Putting On My Best Face

This past week has been filled with a variety of illuminating and surprising pieces of information but, the one piece of information that has surprised me the most is the lengths Chinese people will go to save face. When Jason talked about how lying is acceptable even if it is obvious to the recipient just to save one’s face really surprised me. In America, lying purposefully to someone’s face is considered extremely rude and untrustworthy and would generally limit your connections with others but, in China this act boosts one’s “Guanxi”. This just goes to show that China is a whole different world when it comes to interactions with others and will be something I have to deal with and work on.

In contrast, there are some similarities one that I will mention is the diversity that China has. Before this past week, I thought China was not diverse at all but in reality, they have 55 different ethnic minorities that they recognize! That is something I thought I would have never heard. Although, the minorities will not be as easy to spot as it is in America because in China they do not think of minorities as different race’s.

Another difference culturally between the US and China would be our relationships with our form of government. In China, they view their government as a sort of paternal figure that is a part of their family while we view our government as a corrupt figure that is always intruding on our privacy. Because of this difference, Jason told us to not talk about the Chinese government at all when engaging in conversation with Chinese people as they would view it as an attack on their “father”.

During my time in China, all of the difference I have listed in this journal will impact my interactions professional and in my daily life while living in China. When I am out with Chinese friends I will have to be careful of what I say about their government and be ok with lying. While professionally, I will have to be ok with not always receiving proper critique due to the whole idea of losing face if criticizing someone in public. All in all, I am very excited to leave for China in the upcoming days and if it was not for the differences between our two culture’s I would not be as excited as I am at this very moment.

Connor Breslin

Connor Breslin

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