A Look at Chinese Students

The good folks at the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University recently published the results of a survey they conducted among Chinese university students.

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Here is part of their introductory description:

In this general report, we profile the social characteristics of Chinese students, summarize the key findings of their social, cultural, and spiritual life, and provide the methodological information and detailed tables of this survey. We recognize that there are many types of universities in different locations in this vast land. This study is only the first systematic data collection on Chinese students studying in one of the Big Ten universities. A more representative study would require surveying Chinese students in other types of universities selected from different regions of the country, such as Chinese students in Ivy League universities or in community colleges.

The survey was conducted among Chinese students on a Big Ten campus in the spring of 2016. There were 960 participants. Some key results of the survey include:

  • Most of the students are from well-off families; more than 80% have at least one college-educated parent.
  • Twenty-six percent indicated that their view of the United States became more positive, while 44% indicated their view of China had become more positive.
  • They drank less but smoked more than other students.
  • Fifteen percent responded that they have been treated unfairly due to their race.
  • The number of students who have believed in Protestant Christianity since coming to the US quadrupled.
  • A majority of the students believe in some supernatural power or being, even those who are members of the Chinese Communist Party or the Chinese Youth League.
  • Only 2.4% are here on a Chinese government sponsorship. 72.5% reported that their families are the major financial source for tuition and living expenses.
  • Eighty-two percent said they have been proselytized by Protestant Christians.

You can go here to download a PDF version of the entire report.

If you interact with Chinese students in the United States, it is a must-read.

Note: This post was originally published at ChinaSource.

Image source: Marat Amanzholov, via Flickr

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Serving Well in China

As of last month, I have entered the brave new world of online training. As part of my work for ChinaSource, I have teamed up with Amy Young (a friend and former colleague) to produce a 5-part online training course. The course is titled Serving Well in China, and it is specifically aimed for those planning to work in China.

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The course is less about a set of answers and more about presenting a framework with which to process the complexities of China. When you encounter confusing situations or cultural differences, what you learn here will help you reconcile them with your cultural background and expectations.

You can read more details about the course here. It is hosted on a site called Udemy, and consists of 5 short video “lectures,” as well as quizzes and recommended resources.

The cost to enroll is $30.00, but we are offering it for FREE during the month of April. To access the course, go to the course page on Udemy.

Click on “redeem a coupon” and enter the coupon code “Joann“.

Happy Learning!

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Nothing is as it Seems

Cultural Values, Mapped

Crossing a cultural boundary inevitably leads to cultural clashes. Sometimes the clashes occur at the point of behaviors and customs, such as eating, drinking, or even how to cross a street. More often, however, the clashes occur at the deeper level of cultural values — beliefs about what is right and wrong or how the world ought to be ordered.

I recently ran across an interesting graphic that maps out these cultural value differences based on two major dimensions: traditional values vs. secular-relational values and survival values vs. self-expression values. Here’s how the Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map is described on the World Values Survey website:

Analysis of WVS data made by political scientists Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel asserts that there are two major dimensions of cross cultural variation in the world:

Traditional values versus Secular-rational values and Survival values versus Self-expression values. The global cultural map (below) shows how scores of societies are located on these two dimensions.

Moving upward on this map reflects the shift from Traditional values to Secular-rational and moving rightward reflects the shift from Survival values to Self–expression values.

Traditional values emphasize the importance of religion, parent-child ties, deference to authority and traditional family values. People who embrace these values also reject divorce, abortion, euthanasia and suicide. These societies have high levels of national pride and a nationalistic outlook.

Secular-rational values have the opposite preferences to the traditional values. These societies place less emphasis on religion, traditional family values and authority. Divorce, abortion, euthanasia and suicide are seen as relatively acceptable. (Suicide is not necessarily more common.)

Survival values place emphasis on economic and physical security. It is linked with a relatively ethnocentric outlook and low levels of trust and tolerance.
Self-expression values give high priority to environmental protection, growing tolerance of foreigners, gays and lesbians and gender equality, and rising demands for participation in decision-making in economic and political life.

Here is the map:

cultural values map

This is one of the clearest depictions of cultural value differences I’ve ever seen. If you teach in an international or cross-cultural setting, it would be great to use in a class.

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East and West in Pictures

Last week I spoke to a group of Honors Students at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul. The topic was “Social, Cultural, and Spiritual Issues in China and Implications for Teaching.”

To get things going I showed them these fantastic graphic representations of cultural differences between east and west. I’ve actually used them in cross-cultural training for years, but am just now getting around to posting about them. Whether the audience is western or Chinese, they always generate lots of interesting discussion. (blue – west, red = east)

They were done by a Chinese artist who has lived and worked in Germany for many years. You can read an interview with her here.

Giving an Opinion

Giving an Opinion

 

Handling Problems

Handling Problems

 

Daily Life

Daily Life

 

The Family

The Family

 

Daily Life for the Elderly

Daily Life for the Elderly

 

At a Party

At a Party

 

Waiting in Line

Waiting in Line

 

The Boss

The Boss

 

Social Connections

Social Connections