During my first year in China I met and studied with lots of people suffering from culture shock. A few never got it, most of people recovered after some time and for some it was too much. With this post I don’t want to criticize anyone and it’s completely natural to feel frustrated when moving to China from Europe for example. Everything is different and getting used to new life style isn’t easy.
I am not sure did I suffer from culture shock or not. The first months were good and then I went to Finland for summer vacation. When I came back to Guangzhou I suddenly didn’t want to go out by my self. I felt people were staring at me too much and I spent hours to think should I go to the grocery store or not. I just wanted to stay in the comfort of my home. After two weeks that was luckily over and new term started at the university.
As an exchange student I’m surrounded with people that stay in China only for a short time. I’ve met many new people in the past year and saw how they got through their culture shock. Usually people complain about the differences they see and everything different is usually seen worse than in her/his homecountry. It’s not that the one guy in the metro was disgusting, it’s that the whole Chinese population is disgusting. I have heard terrible things being said about China and Chinese.
Of course many things are frustrating to me too and it’s sometimes hard to cope with them. I don’t like spitting or picking nose in public. I don’t like people cutting in line and being rude to me. But I try my best to think why Chinese people are behaving as they are. I also try to keep in mind that this is China and what ever is considered good/bad in Finland, doesn’t ably here. I’m not the one to decide what is right or wrong in Guangzhou.
But negativity spreads too easily. Many times I listen foreigners’ complaints and nod my head. It is easier to agree than to try to defend local folk’s behaviour. It is easy to join the rant because I feel frustrated too. I can also very well understand where all the criticising comes from. But there is a limit too and choose to stay quiet when people get too far with their negativity towards Chinese people and China.
While writing Why I Love Living In China? I wanted to make a list of all the good things in China, but failed badly. I just couldn’t come up with a list long enough. I was quite scared to realise that and thought have I really get used to living in China or not. But then I also noticed that even I can’t write a long list, I still enjoy living here. Maybe that is good enough.
What about you? Do you enjoy complaining about China or are you the one with everlasting patience and understanding? Does other people’s negativity affect you?