Cultural Information Sheet - China

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Experience Level: Expert
The Project: To produce information for one of a series of leaflets I am writing for students coming to study in England. Each leaflet is designed to highlight where English culture varies from the student%u2019s own culture, including anything that might cause confusion, conflict or embarrassment.

The Researcher: You will need to be a person who has lived with both a native English family in England and with a native family in China, and is deeply familiar with both cultures. As such, it is assumed that research will be minimal to zero, and that the task will draw on knowledge already acquired.

The Task: Your task is to list and describe the differences between the two cultures. The final leaflet will be written by me, and will also form part of other information packages within the education provision. So, there is no need to do more than factual reporting.

The types of area to be covered will include the following, but the list is by no means exhaustive. It is essential to focus on all aspects of culture. The final choice of what gets used will be mine.

Initial meeting
Conversation topics
National quirks (the value of keeping %u201Cface%u201D, how long a handshake should be etc.)
Space, (how close you normally stand to a person when talking)
Touch (children, friends, strangers %u2026 when if ever, how)
Attitudes to:
members of the opposite sex
Dress codes (home, work, etc)
Daily timetable (when get up, have meals, go out, go to bed)
Typical meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, other)
Alcohol consumption (in the home, out, ref driving etc)
Body behaviour (all forms, especially hand and arm signals)
Bathrooms (use of bath/toilet, toilet paper, bidet, showers etc)
Taboos (what is normal back home, but would cause problems in England)
Things that happen only back home, not in England or even anywhere else (pantomime, for example,
is quintessentially English %u2026 outside England, most confuse the word with mime)
Areas of possible confusion
Areas of likely misunderstanding (of gesture, phrase, noise)
Areas of possible conflict
What might cause embarrassment (to the student, the host family, an adult, a child)
Any other significant cultural differences a student would notice coming to live and study in England amongst English people

It is important to observe that all copyright remains with me.

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