致迈阿密全校师生:

我叫许鹤腾(Henry),来自北京,今年是位大五的学生,就读于交互传媒、经济、艺术管理三专业,以及辅修平面设计,目前在迈阿密学生政府(ASG)担任校外学生参议员,这次收到校报编辑的邀请,在这里跟大家分享一下这些年来尝试与美国社会接触的一些个人体验,希望能够帮助中国学生和美国学生之间的相互了解。

这是我在美国的弟9个年头, 我是在15岁的时候来的美国,在马里兰州读的高中,如果再读个研究生,可以说我的前半生有一半都留在了美国。 简单的说一下我的高中生活,这段时光可以说是我对美国了解的基石,我经历了三个不同的住宿家庭,每个家庭都有各自的特色,第一个家庭小康,行为做事注重礼节,平时周末打打球看看比赛,假期会去做一些旅行,爸爸自己还组建了一个乐队,他们教给了我很多美国人的行为规范。

第二个家庭,很是特别,因为我们有个家庭奶爸,算上我,家里有三条狗三只猫三个儿子好不热闹,妈妈是个非常好的医生,但是特别忙,在家的时间很少,我们住在河边,房子都是爸爸自己盖的,是一个比较乡村风格的家庭,有时我比较怕脏,总被他们嘲笑为“city boy”。

三个家庭,只有我和奶奶住在一起,奶奶是一位虔诚的基督徒,80岁了还在当地法院担任文案,心胸宽广,乐善好施,儿女们时常都会来看望奶奶,以前我对教会的理解比较浅薄,在和奶奶相处后我发现,人有一个信仰,哪怕知道那可能不是真的,也挺好的。

来到迈阿密后,我希望我自己能够变得更加的优秀,想通过增加与学校的互动来帮助自己成长,我努力去认识更多的美国人。我参加了很多活动与社团,大一时竞选过ASG参议员,参加过两次RA面试,但是都没有成功,也就当个志愿者相对比较容易一些。那个时候的我没有能力,也缺少决心,而且还没能突破公开演讲的难关,想想也是不太可能的,呵呵,不过这些尴尬与挫折,还是为我的未来做了铺垫。即使如此,当时我还是想跳出舒适圈,到外面去看一看,有一个敢于去开拓的心真的非常的重要。从大一到大四,学的知识越来越多,但是生活的圈子却越来越小,自从搬到校外之后,除了上课和在校内打工,我几乎不会在学校里停留。不只是交美国朋友,其实就连交新的中国朋友也变得越来越难。

一开始我总感觉是外在的理由我交不到美国朋友,因为在我来美国之前,我的英语一直都属于游离于及格线的边缘,但是英语非一朝一夕可以完成,我开始质疑为什么要去做这些费力不讨好的事情呢?如果能像那些ABC们,是不是就不用像我这样苦恼了?但是后来通过交流,我发现不尽然,更多的还是文化习惯问题,ABC们也有他们的苦恼,家庭文化与社会文化的冲突更是一个巨大的挑战。我才意识到,原来将我们隔离的不是语言,也不是很么其他的外在条件,更重要的还是文化的冲突。

你喜欢的他们不喜欢,你觉得好笑的他们不觉得好笑,你认为应该这么做,他们却用了另外一种方式去处理,各种各样的心理落差以及误解,才是真证的原因。什么是文化?在和美国同学聊天时很多笑话的笑点无法get到,有的时候可能是电影中的一句台词,或者哪篇文章的经典剧情,这些东西都是在课本中很难学到的,就像我们和美国人说成语,不把成语故事全说出来,怕是对方也很难理解吧。这还是简单的,思想更是要命,久而久之美国同学也疲于解释了,而你也失去了耐心,亦或者根本无法接受。难道真的要否定一个文化思想才能接受另一个文化嘛?能否寻到一个方法融合或者平衡?

我们总是谈论和教育大家多样性和包容性, 但是我们做到了多少?通过ASG我见到了一个充满包容性的组织,他们让我感受到了被关注,被在乎!如何更好的兼容各自的文化,我与他们一直在努力寻找着这个答案!如果你有什么建议或者想法欢迎来到我的office hour与我交流, 每周二中午12点到1点,我在ASG办公室等你!同时也欢迎你添加我的Wechat:xuhetengxx 或者给我发邮件 xuh7@miamioh.edu

 

Dear Miami Community,

My name is Heteng Xu (‘Huh-tung’ or just Henry) and I am from Beijing, China. This is my fifth year at Miami and I am majoring in IMS, Economics, Arts Management with a minor in Graphic Design. Right now, I am an ASG off-campus senator and I was invited by an editor at The Miami Student to share my personal experience of trying get involved with American students in my time in the U.S. and I hope that I can help Chinese students and American students understand each other.

