In Someone Else’s Shoes

I am very glad to be back home in Indiana after spending spring break away from home, and hope that everyone who stayed here enjoyed their “staycations,” and tried some new things – hopefully some of the things I mentioned in my last post! 

As part of my COM 407 class, we were encouraged to interview a classmate about our topic, and use it in a blog post. I am fortunate to have met a very special classmate who is attending Purdue from a very far distance. 

Jade is a fellow classmate who I had not spoken to until this week, and she is from China. Through speaking with her, I also learned something special – she also worked as a waitress in a restaurant while she was home for the summer. 

Realizing that there would probably be cultural differences between dining out in the U.S. and China, I asked her what she thought the biggest difference was between here and her home country.

“In China, waiters and waitresses don’t expect tips,” says Jade. “You definitely can leave them, but we don’t anticipate them and it’s not our primary source of pay like it is here.” 

That brought up another question for me, because I know that waiters and waitresses really depend on tips in the U.S. because their pay is quite often less than minimum wage.

In China, it’s different. 

“You can easily support a basic living on the salary from a waitressing job in China,” Jade said. 

Another difference between restaurants in China and restaurants in the U.S. is fairly closely related to the difference in tipping. Because waiters and waitresses don’t receive tips, they don’t constantly check on their tables to see if they need anything.

“If you have any requests, you can just call them over,” said Jade about waiters in China.

Sitting down and having this conversation with Jade was really interesting for me, because I have never been abroad to experience different cultures. Learning about it firsthand from someone who grew up in a different environment than me was extremely eye opening, and I will definitely take more opportunities to talk to people from different cultures.

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