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When Cultures Collide: The Eye-Opening Experience of Meeting American Students

Nina, a student from China, reflects on her experience of meeting with MHS students

Considering the groups that have already traveled to China as well as the many more to come, it is best to think about the different perspectives and outcomes of the trip. It is easy to just simply ask your friends who experienced it when they came back, but this trip also comes as a fun learning opportunity to the students being visited at their own schools. 

Because of this, I would like to introduce Majing, or Nina, which is her English name, who attends the second affiliated school to Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Overall, she reflects very highly of her interactions with American students, even considering some of the obstacles she faced.  

As many would expect, a challenge that she ran into was her ability to speak English as well as the visiting peers. 

Nina said, “Being able to express my ideas clearly in English in a short period of time is a bit difficult.”

As she prepared for our students to arrive, she was afraid that she would have difficulty properly expressing herself. Often in the United States our meaning of words or phrases, such as slang, have different meanings than in China, so

Nina and I visiting at her school in Shanghai

translating became a worry. Even with this, the enthusiasm from our students made her gradually more comfortable with her communication and enhanced her understanding of the language beyond what she could usually study in a textbook.  

Despite this partial roadblock, she found her interactions with American students to be a very eye-opening experience. 

“I see that you can confidently showcase yourself and communicate with others, I feel surprised” she explained. 

In comparison to China, she found that we are able to dress more closely to the personality or style we wish to portray to others much more than her and her peers. For students there, it is often required to wear certain things, cut their hair in a specific way, and generally present themselves very similarly and simply. 

She even added, “American students appear to be full of confidence.”

As students visited her school, she found it very interesting to teach them about traditional Chinese cuisine to our MHS students as in China they attach special meanings to foods for different events. 

“For example, we eat rice dumplings on the Yuanxiao (Filled round balls made of glutinous rice flour for the Lantern Festival), dumplings on the Spring Festival, and moon cakes on the Mid-Autumn Festival,” she said. 

When being partnered with MHS students, her school taught them many of these traditions because of how important they are within Chinese culture. She also thoroughly enjoyed being taught about the lives and celebrations of us in America. 

Overall Nina said that this exchange event, “allowed her to experience a cultural difference in different countries, broadened her horizons, and allowed her to see different aspects of displays from different countries and students.”

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About the Contributor
Arabella Fourneau
Arabella Fourneau is a sophomore here at MHS and a first-year staff writer for the newspaper. She is very passionate about her grades and challenging herself academically. She also enjoys being a part of the orchestra, playing the cello, and enjoying the fun break it gives her during the day.
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