Day 2 – March 22, 2015
I think any kind of cultural exchange or even visiting a new country for tourism helps you learn a lot of things. For one, you become more self aware, more self conscious of what’s happening around you, you look for sign boards, you prepare in advance, you make sure you have options when making plans in case of emergencies. The good thing about leaving home is that you no longer have a safe haven to lean on. You eliminate laziness and you become more proactive. The even better thing about travelling abroad is that you come to realize that all humans are the same, only bounded by different cultures. You start to understand the meaning behind stereotypes and avoid ambiguous discrimination against people.
Last night I had a nice long nap and found myself waking up at 11:30AM. I guess I needed to get rid of my jet lag. My roommate, Nastya (National VP Operations) and I decided to go take a bite at the coffee shop around the corner. We had a nice long chat about how the Chinese are uniquely different people. We went on for 5 hours and didn’t realize how quickly time had passed by! We had a discussion about The Circle.
The Circle is a cultural aspect that relates to a group of friends who share all their resources among each other. Understanding the reasoning and cultural implication of this can help exchangers out there. It’s common for exchange students to feel left out with new friends they make. It is because of the phenomenon mentioned above. It’s not because they don’t like you. It’s simply because they are trying to understand and get to know you completely before they become your close friend. Another important aspect of the Chinese culture is that they are meticulously organized and take excellent care of their health. The yin and yang contemplates between ‘hotness’ and ‘coldness’ per se in terms of health. The Chinese believe that the human body needs an equal distribution of nutrients from food that cools you down when needed and warms you up when there’s an imbalance. It is simply their way of life. Even the Chinese characters in Pinyin describes the beautiful harmony between words. The way a word is formed is by combining two or three aspects of the describing word.
For example, the meaning ‘volcano’ is implied by combining the words ‘mountain’ and ‘fire’. We often make claims that China is not a democratic country but the way in which it is set up is simply because the Chinese live their lives this way. It is rather beautiful to understand it’s culture.
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