Panda Express embraces workers from Indonesia and China

Jensen Mortimer, Web Journalist

With roughly 19.5 percent of the world speaking English, individuals who move to America, get quite a bit of culture shock. At the food chain Panda Express, located in Jackson, MI, there are employees who have adapted to the English language in recent years.

Stacia Mcdole, age 18, moved to the U.S. in May of 2019, coming from Indonesia.

“I’ve always been back and forth from Indonesia to the states. My family has come here every four years for a span of six months,” said Mcdole. “I actually plan on staying in the States for the next four to six years to attend college.”

Moving in and out of seven different states before finally settling down in Michigan, Mcdole decided to start working at Panda Express in Jackson.

“I chose Jackson, MI because my sister lives here, and she has a job here. I wanted to be next to her for a year because I haven’t seen her in two years,” said Mcdole.

As America is unique compared to other countries, the differences in religion, food, and overall life is a complete contrast to what Mcdole experienced back in Indonesia.

“The main problem I face on a day to day basis is the culture shock. People here act differently from the Asain customs, as we are a humble culture because that is what we are expected,” said Mcdole.

In addition, Jiali Xu, Mcdole’s boss and manager, is also here from a different country. Xu moved to the United States in 2011, prior to living in Jiangxi, China.

“I came to the states because that is where my husband is from. We first lived in Florida, but ended up moving to Michigan to be closer to my husband’s family,” said Xu.

Xu goes through similar culture issues as Mcdole does due to the fact that they are both foreign to the States. Since Xu has moved to the US, she has noticed lots of differences through every-day circumstances, such as understanding American ways of life.

“The problems I had with moving countries are the cultural differences, especially the different opinions and backgrounds,” said Xu. “It was extremely hard to make friends, understand certain jokes, relate to certain topics, and not have any deep connections with people.”

 Xu keeps fond memories of China and sees the difference America offers.

“The food back home is amazing, like breathtaking,” said Xu. “Plus, in the middle of the night you could walk around freely without feeling in danger, which I now understand is not the same here.”

Since Mcdole and Xu moved to the United States, they have dealt with the major cultural differences, but have now obtained ways to work around their problems and make the most of what America has to offer.