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Amiel
2009-10-25, 09:16 AM
The opportunity has arisen for me to possibly go on a three month study trip to China to improve my fluency in the language; I am fluent but it could use some work.

There seems to be a quite a lot of folks here on Gitp capable of speaking Mandarin and/or having been to China :)
What do people think of China (for those who have been and for those who have yet to go)? The country, I mean. For those of you have been there, please share with us your stories and experiences! :)

Having grown up in Australia for nearly all my life, I must admit that I found the differences between the two, especially the overcrowedness, the pushing and shoving every time public transportation was used, to be rather eye-opening. Nowadays, the differences, apart from cultural, are not so noticeable.

What struck me the most is that the country really is beautiful, despite the accusation that the cities were too polluted for human habitation; for a country of its population, it is amazing that some areas in the country are still as beautiful and pristine as they are. Another is the magnificence of the architecture and relics of dynasties of the old, you don't find the transition from old world to new particularly jarring or pronounced.

Some pictures! (not by me)
http://bruusgaard.deviantart.com/art/China-17364229
http://crank0.deviantart.com/art/China-bridge-100077612
http://blazko.deviantart.com/art/China-Yangshuo-1-136213147
http://turn-the-paradise-on.deviantart.com/art/224-China-Street-59202309
http://nickyayumi.deviantart.com/art/china-mountain-58805212
http://chopen.deviantart.com/art/West-Lake-Hangzhou-China-139921637
http://merlincoen.deviantart.com/art/China-67273254
http://0ooo0.deviantart.com/art/Landscapes-CHINA-7-66063880
http://iheard.deviantart.com/art/China-83311018
http://fernangi.deviantart.com/art/Modernized-China-58853825
http://flashen.deviantart.com/art/China-36356259
http://eddensheya.deviantart.com/art/China-23842273
http://foureyes.deviantart.com/art/memory-of-China-26936146
http://hermosag.deviantart.com/art/The-Venice-of-China-22676258
http://leafa.deviantart.com/art/China-06-Garden-38862586
http://0ooo0.deviantart.com/art/Landscapes-china-001-61925366
http://phatpuppy.deviantart.com/art/Slow-Boat-to-China-123924031
http://0ooo0.deviantart.com/art/Landscapes-china-6-65918669
http://rengaa.deviantart.com/art/China-street-33585641
http://xxgirlcalledkillxx.deviantart.com/art/china-55080029

Yora
2009-10-25, 09:47 AM
We have a big exchange programm with a university near Shanghai. I knew a guy who went there (though havn't heard how it was), and the chinese students here are all really nice people.
It's quite easy to think of the chinese as a bit backwards from what we get to see in the news and movies. But when I think about the more rural parts here in central europe, they are probably really not much different from us.

But it still will probably be quite an adventure. Can't wait for my first trip to Japan.

thubby
2009-10-25, 10:51 PM
i have an uncle who lives there, expect massive culture shock.

cycoris
2009-10-25, 11:32 PM
I just moved back to the States after living in China for 10 years. Depending on how long you're there, you might not even get to the sucky part of culture shock. And also if you know that you'll be home soon, you probably won't react the way that someone who's going to be living there long-term would.

Where will you be? The culture and language in various parts of China can be totally different. I only really feel qualified to talk about North-eastern China (a.k.a. Manchuria). I lived close to Shanghai for two years as well, but wasn't really immersed in the culture, and I never did learn the local language.

Some more information on your situation there would give me a better idea of what to tell you.

Winter_Wolf
2009-10-26, 01:24 AM
Three months is more than enough time to get plenty of exposure to the sucky part of the culture. Just like any other place. Most people are nice, some of them even treat you just like anyone else (as opposed to, "oh look, a foreigner").

The cities are generally filthy, but people still manage to survive in it, and it's getting better. Some places are cleaner than others, and if you're asthmatic, you're going to suffer. Even if you're not, the first week here will be harsh as you try to adapt to breathing in the constant pollution, though it varies by time of year, region, and whether or not the wind blows a huge cloud of pollution over your town for a few days. (Shanghai got a cloud of DongBei--that's the northeastern region--pollution last week and it was not fun.

Out of curiosity, and since China is a really big place, do you know yet what city or town you're thinking of doing your studying? Time of year matters to a somewhat lesser degree, but just as an example, living in Shanghai or Guangzhou in the months from June-September will be hot, where if you lived in say Beijing or Harbin (now that's a nice place) from October-May, expect to freeze your butt off for a good part of that time.

llamamushroom
2009-10-26, 03:27 AM
Bearing in mind that I've only spent about a month there, and a good proportion of that going to a high school in Beijing, I can't really comment on the 'adult' experience.

However, let me say this: Lijiang, in Yunnan, is beautiful. Seriously, the old town there is stunning, and seems to have a fairly active night-life (which would probably only be appreciated by someone who can actually speak the language - I was only fine if they asked about the weather or my holiday plans :smallwink:). A word of advice; do not, I repeat, do not go to a restaurant called "le petit paris". Despite its name, it is a Chinese restaurant from which 90% of the guys in my exchange group got food poisoning.

As far as culture shock goes, remember that they drive on both the right and the wrong side of the road (which is the same thing :smallwink:), and that outside of major cities the road-rules, such as they are, do not apply.