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Why don’t you Americans wear socks and use umbrellas?

My name is Yichen Fu and I am from Zhuhai, China. Zhuhai is a seaside city in southern China. Compared to other cities in China, for example Beijing, it is considered a small city. Growing up there, I learned to appreciate the beauty of nature and the quietness of life.

Speaking about culture shock, the first thing I want to do is to thank the well-developed Internet network. Because of the increasing degree of globalization and technology, people from different countries get to learn about cultures easily through Internet. In my case, as soon as I made the decision that I would study in America, my anxious mother searched online and found me as much information as possible to avoid the appearance of culture shock.

Because of that, I get to learn a lot about America and its culture even before I physically entered this country. I learned that people would say hi to strangers. Also, when they say “how are you” to you, don’t reply by “I am fine, thank you”. However, even though I thought I was well prepared, up to now I am still shocked by two simple facts. First, in the residence halls, Americans prefer wearing socks to wearing shoes. Second, when it rains, Americans don’t use umbrella.

So far, I have seen people wearing socks in the hallways, in the laundry room, in the kitchen and even in the restroom. I noticed this phenomenon during the first week of school. One night, in the kitchen, I saw two girls cooking without wearing shoes. My first instinct was to ask them whether they knew the floor is not that clean and this would make their socks dirty. My astonishment reached its peak when I saw one girl entering the restroom wearing her socks. In China, restrooms are considered the dirtiest place, so it is impossible for anyone to enter the restroom wearing socks instead of putting on their shoes, except when you are using the restroom in your own house.

Also, I seemed to be one of a limited amount of people who use umbrella when it rains, no matter it is drizzling or pouring. I remember last semester there was a heavy rain on my way to class. A few minutes after I was seated, a girl appeared and she was soaked. I could see her hair was completely wet and she seemed indifferent about her wet hair and wet cloths. Earlier that day, it was drizzling so I carried my umbrella and, apparently, no one was using umbrellas. When I was little, my parents told me that I must use an umbrella when it rains, or I might catch a cold and not using umbrella is harmful to your health because the cold air will accumulated in your body. I wonder whether American parents would say to their kids like that.

These are my culture shocks. Although they are just two small details in life, they are indeed quite different from what I believed is right and proper. However, we must bear in mind that there are not absolute right or wrongs. So, now I have learnt to keep an open eye on things like these. Still, I am wearing my shoes in the residence hall and using an umbrella when it rains.

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  1. 1 Comment(s)

  2.   By dili optim on Mar 7, 2015 | Reply

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