International students party in the U.S.A.

Bethany English

American parties differ from other countries’

Michael Stern, 25, did not celebrate Mardi Gras last night. In fact, he didn’t even know Feb. 16 was Mardi Gras until a classmate told him. If he had seen half-naked people walking around, he would have known what day it was.

Stern is from Australia where Mardi Gras is celebrated with a “gay pride parade” rather than fistfuls of beads. The second largest LGBT community in the world lives in Sydney, and they march two miles through the city, he said.

“They celebrate their sexuality and promote gay rights,” Stern said.

Marchers deliver a political statement by making fun of politicians and people who are openly homophobic, such as George Bush, he said. The parade takes place one Saturday in early March and lasts all day and night.

Mardi Gras is not the only party that is different in Australia. Most parties take place outside by the pool because the weather is so warm, Stern said, and they are often themed.

Beer games are also a novelty for Australians. He said movies such as “American Pie” made beer pong and flip cup known in his country.

“Before I go back to Australia, people always ask me to bring back blue and red cups,” Stern said.

He was taking back hundreds of cups to his friends because they could not get them in Australia.

Parties in China are also different, Heying Zhi said. Zhi is an international student studying for her bachelor’s in international relations. Because her American friends have trouble pronouncing her name, she goes by Hailey.

In China, friends have a big dinner together and sing karaoke to old American pop songs like “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” she said.

Zhi went to her first American party last November. She said she was surprised by what she saw.

Though she wore long sleeves and jeans, she said she saw girls wearing short skirts and high heels, and it was a choice to “be prettier or keep warm.” She added it was like living in two different seasons.

The amount of make-up girls wore also surprised her. She described the girls as “shiny” and “charming” because of the make-up and flashy clothes they wore.

Chinese girls wear basic make-up, she said. Only foundation, mascara and some blush comprise their make-up — even to parties.

Dancing is also different. People dance by themselves. She said a boy would never come up to a girl he didn’t know and try to dance with her.

“There’s a line and you never cross it,” she explained.

Chinese students play drinking games but not beer pong or flip cup. They put two dice in a cup and shake them. Then, everyone guesses the total of both dice. The one closest to the number wins, and the one furthest loses.

In China, they take hard liquor like whiskey and mix it with green tea to make it taste better, she said.

At her first American party, she said she was a little “shocked.” People seemed to have a lot of fun and act “crazy,” but they don’t seem to look too far into the future about what happens at parties.

People in China don’t hook-up like some Americans, she said.

Zhi said it seems as if some people “just have fun tonight and say goodbye in the morning.”

Contact honors and international affairs reporter Bethany English at [email protected].