Monthly Archives: September 2003

International Culture Discussion

After I came to this school, compared to my previous school, I realize that this school has a much better international community. It has a more friendly international culture. The International Discussion Group is one of them.

As an international student coming from a quite different culture, I certainly experienced a lot after I came to US. I have a lot of feelings, which I find very difficult to share with other people. I think it is probably because people have different interests. Some of my friends like military very much. It turns me off when they discuss the weapons stuff. In the same way, many people are not aware of the culture thing although they live in it and they are shaped by it. But here in the International Discussion Group (IDG), we share the same interest. Members have certain degree of understanding of culture. I enjoyed sharing my experience with them and happily found out that they have similar experiences. It is also very enjoyable to have opinions from different perspectives.

What should be the definition of culture? We live in a group of people. It is a network of relationship. Our languages are affected by other members of this group. Everyone contributes his intelligence to the group. Everyone learns from one another and has fun. Such group can be as small as a group of friends, a community or as big as people in the same country speaking the same language. In my undergraduate study, our dorm had the Disgusting Culture. The Chinese people share a culture of 5000 years. We share Monkey King. We share Lu Xun. Someone can contribute a lot to this culture. The example is Jin Yong’s contribution to Chinese culture. His novels have been adapted to many TV or films. Many people quoted the stories in his novels. New stories were developed based on the characters in his novels.

When I was in China, I certainly enjoyed the Chinese culture very much. I had lots of feelings for this country and for people around me. After I came to US, all the feelings gradually left me. Thus I began to doubt whether all the feelings I had before is true or not. If they are true, why I cannot feel them anymore? After I went back China for a visit, all those feelings came to me again, and I was telling myself: Yes, these feelings are true.

As we are growing up in a culture, we are shaped and confined by it. Even we hate certain things, we have to fight in its context. Jumping out of this culture is a good chance to distance yourself from what have confined you for all your life and look calmly back at how you are shaped by it. After I came to US, suddenly I felt all the concerns I have cared so much about China are finally off my shoulder. I am not under such a great burden any more. But soon I felt a need of jumping into another culture. Yes, it is a confinement, but it is also an enrichment. All the feelings and the human nature are shaped by it. I have been spending all my spare time in studying American culture. After I came to this school, although I don’t have the same spare time as before, I still try to grasp certain important learning opportunities. IDG is certainly a very precious chance for me. Continue reading


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