Cultural Differences: Advance Planning

Fulbrighters are warned prior to coming to China that if they have a Type A personality and like to plan in advance, then Chinese culture can prove challenging. After some initial difficulties and growing pains, I have unltimately found China, in terms of scheduling, to be a liberating and less stressful experience compared to the United States. In China, meeting, lunches, dinners, and fun activities usually come with only 1-2 days notice, and sometimes as little as 10 minutes. You just manage your schedule, move the day’s events around, and try to attend. And it’s very liberating to know you can invite friends, students and colleagues to dinner with no notice at all…just place a phone call before you walk out the door. I long for my childhood days where advance planning consisted of walking the neighbor’s house to ask, “Can Andy come outside and play?”

Today, I scheduled in my calendar a meeting at the Vermont Law School for May 20, 2011…over 1 year from now!

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