by Neil Tanner
As I reflect on my journey in Beijing, I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn from another culture that is very different from the one I was raised with, but it’s great to see that some things are the same wherever you go in the world. I believe its important to try to understand those who perceptually differ from us so that we can understand the root of our differences while seeing how we see eye to eye. It’s also great to see things done a different way so that we can expand and diversify our thought process for making future decisions. As we learned about the different social problems occurring in China, we could draw similarities to experiences from America and use that knowledge to come up with solutions never thought of before. We also could use the research of what current entrepreneurs are doing to solve problems to give us a different perspective on how to solve problems and hopefully use that influence to solve problems in America.
I appreciated the patience, modesty, and hospitality that I received in China. Too often in America, we become very impatient with those who cannot speak English. This was my first time being in a non-English speaking country so now I have a better idea of what the other side feels like. Chinese citizens were very patient with me and my classmates while trying to order food at restaurants get directions on the subway, or trying to start a conversation with a stranger. This barrier has also made me more confident in my ability to survive in diverse situations with the confidence that I can still communicate enough to survive in another country.
The modesty of Chinese civilians could be seen on a everyday basis. Americans often over indulge in everything, which happened to be the opposite in China. Many of the civilians we met came from humble beginnings and appreciated what they had so much more than the average American. We often take what we want, while they took what they needed. Even the meals were modest in comparison to American meals, smaller in proportion but diverse in selection. I was very shocked with the open arms that I felt from the Chinese, as they were often more willing to get to know us, than we to them! The want to learn from others is a very valuable thing that we take for granted every day. Hopefully I can take what I learned during my tenure in Beijing in apply to my everyday life in America.