Few days ago, after thanking one of my students for helping me to accomplish a teaching task, I was surprised by, yet proud of, her graceful response.

The genuine exchange occurred naturally without any pretentiousness from either my student or I. I uttered the words of gratitude “Thank you for helping me” And she gracefully and eloquently responded “It was my pleasure”.
That minor incident prompted me to flash back to my first year in China. Back then, whenever I expressed by gratitude for services rendered, I received no response or the words “No thanks”.

After examining the issue thoroughly, I found myself faced with the following questions: Did foreigners influence the conduct of Chinese students? Is that influence reciprocal?
My inquisitive nature geared me to dig deep into the issue to find logically satisfying answers. To accomplish that task, I discussed the issue with some of my current and formal students.

To objective, I sought feedback from foreign teachers whom I encountered through my teaching years in China.

I discovered that there was a consensus pertinent to the evolution of the Chinese students’ social skills. Most teachers indicated that they noticed a gradual but certain change in the social conduct of their students.

I observed my own students to confirm or dispute their claim. Fortunately, I discovered that most of them tend to behave in a graceful manner

As for the second question pertinent to the influence of Chinese on foreigners, most teachers apprehensively admitted that their students helped them to alter their conduct to achieve harmonization between their cultures and the Chinese traditional values.

When I asked them to elaborate, they confessed that they learned to be more tolerant toward, and accommodating of, their students. They also learned that modesty is desired virtue. They were amazed at the modesty of their Chinese colleagues and coworkers.

Without realizing it, foreigners began to imitate their Chinese fellows in their daily routines.

They took more time to enjoy their meals and follow healthy diets by eating more vegetables and fruits. Seeing the healthy figures of Chinese prompted them to exercise more often.

As for me, I learned to be more patient from my students. They guided me to acquire sufficient patience to facilitate their learning process. I became more compassionate thanks to them.

To objective, I can’t ignore the reciprocal negative influence of both foreigners and Chinese on each other.
It is clearly apparent that some Chinese began to follow foreigners’ eating habits which include a diet cluttered with junk food. That resulted in gaining weight and the appearance of fat or obese kids on the Chinese horizon.
Young Chinese started to acquire casual attitudes toward relationships between the two genders. They tend to ignore their traditional values of their upbringing to follow the footsteps of their western youth.

Observing the irresponsible conduct of few Chinese pertinent to sticking to punctuality, some foreigners acquired more relaxed attitude toward being prompt.

Few foreigners joined their Chinese counterparts in ignoring traffic signs and crossing the streets when the red lights are on, which may lead to tragic accidents.
Seeing some impatient Chinese ignore standing online and go to the front of the queue, few foreigners started to follow the same conduct.

It is too obvious that both Chinese and foreigners have influential impact, both positive and negative, on the conduct of each other. However, they should stick to the positive aspects of each other’s conduct and get rid of bad habits they learned from one another.

It seems that both Chinese and foreigners are exerting sufficient efforts to achieve the harmonization of both cultures in order to survive and coexist peacefully.

Author's Bio: 

Holding an honorary professorship from China, Sava Hassan is a Canadian author, poet and educator. He had published three books and wrote numerous articles in various topics in Canada, USA and China. For a year, he was writing an advice column for a major English magazine in China. Sava, occasionally, writes articles for several Chinese English Newspapers. He won several writing awards including four from China.