Excuse me, please!

Excuse me, please!

Stephanie Diehl

Meet ... Stephanie Diehl

China Study Abroad Major: International Business
Location: Beijing, China
Studying: Spending four weeks immersed in the Chinese culture while visiting majestic, historical sites and studying at the prestigious Institute of Chinese as Second Language of Peking University.

Other blog posts

Many of the culture differences between America and China are something I expected. However, sometimes they surprise me. I understand that this country has about 1.3 billion people in it, with about 1/5 of the world's land, which is a lot of people squeezed into a tiny area.

However sometimes I get frustrated by people constantly shoving me and refusing to say excuse me. There have been so many people who have just shoved right into me some that did it when it wasn’t even necessary! Sometime I wonder why they don’t say it. understand that it can get redundant, and it’s not part of their culture to say it — but sometimes it’s nice to hear kind gestures.


The other day a bunch of us went shopping for the first time, and it was just so weird how different it was. In America I’m so used to going into a store, seeing something I want, looking at how much it is and then deciding from there if it’s worth it or not. Here, it’s a whole different story.

We went to this street called Nan fu xin liu, which had a strip of stores. From there we set off to find different items for ourselves and for gifts for family and friends. Here — unlike at home — when we saw different prices for items we thought they were expensive, we would try to bargain with the peddlers. You can do this in just about any store, where as in America they would just laugh and tell you to leave their store


There is only so much you can learn from about a country and its culture by staying in one spot. So this weekend we traveled to the Shan Dong providence. It was here that we got to climb a mountain and visit Confucius’ hometown and burial site, as well as experiencing some Chinese traditions and cultures.

Saturday morning we woke up bright and early in order to start our journey. We got breakfast at the hotel and left for Mount Tai. As we began, the climb wasn’t too bad. We may have taken a bus that took us halfway up the mountain, but we still had to climb a little over three thousand, which made for a very long walk.

Mount Tai Along the way, it was really interesting to see all the different traditions and getting to experience some for myself. At one point in the walk, we were stopped, and I was handed these things that looked like sticks and then I was told to light them on fire and put them into this box. Though I tried to light the wrong end of the stick, I eventually figured it out and also learned that these were called wish sticks and to make a wish as I lit them.

After a few hours of walking we finally made it to the top and had lunch. After lunch we began to venture down the mountain. Along the way up I noticed that there were a lot of trees with red ribbons on them and found out that these were prayers, which people tie around the trees. So I decided to get one too. I thought it was awesome to be able to not only see their culture but to experience part of the culture too.

Say Cheese!

Coming to China, I expected to see many attractions. However, sometimes I feel like I’m one of the attractions myself. Walking around the city, there are so many people that just stop and stare at us. I understand that we are not Chinese, but to blatantly stare at us makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

What makes it even better is when we all get together for a group picture there are people that walk up and snap pictures of us. It’s interesting how so many people here find us fascinating enough to watch us as we walk by. This makes me wonder how many people from other countries come to China, and if everyone else gets stared at too.


Sitting in orientation my first full day here in China, I learned that there would be lessons for tai chi, otherwise known as shadow boxing, so I figured, "when in Rome." I started out a little skeptical, thinking I wasn’t really going to like it since it had the word boxing in it, but after the first few days I began to really enjoy it.

Though the tai chi master speaks no English, and I can barely understand anything he says, it is a really relaxing way to start off the day. Being a morning person came to my advantage when I found out about this, because classes are from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., ending just a half hour before classes start, giving us just enough time to get to class.

Though the motions are slow in tai chi, each movement flows into the next making it seem as if it is one long movement. This has not only helped me learn more of the culture by learning here in China but also helped me learn some words, which the tai chi master shouts frequently.

    — Stephanie Diehl, international business major