This is my ninth year in the U.S. I came to the U.S. when I was 15 years old. I studied at a high school in Maryland. If I keep studying in the U.S. for graduate school, I can say that half of my life has been the U.S. so far. Just a simple introduction to my highschool life: because this part of my life can be the base of my understanding of the U.S. I lived with three different host families and each family has their own characteristics. The first family is hardworking and as a result well-off. When they do something, they care about etiquette. On breaks, sometimes they would treat me to outings, like sports games. During weekends they would usually stay home and relax. My host dad has his own band, and I became one of his fans. The main thing they taught me is a code of conduct.

For my second family, it’s kind of special. We have a dad whose job is to take care of the family. In this family we have 3 dogs, 3 cats, and 3 sons. It is very lively. The mom is a very good doctor, the head of her staff. She spends less time at home. We live next to the river in the country. Even the house was built by the dad. This is a very country-style family. And sometimes I’m afraid of dust or dirt and they’re always teasing me like, “haha, city boy.”

For my third family, I live with a grandma. We call her Mama. She is a very devout Christian. She is 80 years old and she is a part-time worker at a court. She is very nice to everyone. Every day she feeds the squirrels peanuts that she bought, she is like Snow White. She is also very open-minded and philanthropic. Her kids will always come to check on her. Before, I didn’t have a very clear view of religion, but after I live with Mama I realized it would be good to have a religion. Even if I know that it’s not real, I know that it’s a good thing to have because I’ve seen the kindness of in her.

After I came to Miami, I wanted myself to be great. More involved, more engaged with the school, for my self-improvement. For that, I tried to make more American friends. So I got involved in many activities and student organizations. When I was a freshman, I ran for ASG senator and after that I tried to be an RA. I tried twice and I didn’t make it. I failed at everything where I wanted to be strong. The one thing I succeeded at was volunteering and that doesn’t even take much. During that period I didn’t have enough public speaking ability. This is a barrier for everyone but when you use another language its harder. I thought maybe I was not determined enough to be great.

When I think back, I can see that maybe it was impossible that I could make it for RA and ASG. But those rejections helped me grow. Although I had a lof rejections, I still wanted to get out of my comfort zone, to have a brave heart. This is very important for not just international students. When you see something you want to achieve, you have to be brave.

From Freshman to senior, it is a fact that your circle of friends will shrink. After I moved to off-campus, other than go to class and work, I never stop on campus anymore. Not only is it harder to make American friends, it’s also hard to make friends with other Chinese international students.

At the beginning I was looking for the exterior problems that I cannot make good American friends. Because before I came to the U.S. my English was always around D to F level. But you can not learn English in a day. I started to question myself, ‘why did I give myself a hard time? If I can be like those ABCs (American-Born-Chinese) maybe I won’t struggle anymore. But after I communicate with them, I found out that it’s not true. The real problem is cultural habits. ABCs have their own struggles, the conflict between family culture and society culture is a bigger challenge. I realize that the thing that isolates us is not the language, and its not the exterior problem. They don’t like what you like. They don’t think the same things are funny. You think it should be done by this way, they use another way to deal with it. All kinds of psychological gaps and misunderstandings are the reasons for the divide. What is culture? When chatting with American classmates, many jokes can’t be picked up. Sometimes it may be a line in a movie, or a reference to a book, play, or story. These things are hard to learn in textbooks, just like when we use chinese idioms with Americans, If don’t explain the idiom’s backstory, I worry it’s hard to understand as well. Media references are the light part — the deep differences in worldview and cultural thought are much harder to deal with. Over time, American classmates are tired of explaining. And you have lost patience. Must we forget our own culture to exist in another? Or can we find a fusion or a balance?

We always talk about and educate everyone about diversity and inclusiveness, but how much have we really done? In ASG, I saw an inclusive organization that made me feel acknowledged and cared for! With them, I have been working hard to find ways to connect our cultures!

If you have any suggestions or ideas, please come to my office hours to talk with me. Every Tuesday from 12 noon to 1 pm, I am waiting for you at the ASG office! You are also welcome to add my Wechat: xuhetengxx or email me at xuh7@miamioh.edu

This column was edited for clarity and grammar with the help of the author. We have done our best to communicate Henry’s thoughts while leaving his voice intact throughout.

 

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