Today Dr. Li and I went to shop for Vince's surprise birthday party. Actually I have learned a lot about Chinese culture from Dr. Li's actions alone.
Example 1: While waiting for the train to Suzhou from Tianjin, we were upstairs with all the other people. Then suddenly Dr. Li decided that we should go to another area. I was a bit perplexed as we moved away from the terminals. We moved to another room which was basically a luxury waiting area that had sofas and air conditioning. I was wondering what was going on then saw Dr. Li at the desk talking to some lady. Dr. Li actually paid for us to wait in this luxury area. I get the notion that he took it upon himself to ensure the good mood of the group. Again, this is a collectivistic approach. (By the way, the price to wait in the luxury room was not cheap...)
Example 2: Today Dr. Li and I went shopping for Vince's surprise surprise party. Again, his goal was to figure out the best way to make this surprise party enjoyable for Vince (mainly) and also for the group. The questions he asked were basically "What does Vince like?" and "Will the group like this?". Again, I got the notion that Dr. Li is always looking out for the group's best interests in mind. It was awesome because as tall as I am, I was still struggling to keep up with Dr. Li's long and fast paced strides in his excitement to create a fun birthday party.
So the moral, doing things for the greater good of the group is an admirable quality. It is also a cultural quality I've noticed from China. This comes with group awareness, of which I talked to about with Brian today. I feel like Brian can easily grasp the culture here. He does have a 4.0 gpa so I assume he'd be able to pick up things easily.