Pool & cultural differences
It is saturday morning, and me and the guys are meeting up with June one of the chinese students for a tour of the campus and some basketball. We have done so much already in just the first week, and yet we have 3 more to go. I am very interested in the cultural differences we have been introduced to, and are doing our first paper/project on. I have been taking any chances given to make friends with some of the chinese students in our class to hang out with them and get an idea of what their common habits/interests are. Lu came over to the hotel last night and hung out with our whole group, which was a great learning experience for us and for him. It is very difficult knowing none of the chinese language, but most of the students speak well enough to hold a conversation as long as you speak slow and eliminate large/complex words and slang.
We also were able to get Lu and Angel and i believe the other ones name is Mau, to go to play some pool at a bowling alley less than a mile away! This was interesting as well to see their different aspects of the game. The bumpers are extremely bouncy, and the tables are either 8' or 10' and the pockets are extremely small, probably 50% or so smaller. This along with the pool ques being very narrow with small pads on the tips made the game a lot more difficult and lengthy. The chinese students said they very rarely play pool, and most had only bowled once or twice in their life. Also during the ping pong and badmitten i noticed that most of them are very competitive, and i'm not sure if this is their cultural way or if they want to impress us. Either way it was very fun getting to do some active things with them and see how they perform athletically. They are all very fit/thin which could help explain why they are so agile, and athletic. I also had a discussion with laura on the reasoning behind their work ethic in regards to school/college. From what i have seen they are more apt to studying hard and pure diligence towards their studies while U.S. students are more laid back and tend to take the opportunity to attend college for granted. I believe it has to do with the availability/ability to attend for them wether it be due to financial, or educational reasoning. The dense population could also make it hard for everyone to attend, becuase surely they do not have enough colleges for all who desire the education. So the scarcity principle could be an explanation for their hard work ethic in school. Also many of the students i have spoken with want to come to America to study after their 4-year program here. This is sad because later on most go on to tell me they could never do it because it is way to expensive. A lot of the students seem very talented and smart but do not have the resources to study abroad.
Also the guides and assistants have been extremely helpful/generous. Rina and Jason have gone out of their way numerous times to maximize our experience while here. They took us to the Tianjin tower yesterday which was amazing, and to the museum which had an architectual design that was perhaps the most amazing structure i've seen on the trip. Also they went out of their way to take us to a hibachee resturant in one many massive malls they have here in Tianjin. The resturant was Japanese, and even though it was in the food court of the mall, was very good, and only about 6 or 7 dollars.