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University of Illinois put together an article interviewing a Chinese International student about what his thoughts and observations are in regard to American college culture, finally. Anyway, let’s get started.
Chéng Yú is listening. Ears cocked, head tilted, eyes wide as if they have just met the world for the first time… The 23-year-old Chinese international student listens attentively to better understand a U.S. culture far different from his own.”
I love it. I remember being in macroeconomics, looking at the Chinese exchange students in class taking notes on those tablets that converted English to Chinese, and wondering what went through their minds. What are their thoughts while they are here? Well let’s dive into Cheng’s thoughts. Fire away.
Chéng’s mind buzzes from question to question – Why do students drink alcohol in excess? Why do they have sex casually? Why do so many enlist in fraternities and sororities? Chéng wants to know.
Cheng, buddy, you already answered your own damn question! Why do we drink alcohol in excess, have casual sex, and join fraternities and sororities? There’s a way I can tie this all together for you. Let’s call alcohol “A,” sex “B,” and joining Greek life will be “C.” Here in America, “A” and “B” are highly sought after because, come on Cheng, don’t bullshit me…you know why. Enter “C.” You can get “A” and “B” in a lot of different places, but you get them in bulk at “C” if you play your cards right. Or something like that. I was never good with pictureless diagrams, but you get it. Oh, and you get to give back to your community via philanthropic events hosted by your fraternity or sorority as well. Back to you.
So far, Chéng has learned that Christmas in the U.S. is a holiday spent with family. That four shots of alcohol is just enough. That college students in the U.S. are open to having sex – and talking about it. That male students often wear hoodies. That female students like to wear very short skirts.
I’ll give you the Christmas one. That is true. And the female students wearing short skirts? Not all of them do, but the fact that you are paying attention to those females tells me where your head is at. Carry on. The sex thing, yeah, that’s pretty accurate. Hoodies on guys? Sure. Not for me, but to each his own. But if you think I’m going to sit here and agree with you about four shots being enough then you have another thing coming. I took four shots writing this sentence, pal. One shot for every other word just to prove a point. Now I’m going to finish this article buzzed.
Occasionally, Chéng will educate himself on American culture by experiencing common social practices himself. When it came to student party culture, Chéng’s only knowledge prior to coming to the U.S. was from watching the film American Pie – a raunchy teen party comedy.
Classic choice. Not an inaccurate portrayal of American partying either: booze, sex, hot foreign exchange girl masturbating on your bed. All of these things happen all the time every day.
He sat on the sidelines at parties as those around him became inebriated and danced salaciously. He even witnessed one partygoer vomit on the floor – a shocking experience, he admits. On one occasion, Chéng saw an American girl drink paint at a party. She was rushed to the hospital, he says.
Starting to wonder if Cheng has been watching me at parties. Pounding liquor, dancing like Carlton Banks, and vomiting on the floor? Check, check, double check. Drinking paint though, I think Cheng has been hanging out at the wrong parties. Consult “C” as stated above to fix this.
He began dancing. Then drinking. On one occasion, he decided to get blacked out – consume alcohol to the point of memory loss, something he had observed many times at campus bars and parties.
Observing American culture made a Chinese exchange student want to get blackout drunk? Kind of brings a tear to my American eye. Anyway, the article goes on to mention that he woke up in a communal bathroom stall to a custodian asking him if he was okay. If I had a nickel…
After working under scholars who specialize in modern social movements, Chéng decided the Chinese and American governments aren’t so different after all… “A lot of the rituals might seem different,” he says of the U.S. “But how people set up the bureaucracy, this whole untransparent process of making decisions … It’s very similar in the end.
You bite your tongue. China is what we call a communist country, Cheng. As in, your government still censors public internet. Until you can talk shit about your highest ranking political figure on a public forum, don’t compare your dictatorship to our government.
Still, some differences emerged. For instance, Chéng was surprised to learn that many women work in the U.S. government.
Let’s wrap this up before Cheng gets into the intricacies of politics. He reflected America in a pretty positive light. I think? Drinking, partying, full on debauchery with no mention of butt chugging anywhere. Yep, these are all positive takeaways. Good work, University of Illinois. You made a Chinese exchange student want to get blacked out and dance in public, laughed in the face of impossible and got it done. Here’s to ya.
[via The Daily Illini]