Cultural Differences

May 3, 2011

It is really a great experience when I get to interact with people of similar age from different cultures. My foreign friends and I are at once the same but also very different. We have similar goals, worries, anxieties, feelings, etc… but what is really cool to see is how differently we cope and deal with those facets of our lives. We were all made by the same Creator but it was our environments that molded our personalities. A chicken is a chicken all over the world but its taste and appearance depend on how it is cooked.

The group from Danshui

As far as their personalities go, I have talked to about a dozen or so younger, Taiwanese people and let me tell you a few things I have learned about them. They are very polite. They do not speak up or out of turn. Even at the Universities we visited they were very hesitant to raise their hands and answer a question posed by the professor. After class, when I asked about why they were so reticent in the classroom, a student said that they are raised to be quiet and to not go against the status quo. That’s not like our school where a whole class session may be one long discussion amongst classmates about a subject. The Taiwanese culture is slowly starting to open up though.

Another thing I learned is how they think about marriage. They usually do not live together until they are married and virginity is still looked upon as a sacred quality. The people of Taiwan get married in their mid to late twenties. This is not because the man and woman have been living together for five years and they decide they had better break up or get married; They hold off because they have the patience to wait until they both have the income to sustain an apartment and children. Also, in Taiwan, whenever we see young children around, the parents are normally in their thirties. People here would have a cow if they saw an episode of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.

Zora and Josephine from the National Taiwan Normal University

Lastly, education is a big deal here. Women and men both get degrees and remain independent in case something happens to the other partner or if they split up. Like in America, the more degrees, the more chance of success.

All in all, we are the same and I’m glad I got the opportunity to talk to several kids my age. Last night five students from Daishun and I went to a noodle house where I was the only white guy in the joint and it made me feel special in a way. I was eating authentic Asian food with authentic Asians and you know what? It felt really good. I really enjoy diving headlong into this culture and experiencing as much as I can, except I will not eat whatever I saw at the Night Market tonight. I don’t care how much sauce you put on it. I have my limits.

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2 Responses to “Cultural Differences”

  1. Katelyn Says:

    you guys are looking spiffy!!!

  2. Jan Schwerin Says:

    Sean, you ought to write a book. You have quite a flair for writing.

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