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Former US labor secretary lists cultural differences between China and US

By Yan Dongjie (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2015-10-28 17:10

Former US labor secretary lists cultural differences between China and US

Former US labor secretary Elaine Lan Chao visits Peking University on Oct 21, Beijing.[Photo/tsinghua.edu.cn]

Students should go abroad to study and not be afraid to be a part of a multiracial society, said Elaine Lan Chao, the 24th US Secretary of Labor, in Peking University on October 21.

Chao, a Chinese American who created history by becoming the first Asian woman in history to be appointed to a US president's cabinet, shared her observation on cultural differences between Eastern and Western cultures.

She has lived most of her life in the US, but her family has maintained the traditional Chinese way of education, which has contributed to Chao's success in the fields of both finance and politics.

Chao encouraged students to interact with the outside world, and listed her insights on what the US and its people are like, which she hopes will be helpful to the young generation's understandings of western world.

Diverse society

Chao said that Asian immigrations are becoming a bigger share of the US population, and will become the single largest immigrant group in America in the next 40 years.

"No group will be considered a 'majority' population. Everyone will be a minority. So, don't be afraid to be a part of this multiracial society," Chao said, encouraging students to study abroad.

Direct approach

For those who have plans to study or live in the US, Chao said the biggest difference they must get used to is that people must speak up and ask for what they want clearly.

"In America, do not expect others to anticipate what you want," Chao said, adding that in Asian culture people are more practiced and skillful at reading nonverbal communication cues, which is totally different in the US.

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