5 Things I Have Learned In China

5 Things I Have Learned In China
hadleyj09 Dec 26, 2013 13:10

5 Things China has taught me

1. Be humble. People here will spend their hard earned money (at times) to make sure that I have a comfortable life here, which leads into #2.

2. Share. Sharing is not taught to us in America, at least not as much as it should be. People share all the time here, and it really makes you feel better when you do share.

3. Look both ways. Walking across the streets in China can be dangerous, especially for someone from the west. However, for a country that has less restrictions of driving, I must say that the Chinese are the best drivers in the world.

4. Treat the culture, the people and the country with respect. Yes, there are things I don't like about China, but the good far outweighs the bad, and I see myself living and working in China for many years to come. China is a great place to work and live, and a hell of a lot safer and nicer than America, in my opinion. You don't want someone coming to your country and disrespecting it......(however, with my experience in America, you can talk as much s**t about that country as you want. I do it all the time. Just watch out for the super patriotic junkies.) 我爱中国!

5. Save your money and watch your spending. The food, clothing (if you can fit) and the life in China is so much cheaper and (depending on how rich you were in the west) is a great place to live and work. That being said, you lose a sense of money here and you have to make a budget for yourself. You still want to travel and have fun, but just be careful.


Tags:General Teaching & Learning Food Language & Culture Expat Rants & Advice Expat Tales Lifestyle


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I think one of the hardest things is budgeting. Even though things are cheaper here, I find myself spending alot of money. I think this is because since things are so cheap you get into a constant mood of enjoying things too much like eating out, shopping etc. So then in the end you get into a state of mind where you are not used to cutting back and eating at home, staying in for the weekend etc.

Jun 05, 2014 00:00 Report Abuse



To all who commented here, I'm not worried about racism in China. If for Chinese dude tells me to die, I don't care. America is full of racist people everywhere. The KKK is still around so China is not bad at all. I love this place and yeah, you do need a thick skin, but China is the place to be!!

May 15, 2014 07:44 Report Abuse



Are you saying this as someone who has experienced racism in both the states and China? From my understanding, many whites in America as well as many Chinese both think they should rule the world. Thats why theres a global standard of "white beauty" and from my point of view, Europeans thought they were the ultimate people, which is why they destroyed the native americans and f**cked over the Africans. So there will always be someone who thinks they should be in power. Also, I haven't felt any trace of being possibly physically harmed in China because I'm black, unlike the KKK where killing all black is in their heart and soul. So I think China is better in this case.

May 17, 2014 07:03 Report Abuse



Toyiah, Yeah, if you have any questions let me know. Sorry about the very late response. Didn't think people would actually read my posts, but thanks for the comment.

May 15, 2014 07:42 Report Abuse



Hi Jhad, I see you're from Illinois. :) I'm from Chicago as well. I enjoyed reading some of your blog posts. I am considering a move to China. Been there and it was a culture shock to say the least. The language barrier was the most challenging. I'd love to talk more with you about your transition.

Feb 02, 2014 13:48 Report Abuse



I must first admit that I admire your thick skin that you have living in China. Most of everybody will be met with, complain about, and ultimately unable to get over racism or other types of predjudice, regardless of who they are or where they come from. I've been in China for 3 years, I studied Chinese for 3 years out of the country and 3 years while in the country. I had 2 years of intermediate study under my belt before coming over the first year, which made life a helluva lot easier, but also opened me up to "hearing things" that I would have prefered not to hear. Anyway, after just one year I was still more or less like you, loving the place and wanting nothing more than to come back. All I have to say is, when you see so many people saying bad things about China, there has got to be a reason for this to have become a trend. For just about any international travel, there is always a "puppy love" phase that coincides for the first 1-2 years. While confused at first, I experienced that with all the Chinese majors in my university , too. The Seniors were always "burned out" and "done with China" by the time they graduated. My puppy love phase lasted 3 years, longer than most people, so I just saw others as hypocrites. Now I have to say, people have their reasons to dislike this country, and they are all legit. It's actually okay to dislike things about where you live, and as an American who only really hung out with internationals, there are many people in America who feel the same way (why do we absolutely depend on cars to get everywhere? ) I generally do my best NOT to let the Chinese people get me down , but everyday is a real battle. (wait until you realize every front desk worker in China is nothing more than a talentless, yet self-entitled, self-pitying, sour-faced prune.) It's tough staying positive here! I do think that coming down to a more neutral level would be good for you in the long run, though. Just wait for that puppy love to wear off. Anyway, good luck!

