Lang Liu, from China, shares his thought on America during his Short Term Enrichment Program with CHI. Lang also shares what he thinks Chinese people should learn from Americans.
From churches to houses, from workers to students, no matter where you are or who you are, you can always feel the well-ruled layout and well-educated people. Delicate house with a square fenced yard, within it several cars stand quietly. Clean and neat streets separate the whole countryside to block and block, where there are many signs and signals and you don’t need to be worried about getting lost. The water in the faucet is safe and healthy, which you can drink directly. You can go through the crossing safely because all the drivers know they are supposed to (but not be ruled to) respect pedestrians. In downtown, there are many kind-hearted volunteers you can ask for help. If you are confused with map and don’t know how to get there, the most probably answer you will hear is ’Ok, don’t worry, I will take you there’. In public areas, you can see there are many convenient and thoughtful amenities aimed at the disabled. As a word, everyone respect the rules and everyone enjoy the rules.
During the program, I also use some spare time for sightseeing. The historic Boston, full of academic atmosphere, is suitable for studying; the prosperous NYC, well known as an international economic metropolitan, attracts millions of dream chaser every year; the New Hampshire, with magnificent mountains and sunny beach, is the best place to embrace the nature and feel the inner peace of your heart… I am aware that I have witnessed both the most gorgeous cities and the purest nature. This trip gave me lasting motivation to work harder, to gain the true life what we want in the future by our hands, to realize our dreams with our practice.
As it is called ‘culture immersion program’, communication and experience are the most important part of the whole program definitely. Compared to the traditional pure visiting and traveling, I prefer this kind of cultural communication. When working in the Children’s Museum of Dover, I met many interesting people: they are Chinese mothers, married with American husband, leading an authentic western life and don’t forget the traditional Chinese culture at the same time; they are senior citizens in their 80s, settling in the United States because of their children, who may not feel as happy as they lived in China due to loneliness and lack of company; they are full time family mother, devoting themselves to the education and uprising of their children with their high academic degree. Listening to their stories is the most valuable part of the whole program, and also the best method to learn a different culture. Even if you don’t experience what they have gone through in the past, but from their eyes, from their tones, it will give you a feeling as if you have experienced all of these yourself and know the hardship of life, of everyone’s life, and treasure what you already have now.
Another phenomenon that I found is, in America, people don’t have too many stereotypes and locks of others. People don’t have to behave according to others opinions. You can be anyone you want, you can do anything you like while you don’t need to care about what other people say, and also, in America, people will not say. You may still be in university in your 30s or 40s and remain single and work many part-time jobs to pay the loan of your tuition. You don’t have to worry about how to marry a girl without buying house and car because renting is also a good way. The tolerant and open atmosphere there enable you to have enough time to do what you like…while in China, never can you live freely and easily like this. In different ages, there are always different standards of what you should do and different definition of how successful you are. Before 20, you should study hard to get good grades, to be the top student of other parents’ comments; In 20s, you should get a good degree, find a decent job, marry a good people; in 30s, you should do something in your business… You can never do a ‘wrong’ step because you will not be recognized as a ‘successful’ people of others’ eyes. I think that is what our Chinese people should learn from American. Learn to ease, learn to enjoy and learn to live.