Claremont McKenna’s Supplemental Essay

Chinese scholars at the Claremont Centre for Process Studies based in America are usually faced with culture shock emanating from differences between the Chinese and American cultures. Since the Claremont Centre was once known as an institute, the Chinese people who came to study here came with huge expectations. To the Chinese, an institute is an impressive place with impressive facilities. One professor from China, Xiuhua Zhang, who visited the center, expressed her shock over the fact that Claremont “institute” was situated in a tiny basement in a small crowded office that did not even have dividers, within another institution, yet it was referred to as an institute. To address this shock, the organizers of the scholars’ visits decided to use the term “center” instead of “institute” to refer to the Claremont Centre. This was done to reduce the expectations of Chinese scholars when they visited the place.

The culture shock was further exhibited by Professor Zhang when she visited America and proceeded to her host’s house. She expected to find certain things associated with American lifestyles such as a pool, lots of gadgets, and many children among others. She was surprised that her host did not have a pool, and the house was very simple. In fact, she realized that she even had better amenities back home in Beijing. In summary, the main idea behind the article is to show that culture comes with expectations. Chinese scholars can hardly believe that great ideas such as the ones that come out of the Claremont center could come out of a tiny and cramped space. The Chinese expect everything to be big and fancy just as they are used to back home.