Jan 27, 2014 16:22 Report Abuse



also i Learned to drink a hot water every time

Jan 27, 2014 05:56 Report Abuse



Being humble: hmm. i find simple courtesy is better than false humility. I would not act in a way that is not in character, and false humility is just that: false. Sharing: I come from a country where sharing is the norm and taking more than your share is discouraged from an early age, so this is where i have to laugh. I always bring some candies and chocolate with me to share in my classes. in more than one class there was more than enough for everyone - and i made it clear this was the case, only to find half the class helped themselves so there wasn't enough for everyone. They then demanded i bring more. All i can say is they behaved like animals. Also when inviting people out to a meal, i have found they invite their friends and then eat like they haven't eaten for days, and YOU foot the bill. That is not to say there are not generous people on china, but the concept of depriving themselves for the benefit of others, particularly when the food is free and the people are strangers, is not a natural state for a lot that i have met. And yes, i will be down-voted for these comments

Jan 24, 2014 04:39 Report Abuse



YOu won't be downvoted by me. I see exactly the same things you put into words so well. Adults crashing weddings or spoiling kids' parties just to get to the free stuff. It's appalling, and I don't think you can use 'culture' as an excuse either.

Jan 24, 2014 16:59 Report Abuse



I agree, i think "free" gets a certain type of person way too excited here. When I first moved into my complex, the gym was free and constantly full of people just hanging out there. Including old people and babies who did not belong in a gym under any circumstances. Once they instituted a nominal 10RMB charge to get in...all that went away. It became usable because just having to pay *something* forced out all the selfish losers who didn't care they were ruining it for people actually interested in working out!

Jan 28, 2014 09:24 Report Abuse



hmmmmm....hardley, your time will soon come...enjoy it whiles it last.

Jan 22, 2014 16:51 Report Abuse



Pretty good blog post and some excellent responses. Regarding your comment about Chinese being the best drivers, I wondered what you were smoking until I saw you're in Daqing. In Beijing, car drivers regularly play chicken with each other and care almost nothing about pedestrians, bikers watch out for cars but care almost nothing for pedestrians, and pedestrians, despite having the law in their favor, must watch out for everyone. If you haven't seen a bus, followed by another bus, followed by one or two cars all blatantly driving thru a red light, you haven't been here long. It's amazing that despite the rampant flouting of traffic laws you don't see many dents. Regarding your comment about things being cheaper here, it depends on what you're buying. A car? Much cheaper in Europe and the U.S. An Apple whatever? Same. Other sophisticated electronics, shoes, and a host of other goods? Cheaper in Europe and the U.S. Bootleg DVDs and counterfeit clothes? Much cheaper here. Services and transportation? Cheaper here. Trying to buy clothes and you're taller than 183 cm and wear larger than a 45 shoe? Good luck. You'll have to search a lot, or go to the areas where the rich laowai shop and pay rich laowai prices.

