16 October 2007
Time Cultures in the American Campus
Introduction: For most of international students, the American campus life is full of challenge because of the cross-cultural adaption process. Once you step into a different culture, you will face the differences from external aspects such as food, dress and customs to the internal ones, such as values and beliefs. And anyone who first comes to the America will notice the Americans¡¯ attitude towards time. Why the Americans never seem to have enough time and always emphasize the time? This article will present some segments of my campus life in American University as an exchange student from China in order to explore the different time values in cross-cultural communication. A comparison based on these interesting experiences will help the reader to contextualize the issues for apprehending the particularities and differences between western and eastern time values. Some guidelines of time management will also be raised to benefit the international students who will step into American campus. First I would like to share my experience of making appointment and participating in meeting with an American professor of my economics course. The professor with whom I made an appointment is an old gentleman from New York with native tongue and fast speaking speed. After bearing two classes, I decided to talk with the professor and tried to borrow the lecture Jenny 2
notes. The professor agreed the appointment as soon as he checked his schedule and then fixed an exact time of meeting. I was shocked by the professor¡¯s schedule, he even measured his time in minutes and included almost everything in his schedule! In contrast with the people in china, we seldom have a schedule and won¡¯t plan our work so detailed. If I want to meet a teacher in China, I can go ahead and never need to make an appointment because we don¡¯t have such a behavior. Furthermore, if I think...