What is Your Biggest Cultural Shock and Realization from Visiting China?

What is your biggest cultural shock and realization from visiting China?

–Asked by a Quora user

Bella Johnson, Cosmetic Representative

For me, it was the realization of how personal vehicles have shaped our society in the USA.

Chinese cities are dense and highly populated. They have various forms of public transportation, including subways, buses, bike-share and are overall very walkable. It seems that having a car might actually be an inconvenience in a Chinese city.


However, when I returned to the USA, it seemed that I couldn’t go anywhere without a car. Our cities seem very empty compared to those in China, even if they are more orderly, they are usually spread out and getting around on public transportation is inconvenient and often difficult.


For those of us who love our automobiles, the USA is certainly a paradise. The Chinese love cars as well and families strive to own them. However, after traveling around China it seemed completely unnecessary to drive. I enjoyed that!

Rudy Tan, genetically Chinese

  1. The public transportation in China is MUCH better. Whereas China has bullet trains going all over the country, the US is struggling to put something in California. Recently, my friend posted on Facebook something that I found very funny:

2169 km from Beijing to Shenzhen

– 10.5 hours by train (down from 30 hours in 2005)

– 28 hours by car

1069 km from Portland to Sunnyvale

– 10.5 hours by car

– 23 hours by Amtrak, including a layover in the Oakland maintenance yard…

  1. Chinese know MUCH more about the US vs what US citizens know about China. Try to name the president of China. Good. Now try to name a famous Chinese musician, actor, scientist…
  1. There are GHOST cities in China! Being in the most populous country in the world, you’d think there is not enough space for anything. Reality is that there are ghost towns (completely build, but abandoned). There are many reasons for this, but the overbuilding in China has caused a lot of the real estate to not be being occupied.
  1. Some Chinese LOVE to flaunt their wealth. The rich kids in China, actually love to flaunt their wealth. This has caused social media to explode against these people: burning money, dogs wearing two Apple watches, postings of the amount of money in their bank accounts… these kids have done it.
  1. China does things big. This does not only go to government, but also private events. Most recently, a couple of China (an actor and a model) married and spent the small sum of >$30 million US dollars. Meanwhile, you have me, a poor scientist who has no idea if I will even be ever to make that kind of money in a LIFETIME!

Henry Calvin Vaughan, Been to more than a dozen countries on three continents

Apartment buildings.

Weird, right?

I kinda knew a lot about China before I arrived. I understood the culture and the language pretty well, and I’ve spent enough time in China town to be prepared for most of the smells. I knew that the cities were going to be massive and that the pollution would be bad.

The only thing that I had never expected was this:

Apartment Building in China
Apartment Building in China

Wait a second, you’re telling me that pretty much everyone in the entire city lives in some kind of apartment high-rise?

.. everyone??

I live in the suburbs of Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States. Yet, we have so much open space that there was actually a political initiative to block building apartment complexes in the suburbs! You see, most people live in houses kinda like this:


House in US
House in US

Notice the big, green front lawns, the backyard fences, and sidewalks with mailboxes. This is what I’m used to in Houston. Yet, in Chengdu, I never saw a single standalone home, only countless apartment high-rises. Of course, it makes perfect sense for China to be that way, given their incredible size; I just wasn’t at all expecting it.

Needless to say, it felt sweet to be back in the Big Sky country.

Abhishek Agarwal

Interesting that I came across this question as I just landed back in Delhi after 15 days in southern China.

Infrastructure: Best i’ve seen. Most of it is better than U.S. The reason for this is everything is brand new. The metro is extremely well connected to every part in the city.

Women: Because I went for work I interacted with a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners and to my surprise, almost half of them were girls or older ladies.

Openness: I found their society very open. I don’t know if it was just for business, but in general I found it very easy to talk to them.

Food: The food I had there was completely different to the Chinese food I’ve been having all this while in India and China.

China has a lot to offer and I loved their country. I will go back and explore more in future for sure.

Quoted from https://www.quora.com/What-is-your-biggest-cultural-shock-and-realization-from-visiting-China

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