Tsinghua iTalk Grad Speech

Tsinghua University iTalk

Had the opportunity to speak at Tsinghua’s 2019 graduation and farewell party. Lots of interesting speeches and congrats to all the grads!

Tsinghua Grad Speech


Got asked to speak at Tsinghua’s 2019 graduation commencement on Tuesday, focusing on life in China after graduating.

Umm, excuse me?

Having traveled so much, I’m aware that social customs differ from country to country. However, there are some that still strike me as strange all the way to, “What the fuck?” In China, there are many that fall between this range. 

- Old guys, outside of the gym, always touch my shoulders/arms and say “So strong!” in Chinese. I know I’m strong, I go to the gym, but I don’t need you to physically grope me when I’m out in public. I’ve gotta stop wearing tank tops

- A lot of Chinese girls wear shoes with at least a 2-3 inch platforms. Not high heels, just regular shoes, with a couple inches of extra foam. I asked a co-worker why and she said, “They make me look skinnier!” No, you still look fat, just a little bit taller

- Smoking at the gym, still irks me. 

- A lot of people I talk to ask me about the season finale of TV shows, even though they are on season 1. They want to know the final result. My American buddy said that Americans love the suspense and unknown, whereas Chinese people are more focused on knowing the ending, and studying the results of how it came to be. For me, this defeats the purpose of watching the show in the first place

- Kids pooping in public. This has got to stop. It is super weird walking outside of a mall and there is a 4 year old dropping a deuce in the flowers outside the entrance

- A girl I work with told me to turn down the air conditioning or she would get sick. What??

- The starting fare for a taxi is 13 Yuan and takes a couple of minutes to start increasing. After (I think) 11pm, the starting fare is 14 Yuan and increases immediately upon moving

- It’s Fall and I’ve yet to see a girl in yoga pants. I miss American University

- I don’t understand why Chinese people don’t like African Americans or black people from any country. They constantly use ‘The N Word’, and I’ve heard some of the most racist things come out of Chinese peoples’ mouths about black people. I told a co-worker to shut his mouth before I shut it for him. I couldn’t handle the blatant racism and his denial that they were real people.