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Reverse Culture Shock

Popularity 10Viewed 12167 times 2015-9-23 15:22 |Personal category:China vs. USA|System category:Life| america, culture shock, usa and china

Before returning home to the US this summer, people warned me I might experience “reverse culture shock.” I didn’t have any terrible experiences, but they were right! After living in China for a year there were things about home that surprised me.


--I found myself always talking way louder than I should have. I guess I’ve gotten used to shouting over the dozens of people that surround me at any given moment in China. People were also shushing me in public places.

--I forgot that other people could speak English. I know it’s a terrible habit, but I really did develop the practice of talking about whatever I wanted whenever I wanted with my English-speaking friends. After all, most of the people walking by can’t understand you, right? Unfortunately in America, if you say something like, “Whoa, look at that guy’s hair!”, chances are he will definitely understand what you’re saying.

--I cringed at the price of my phone bill. Really, America?! Why does phone service cost so much? I got used to China's “pay as you go” prices.

--I was appalled at the lack of public transportation. This one really did kill me. I LOVE China’s public transportation system. I could live here for 10 years and never buy a car and still get everywhere I needed to go. This summer I kept having to ask people for rides. It was terribly annoying.

 

Finally, the biggest shock came when I started watching a bit of TV. As I watched American celebrities and politicians, I began to understand why people from other countries make fun of mine. I watched just a few minutes of the VMAs (Video Music Awards) and I was so embarrassed that these celebrities are the way that Americans are represented to the rest of the world! From what they were wearing (or not wearing) to what they were saying, they were completely out of control. Add that to the comments made by certain presidential candidates and it’s little wonder why the US is often laughed at around the world.  


--Kelli 凯丽

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Comment Comment (21 comments)

Reply Report Igo 2015-9-24 10:35
"I found myself always talking way louder than I should have" ---------- THAT'S HILARIOUS!!!
Reply Report seanboyce88 2015-9-24 11:20
So are you home for good or are you coming back?
Reply Report Dracarys 2015-9-24 12:25
America's transportation system is that bad ?
Reply Report seneca 2015-9-24 12:55
There should be more people like you that experience a sort of "What? Is that my home country?" effect on them. The U.S.A. needs a lot of changes and improvements.
Reply Report enlighting 2015-9-24 22:53
Nice to see your perspective on cultural shock.
Reply Report voice_cd 2015-9-25 09:13
Thanks for sharing your opinion here. We have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report kellivschina 2015-9-26 13:26
seanboyce88: So are you home for good or are you coming back?
Nope, I'm actually back in China now. Just popped home for a short visit (mostly for my best friend's wedding).
Reply Report kellivschina 2015-9-26 13:27
Dracarys: America's transportation system is that bad ?
In major cities like New York it's a lot better. I live close to Portland, OR which also has a pretty good metro system. But unless you live in a big city, reliable public transportation is practically nonexistant.
Reply Report kellivschina 2015-9-26 13:27
voice_cd: Thanks for sharing your opinion here. We have highlighted your blog.
Thanks, Voice!
Reply Report kellivschina 2015-9-26 13:37
seneca: There should be more people like you that experience a sort of "What? Is that my home country?" effect on them. The U.S.A. needs a lot of ch ...
Thanks! I agree. I think it's important to be able to look at your country objectively. There are plenty of Americans who have the mistaken idea that their country is perfect.
Reply Report kellivschina 2015-9-26 13:39
Igo: "I found myself always talking way louder than I should have" ---------- THAT'S HILARIOUS!!!
And embarrassing at times...mainly just for the other people with me!  
Reply Report Dracarys 2015-9-26 16:21
kellivschina: In major cities like New York it's a lot better. I live close to Portland, OR which also has a pretty good metro system. But unless you live in a big  ...
wow .. I think American's transportation system is all good everywhere ..
Reply Report Igo 2015-9-26 18:32
kellivschina: And embarrassing at times...mainly just for the other people with me!   
You never know how many times I was embarrassed by my fellow Chinese when I was in the public library, in the art gallery, in the museum, in the concert, just any where, you name it. Yes, most of those are mid-agers or seniors, youngsters are relatively close to what I am. But still, we, as a whole nation, have a long way to go. And this, is not one separate and single matter. Before, Chinese were not like this, they were quiet, low-voiced, polite, manner-oriented, sophisticated, etc. But when Mao came into power and launced his Cultural Revolution in 1966, Chinese were no longer Chinese any more. Those mid-aged and senior Chinese are still living in Mao's era in spirit world.
Reply Report seanboyce88 2015-9-27 10:34
kellivschina: Nope, I'm actually back in China now. Just popped home for a short visit (mostly for my best friend's wedding).
Still in Beijing? If I ever head down there, We shall need to grab a coffee  

You are also welcome to come visit Harbin, winter has the ice festival which is pretty spectacular
Reply Report seanboyce88 2015-9-27 10:36
Also, I was going to say, the VMA's are bad, but some of the others are good. Oscars is one I quite enjoy (Even if I do disagree with their choices a lot)
Reply Report kellivschina 2015-9-29 18:50
seanboyce88: Still in Beijing? If I ever head down there, We shall need to grab a coffee   

You are also welcome to come visit Harbin, winter has the ice fe ...
Actually, I live in Jiangsu province...a bit far from Beijing! I have heard good thing about Harbin and would love to visit. I'm just not sure I can handle the winter up there...  
Reply Report teamkrejados 2015-9-29 20:11
Dracarys: America's transportation system is that bad ?
In some parts of the country, mass transit doesn't exist!
Reply Report Dracarys 2015-9-29 21:49
teamkrejados: In some parts of the country, mass transit doesn't exist!
Oh.. I thought American's transportation system is all good .
Reply Report seanboyce88 2015-9-30 09:42
kellivschina: Actually, I live in Jiangsu province...a bit far from Beijing! I have heard good thing about Harbin and would love to visit. I'm just not sure I can h ...
I don't know why I thought you lived in Beijing....

Now off to baidu jiangsu province haha. My Chinese geography is not too sharp
Reply Report kellivschina 2015-10-9 21:43
Eh, it's okay. I still can never remember if my city is north or south of Shanghai.

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