Ihave always been fascinated by different cultures for as long as Ican recall. I have always dreamt of being part of the excitement thatmulticulturalism brings, something that many people find it astruggle to understand. I completed my high school in China from ahumble family and my ambition drove me to the United States ofAmerica to pursue my passion. Exploring new places and people alwayshad the best of me since I was a kid and I always dreamt of going tonew and faraway places in my life. Adjusting to the American life wasnot easy for me at first. This is because my English gave away allthe confidence in speaking with the other students. However, theuniversity community has offered an enabling environment where I amable to learn and explore new cultures. This paper will shed somelight on my personal cultural experience in this multiracial Americansociety.
TheAmerican culture was however very different from Chinese cultures andvalues. One of the most notable practices that got my attention wasthe American culture at the restaurants. Back in China when a groupof people is settled on the same table at the restaurant, it isalways typical for one person to cover the bill for everyone on thetable. This cultural value is highly regarded by the Chinese society,as a priced virtue. However the American culture was totallydifferent as I came to find out one day when I was sharing my tablewith a group of American students. Naturally, I expected one personeither one of them or me to clear the bill, but I was shocked wheneverybody paid his or her own bill. When I inquired why they would dosomething like that I was shocked to learn that it is part of theAmerican culture that I would slowly learn to practice.
Inaddition the American culture usually encourages tipping of waiterswho serve in restaurants or clubs. I was really perturbed at firstwondering whether it was a form of bribery to get good services orexactly what that meant. This is particularly so because back inChina, there is nothing like tipping waiters in restaurants or clubs.Since this was a learning experience for me, I had to ask from theAmerican students who explained to me that it was a gesture ofgratitude or appreciation. This was a common practice in the Americanculture and I honestly found it fascinating and a good value toborrow from them. My understanding was that it was a sign of respectfor somebody’s job irrespective of its nature. There are very manyhardworking individuals who work hard to sustain their families orfind money to cater for their college fees and so tipping them, isonly a good virtue that illustrates appreciation.
Oneof the most significant American cultures in my life was the food andeating culture. Back in China there are wide varieties of foods thatare usually traditional foods that have been passed down from manygenerations. In addition, those foods are eaten in a certain mannerusing particular eating tools. However the American culture promotesthe idea of fast foods in which there are so many types and most ofthese foods seemed new to me.
Iam still struggling with this eating habit that I find a bitunhealthy because of the consequences of lifestyle diseases such asdiabetes or obesity. This can very well explain the reasons why suchlifestyle diseases are on the rise, particularly in the Americansociety. However, I have come to learn why many people prefer thiseating culture. Many students are among the working population andoften are too busy to find time to have their meals from restaurants.There are some students who have more than two jobs and still have toattend classes that make it inevitable from this eating habit.
However,I have to point out that America is a diverse country that is rich incultural experiences from around the world. The American society isquite helpful and understanding towards the international students.The American parents encourage their children to be self reliant theminute they start college. I have witnessed and interacted with manystudents who struggle with more than two jobs and still attend theirclasses so as to pay their tuition or meet their personal needs.Consequently, I have witnessed many American students buy their ownpersonal belongings such as a first car, with their own hard earnedmoney. This really inspired me to be independent and as a result, Imanaged to buy my own car.
TheAmerican experience has been a fulfilling experience in my life as itis very different from life back in China. There are diverse culturesto learn from everyday and we are like one small global communityhere at school. For this reason, I believe that the culturalexperience that I have learnt and still continue to learn will pushme further in understanding the global community as a whole. Thiswill be great for my ambitions in fulfilling my passion in life froma global perspective.
Ingeneral reflection, the choice of topic for this narrative on valuesgave me the a lesson about the importance of intercultural diversity.The American experience provided a chance to brainstorm about myinteractions in America and learn from the past and presentobservations. The exercise also gave me the chance to practice mynarrative skills and to tell more about my culture and me. I was ableto see how my culture influences my perception about other culturesand so influence my interactions. This is particularly significantwhen it comes to understanding my visual designs as well ascollaboration with other people. The narration on the interculturalexperience opened me to a better understanding of my culture, andhelped me to appreciate the cultural practices of other people in mynew environment.