Currently a student at a university in China, I wrote this observation for a internship application. Came out pretty accurate. I seem to write more honestly when under a deadline.
Clash of Civilizations 2
The international dormitories at Huazhong Normal University locally known as Huashi have gathered from all corners of the world students to this central region of this middle kingdom. According to Huntington all these individuals already identify with a particular civilization (cultural entity) and he hypothesizes that when put together conflict and divisions among humankind will be along these lines.
Well Huashi ingeniously and perhaps unintentionally puts this hypothesis into context. China is increasingly becoming a desirable place to live, study, observe and get involved in. By no surprise the school’s language program which ranks top ten in the country has attracted students from all over the world including countries stretching west: past Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia, way beyond West Asia to the African continent; a popular venture for China, Europe and the America’s until soon you make your way back around the globe. With soaring numbers that fearlessly encourage the erection of new living quarters, our community is quickly expanding.
And the results of Huntington’s hypothesis:
Put simply so far so good. There has been no outright conflict within our community. Students unify with their lack of language capabilities to communicate with each other through sign language until they are able to formulate whole sentences. Expecting a tower of Babylon scenario to occur would not get you far here, the teaching community encourages students to pursue cultural exploration and interact with the Chinese locals.
However that is not to say everything is dandy. Accommodation matches are not always perfect and so often students with clashing cultural characteristics are expected to live alongside each other. How can a party loving character mesh their living habits with their strictly religious peer? It takes more than getting to know and respect each other. It sometimes involves agreeing that things cannot workout and something has got to give. Quickly resolving such disputes may put off any mushrooming effects, however the presence of a strong back-boned authority also does the trick. This is probably what differentiates us from an anarchic international society and sets us apart from Huntington’s experiment.
The schools strict laws forbidding misbehavior ranging from playing loud music to 11 o’clock curfews both frustrate and keep student life in check. Additionally the prevalence of a higher authority handing out regulations and red paper warnings stuck on the inside of lifts, outside dormitory doors, on notice boards and generally everywhere tend to unify the student community with a common adversary. This is not all bad however; the international office serving with patriarchal status handles cultural life within the school, blurring divisive cultural attitudes and creating a new cultural community. There are still long strides to achieving this perspective but with conflict out of the equation were heading in the right direction.