sure to blog them back to my readers. Until next time!

-Carolina Hammoud

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