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China as the Toughest Living and Working Place Essay

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Updated: Feb 12th, 2021

The Toughest Country

This paper is about the country I would find the hardest or toughest to live and work in. Such a country, for me, is China. I choose China because of the distinct cultural differences between the US and China. Secondly, I choose China because of the political system in place and the attitude of the political leaders towards the West (Goodman, 1990, p. 3).

Why It is Tough

Culturally, China, like the rest of the East, tends to be a traditionalist. The Chinese, generally, have cultural practices that are very different and in some way opposed to the cultural practices in the West: they have practices that someone from the West is likely to feel oppressed living by. One great cultural difference between the US and China is in terms of religious practice and beliefs. The US is predominantly Christian while the Chinese practice Confucianism (Von Laue, 1989, p. 49). The religious difference translates into a different outlook on life, work, and the other.

The Chinese tend towards traditionalist institutions; with business companies aligned to family or another genealogical lineage. They have special ways of dealing with each other with traditional heritage-based power structures. The western culture is largely secular. Increasingly, with globalization, cultures have become more secularized and one would expect the same to be happening everywhere. Contrarily, China, or Chinese cultures have resisted change and kept their traditions and culture free from secularization forces. They have not changed with the changing world.

Westernization has not affected China and thus languages like English, which is widely spoken around the globe, is foreign to the Chinese. The Chinese language is one of the most complicated languages in the world. Working in China would require that foreigners have to learn Chinese. Having studied in English, translating everything into Chinese ways, and appropriating everything to fit into their socio-cultural setting is bound to prove very challenging.

The Chinese state is communism oriented (Ju & Chü, 1996, 57). Its economy is a controlled economy and the communist party is very suspicious of the western world (Von Laue, 1989, p. 78). Furthermore, the Chinese are very collectivist in the way they do things. This leads to a tendency to form closed traditional units that a foreigner could find hard to break into (Iterson, 2002, p 123). The Chinese people value cooperation and respect for hierarchy or authority. By their social systems, they are able to identify and define themselves. They encourage cooperation of individuals within the confines of an established system, which they believe brings them success.

An individual wholly depends on his/her family or institution. Additionally, individuals rely on and trust in decisions made by a group more than individual decision-making (Iterson, 2002, p 119). On the other hand, I come from a western culture, which values individualism and freedom. Each individual works are hard to become better than everyone else. The challenge a foreigner is likely to face in China is finding a way of fitting into their collectivist approach and neatly sewn institutions. The suspicious attitude coupled with the social structure in China could only mean a lot of effort required by any foreigner wanting to have effective dealings in China.

How I will prepare

To prepare to deal with enumerated differences and challenges, I will have to learn about the Chinese culture as much as possible. By understanding why they do what they do, it will help towards dealing with skepticism or any attitude problems that may affect my working in China. Secondly, I would have to try as much as I can to learn their language. By learning the language, as much as I can, I would be better placed in dealing with the locals.

Finally, I would have to make prior visits to China or China related settings to acclimatize or get a personal feel of the same. I would have to visit as many Chinese restaurants as possible to learn something about their way of life and how they socialize. I will also endeavor to find or make alliances or pals in China before setting off for my stay. This is to ensure I have someone with whom I have some level of rapport before I meet everything else. I believe that by having a pal or someone with whom I enjoy rapport before setting foot in the country, I will have someone I can turn to for guidance when necessary.

Despite Preparations likely causes of Failure

Irrespective of my efforts, I may not succeed in my mission unless the people I am to work with are prepared enough to work with a foreigner. As reported by Anna (2008) in the New York Times, the Chinese can be very hard to the extent of becoming violent on any foreigner they feel threatens their position. In often cases, given their closed social institutions, I may not be very successful unless the people I am to work with are ready to work with me.

Secondly, I will only complete my stay in China successfully as long as the communist party allows. It has totalitarian control over every aspect of Chinese society and dismisses individuals at its discretion. There have been instances where people have been deported based on the whims of the party leaders and operatives.

Reference List

Anna, C. (2008). China Struggles with Rising Crime against Foreigners. New York: New York Times. Web.

Goodman, D. S. G. (1990). China and the West: Ideas and Activists. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Iterson, A. (2002). The Civilized Organization: Norbert Elias and the Future of Organization Studies. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Ju,Y. & Chü, Y. (1996). Understanding China: Center Stage of the Fourth Power. New York: SUNY Press.

Von Laue, T. H. (1989). The World Revolution of Westernization: The Twentieth Century in Global Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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