Chinese students come from a collective culture that values respect for elders, tradition, and humility. This differs from the American individualistic culture and could lead to misunderstandings.
One place this difference may be especially apparent is in the classroom. In China, students are taught to respect teachers and be quiet listeners. However, in the U.S., classes are more interactive and informal. As your student becomes more familiar with the format of classes and adjusts to using English all day, he/she will likely interact more.
Another cultural difference concerns the chain of command. In the U.S., when someone needs an authority figure to solve a problem, they follow the chain of command. In China, it is considered most efficient to go directly to the highest authority.
Initially, students may be “shy” speaking English for fear of embarrassing themselves if they make a mistake. The Chinese place great emphasis on saving face. Reputation is very important in their culture, and they will avoid any instance of public embarrassment or criticism.
Fun Fact: Ice cream was invented in China around 2000 B.C.