Breaking through walls on the Great Wall

One event that has shed light on Chinese culture for me was the hiking trip up the great wall. I felt closest to their culture on this trip. Instead of just walking through a touristy district and shopping, we got  off the beaten path where most individuals are not allowed to go with individuals that made us feel like family.

When we first got to the base camp on the great wall, we ate in a traditional hutong. When we were waiting for the food to arrive, I was observing all that was around me and I could imagine what it could be like to have multiple generations of families living under one roof, something we do not experience in America. Even as our whole group came together to enjoy a meal, it felt as if we were just one big family enjoying the day. Everyone on the wall hiking and accomplishing the goal of getting to the top made it feel to me like we were growing closer with one another and breaking down the barriers between the group as well as the culture. After the strenuous hike up, the views of the wall and the mountain range was one of the most surreal experiences in my life. After the hike at the Chinese barbecue, Noodles and his wife were gracious hosts and really opened the barrier I had with the Chinese culture. Not only did we have amazing food, but talking with Noodles made me realize even though our countries have significant cultural differences, we still are humans and have the same kind of thoughts, ideas, hobbies, and goals. I remember specifically a group of us were talking to noodles about basketball and the players we were interested in, as well as the sports we like to play.

One of my first impressions before coming to China was that there would be lots of strict rules and the government would be very involved in our lives here, due to being a communist country. That is not the case. Yes, the government has a lot of power here, but if you are a law-abiding citizen and go about your normal life, you will honestly never have to deal with the government. It is a very peaceful culture here with a respect for authority, something that is lacking in America. I have seen much more problems dealing with this subject in the US versus in China, even though in the US there is more freedom and rights for the people, something I would not expect.

Another impression I had before coming here is that the language barrier would be a little easier to deal with. Since English is the business language of the world, I was expecting more of the citizens here to know or speak English, but I was wrong. I was also expecting It would be easier to communicate with the people with translators, but it is much more difficult than I thought it to be. With romance languages, there is some common theme between our language, but with Mandarin, it is completely foreign and is much harder to pick up in my opinion. Hopefully with the upcoming Mandarin lessons I’m going to take, I will learn more than the few words I barely know. making it easier to communicate

For the future, I would like to know why Chinese culture is much more introverted than the US culture.


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