Jan 18, 2014 01:48 Report Abuse



You probably won't like what I have to say, but here it is. I'll delete it from your blog if you ask me to. (1) Humility is a mandate not a choice here; so staying humble will help you keep your nose clean. (2) Sharing is appreciated, but if your generosity outweighs that of the locals, you will make many false friends out to exploit you. They keep a checks and balance even if you don't, and some people will quickly kill your optimism if they can profit without consequences at your expense. (3) Chinese driving is probably better at population reduction than their one child policy. (4) Everyone here loves China, and you can't talk about anything (not even food) without possibly offending someone. Don't believe me? http://space.echinacities.com/239770/blog/spacenodedetail/818 (5) Salaries for foreigners are stagnant while inflation rises, which probably coincides with the rising unemployment in the west. Chinese are quick to speak of foreign trash, unable to get jobs in their own countries. Best not to discuss it with locals; they become a lot less receptive once you challenge their illusions. I'm sure that for all intents and purposes, you and I project the same outward respect towards Chinese people. However I'm guessing I've probably been here a bit longer than you have (almost 2 years, correct me if I'm wrong): Cultural fatigue gets to me at times, and this is the ideal place to vent my irritations about Chinese culture. I admire your admiration for China and its people, though I doubt you've learned much Chinese yet. Have you ever heard strangers drop the term "死黑鬼"(si hei gui; die black ghost) in your presence? See if you can stay humble once you catch them saying that. I believe racial/cultural sensitivity is still in its infancy here. Honestly, the less you know about how locals think, the happier you'll be. Daqing sounds a bit like where I am; suburbia. Stay away from the city idiots, and away from the countryside idiots, and you should feel welcome enough.

Jan 09, 2014 17:29 Report Abuse



I also appreciate your positivity and good attitude very much. I was the same way when I first arrived. I REALLY wanted there to be something great and interesting about the culture here. Something positive I could take away. Unfortunately I think the reality is closer to a blend of the worst of both east and west. Our materialism without our earnest idealism, their rigid thinking without the loyalty and selflessness. I agree with coineineagh that the Chinese tend to 'keep score' about a lot of things that we don't. I think for me the turning point in how I viewed locals is after a couple years I decided it wasn't my place to make excuses for them. It's not OK for someone to be ignorant or selfish or bad mannered no matter where they are from. I started holding locals to the same standard of being interesting, ethical and fun that I would hold a western person to. There are some really great people here, but they are in the minority.

Jan 13, 2014 09:45 Report Abuse



God This post made me remember the days when i also wrote a post criticizing foreigners for bashing China all the time. It's ironic how i myself transformed into one of them. When you first arrive here you see China through the eye of the tourist, only a shell of what China is: generosity, they treat you like a celebrity, salaries are ok. But once you live here for some time you start seeing things in the Chinese way that you can't just unsee and then you either get the hell out of China (which is what i recommend) or you become an alcoholic Of course there are exceptions and there are good people but I'm talking here about the general idea. P.S. People here don't know how to drive... On many occasions i experienced accidents happening at a speed of 5 km/h or less.... For God's sake, they stop and then continue driving without looking.

Jan 14, 2014 08:57 Report Abuse



"Unfortunately I think the reality is closer to a blend of the worst of both east and west. Our materialism without our earnest idealism, their rigid thinking without the loyalty and selflessness." Thumbs up for producing another ace of intelligence there. It puts a lot of things into words that I couldn't condense properly. Thank you for that.

Jan 16, 2014 09:36 Report Abuse



The accidents like that happen in the state too man. Racism, bad people, dirty cities, bad areas, ignorant people, they all happen in China and the west...............It's been a year since Ive been here and I still love China though.

May 15, 2014 07:47 Report Abuse



Quite agree about everything except for "I must say that the Chinese are the best drivers in the world." You clearly haven't traveled to a lot of country or aren't driving here in China. That saying, good article!

Jan 07, 2014 18:24 Report Abuse



No, I am living in Daqing. A more rural, and soon to be modern area of China. I see the driving everyday. For a country with barely any driving laws, and very few accidents, the Chinese are pretty good drivers. But hey, that's just my opinion. Thanks for commenting.

Jan 08, 2014 03:41 Report Abuse



welcome to guangzhou..hehe

Jan 16, 2014 01:42 Report Abuse



Yes sure is just your point of view not a general though.You just experience driving just at the locality you are.You need to around the country in other to conclude.But Chinese drive pretty well because of few accidents that point you are right.Good day Hadley.

Jan 27, 2014 23:20 Report Abuse




May 15, 2014 07:45 Report Abuse