Read the views on the USA of a 25 year-old girl from Taiwan, whose
first experience of ‘abroad’ was as a student in Michigan. A lot of cross-cultural differences between those two cultures! Mindy (Min-Yi Chang) is now back home and reflects on her time in the US. Here are the two extracts I found the most interesting – from the blog post on Pocket Cultures which is always an enjoyable and insightful read.

What were your first impressions of the USA? Did they turn out to be true or false?

Wow! I can write another five pages about my impression of the USA. Simply said there are three categories: The people, geography, and the culture.

Before going I had heard about the racial discrimination, the legalized guns, party, drugs, bigger ice creams, different teaching style, huge steaks, CNN and Hollywood before I came to USA. Those are pretty much superficial things. My school is in East Lansing, Michigan, where over 85% residents are Caucasians (and most of them are Christians). It’s a rather simple and peaceful place, but I didn’t encounter racial issues and most people I met are friendly. But things are not the same in New York, Las Vegas, or California. I went to those places and I experienced more diversity in those cities, and I experienced some of what I’ve seen in the movies in those places. There was a man who tried to rob my dinner in the subway and there was a clerk who pretended she couldn’t understand what I was saying and refused to sell a Coke to me. A policeman even shouted at one of my girlfriends because she forgot to turn on her headlight after 6pm (but the sun wasn’t even set then).

I’ve seen the positive parts of American culture. The Americans spend more time in football games and enjoy their lives, when Asians incline to spend time on working. Some Americans are willing to help strangers and they are easy to chat with.

The geography and awesome views also impressed me when I was in U.S. I went to the Yellowstone National Park and Grand Canyon before I returned home. Those breathtaking landscapes inspired me and I made a wish that I’ll travel around the world to see every wonder in the world.

Now you are back in Taiwan, do you see it differently from before? What things seem different?

The first thing is that I learned how much I should appreciate that I can enjoy different food with reasonable prices. Food in Taiwan is way better than in the U.S. and it’s much less expensive. I also know the importance of working hard on conserving the orthodox Chinese culture. People are learning simplified Chinese all over the world, but we all know that the valuable classics and the essence of Chinese culture are based in traditional Chinese. My Chinese friends sometimes pissed me off when they asked me: Why don’t you Taiwanese admit that you are part of China? I know the inevitable trend of investing in China, and I fully support Taiwanese government’s business policies with Mainland China. But it never equals that Taiwan should fail the name “The Republic of China”. I always feel upset when people mix Taiwan with China or when people deny our efforts in international events. I think Taiwanese people should face the situation and really think about a solution rather than pretend they can’t do anything or only leave it as an election issue.

Read the full post now that Mindy is back home.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 12th, 2011 at 11:26 am and is filed under cross-cultural differences, East Asia, General, North America, other interesting stuff . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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