- Humility is a virtue to the Chinese. Bragging or exaggerating is considered very rude.
- Expectations of time commitments are to be prompt and on-time.
- If you are a guest for a meal in a home, bring a small gift of fruit; never eat before the host.
- When eating rice, it is customary to hold the bowl close to your mouth.
- When finished with chopsticks, place them on the chopstick rest. Do not leave them parallel on top of your bowl or standing straight up in your rice bowl. Try not to drop them.
- Serving dishes in a Chinese home are not passed around. Everyone just reaches to the dish.
- Never take the last bit of food from a serving dish (it indicates you are still hungry).
- Fruit is typically served at the end of the meal.
- If you do not want refills of tea in your cup, leave some in the cup.
- Greetings typically involve a nod or slight bow, but the person may offer a hand to shake.
- Names can be tricky, so just ask the student what they desire to be called and introduced as.
- Avoid exaggerated hand gestures, and do not touch people you do not know.
- Use an open hand to point instead of a finger. To beckon, use the hand down and scoop.
- When giving a gift, use both hands. Gifts are not usually opened in the presence of the giver. Use red when wrapping a gift (considered lucky).
- Some Chinese decline three times even when they want to accept something. Offer at least three times.
- Casual clothing should be conservative.
Principles cited in this blog: Many dos and don’ts to remember in order to be thoughtful.
Application for ISI ministry: We desire to be winsome and thoughtful to our guests from other countries. Learning a few small customs can make a big difference!
Next blog topic: Being thoughtful to students from Korea.