Cultural differences – China
Travelling the world or even studying in depth about a culture is a good way of getting to know a culture alien to you. How do regular people in other side of the world think, how they see things, what they value and how do they communicate. You could say it’s easy to step into their shoes since you already have your set of values and ethics to live by. But that’s too short sighted to say. You really need to study about a different culture not familiar to you if you wish to travel there or even make business with said people.
When I travel to a different culture I always make sure to search as much as I can before arriving. Is it okay to look in the eyes, how to greet locals and in my opinion table manners are a must.
When travelling to China there were many do’s and don’t’s to learn. I even thought if these all were vital to know and since I’ve lived with a Chinese family I questioned some of these rules a bit. I watched numerous documents and videos and some were really different from each other even though the people in these videos were native Chinese citizens. When you’re first travelling to China you shouldn’t be too harsh on yourself if you know the exact manners or not. Just be yourself, be kind and curious, be eager to learn. That’s something I taught my team before arriving to Mainland China.
Since we were business guests on our trip we didn’t know whether to talk business in banquets or not. As we learned, it really does not happen there. During meals we shouldn’t talk business (cyborlink, n.d.). Meals were more like celebrations for our cooperation. And celebrate we did! The banquets included about 20 different dishes so you should try almost everything to show our hosts that we are excited to be with them and show gratitude (cyborlink, n.d.).
Table manners were quite difficult to execute since we knew the host should always start (cyborlink, n.d.) but our friendly host almost always wanted us to start. We of course urged the host to start before following closely behind.
What was interesting in our trip was that every different schedule had to start with a speech and applause. It is very common in Chinese culture to applause when big crowds are involved. Therefore you can probably guess we clapped hands quite many times to show respect. It was quite heart warming they prepared different speeches for us. Also there should always be a “leader” in your group to hold speeches in return and lead your team since Chinese value ranks and status. (cyborlink, n.d.)
Even though I have been to China before this trip was yet again eye opening. Even though I knew quite a lot about Chinese culture beforehand I was still left in awe in most cases. I would say you learn a lot about a culture through Internet but the best way is to actually visit a new country and learn from the locals.
China Business Etiquette, Culture & Manners. N.d. Read 10.12.2019. http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/china.htm
Final Camp project in China. 10-21.10.2019. Luoyang Institute of Science and Technology.