Some tips to consider before going to China:
- Bring your own toilet paper everywhere you go. There is no toilet paper in public restroom like in restaurants, at Beiwai, or at some touristic places.
- Don’t drink the water directly from the faucet. Boil it or buy mineral water.
- For Chinese people is uncommon to drink cold water or water with ice. If you want some cold water some restaurant offer cold bottle of water.
- Bring hand sanitizer with you because some restaurant don’t provide customer soap.
- If you are planning to go to the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, or other touristic places that you need to buy a ticket, bring your student ID, some places give discount for students.
- When buying stuff from street vendors, if they see that you are foreign some try to charge you more than the normal price so be aware of that.
- No need to pay tips in restaurant so don’t expect the same customer service from the waitress like in the USA.
Well for now these are the tips I remember. I will continue to update if I recall something else. ^^
Going to China was a dream I had since I was a little girl. I wanted so bad to go to my parent’s country, to get to know that place they talk so much about in their childhood stories. With the U of L China study abroad program we got to go Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, and Shangdong. We studied Mandarin at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, also known as Beiwai. The Mandarin program was very intensive compare to what we studied at U of L. The program consist of 18 hours per week and two parts: oral and written Chinese. Not all the lessons was in the classroom, we got to do projects outside in the park interviewing Chinese people or going to a Book Fair so we can practice speaking and listening our Mandarin. At the back side of the building where we were having our classes, students also called it the street through the small east gate, there was a lot restaurant you can choose and during the night the street is transform to a vivid night life. There are many street vendors selling kebab (vegetable, meat or bread in stick that they fried it), clothes (some of them come with their cars and they park on the sidewalk and start selling the clothes available in their trunk), accessories, and many other things. Beside studying we went to many touristic places like: the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Lama Temple, the Silk Market in Beijing, the Bund and the Wanfujing street in Shanghai, the Silk Factory and the Gardens in Suzhou, the Confucius Temple and his graveyard in Shangdong. We stayed in Shanghai for one week and in Beijing for four weeks. In Beijing the public transportation is very convenient you can take the bus or the subway to go anywhere you want. Just be very careful when crossing the street because people there drive like crazy. Pedestrian doesn’t come first instead cars go first and then you second. Another thing is that you are going to walk a lot, my dorm was located in the west campus and in the six floor, my classes was in the east campus in the fourth floor and from my dorm to my classroom was about 15 min if you walk in a fast pace, but because I am a slow walker it took me about 20 to 25 min to walk to my classes if I walk alone. Now that I am in Louisville at least I feel healthier ^^. About the sport section on campus there are plenty of places to workout, there is a gym, a swimming pool, ping pong tables, a track field, basketball, tennis, soccer, volleyball, and badminton court. Every time I passed by I saw young people playing sports, older people working out, people doing tai-chi, and the sound of people cheering for their favorite volleyball team. I had the opportunity to play ping pong with my friends and run on the track field. Definitely this was a great experience.