Off DeWall: Research the Day Away, but with a Long Lunch

            We had a full day of learning today, with a long break sprinkled in for fun. Although it would be unheard of to have class on Sundays in America, it’s somewhat normal in China. We met from 9:50am-12:25pm and 2:25-5:00pm. We covered a lot of material, from how and why social psychologists do their research using the scientific method to how social psychologists formulate and test their theories. It was a ton of fun!

            Between the two class sessions, we had a two-hour break for lunch. This is quite common at Chinese universities. Students and faculty have a long lunch and then usually take a nap for about 30min-1hour. I couldn’t believe it! When my teaching assistants told me that I would be able to change the schedule, my first thought was that we needed to shorten the two-hour lunch to about 30 minutes. After all, that’s what I do at home in Kentucky. (In reality, I usually eat my lunch during a meeting, so I effectively don’t take lunch breaks.)

            This idea did not go over well at all with the students. “We’ll get tired in the afternoon, making it hard to concentrate,” they told me. I agreed and we kept the two hour lunch break.

            I must admit that I didn’t know what to do with myself during this long break. Do I write? Do I email? Do I, heaven forbid, rest? I ate some Oreo cookies, read the NY Times, and played a game on my iPad. It was actually pretty fun. My batteries were re-charged by the time the second class session started.

            Each day I gain a new appreciation for the small cultural differences that make travelling so interesting. Whether it’s the exotic foods, the different ways we express ourselves through language and our non-verbal behaviors, or long lunch breaks that encourage rest and relaxation, I feel like I’m more connected with the global community.