Over the past decades, China has undergone a swift growth development and change which is attracting all manner of people.These days it is becoming more and more tourist-friendly with billions of tourist traveling here every year. China is still leading as one of most desired locations for International Internships and Study Abroad. Partly because of the language and unique opportunity it presents to young people. While China’s modernization is increasing and at a faster pace, with many western amenities and exposure, there remain other hurdles that you might need to be aware as you prepare for your Summer Internship in China or to learn Mandarin in China. After four years of living in China, I have made some of the guidelines to help along the way. Hopefully, these will assist you to understand the challenges and beauty of living in China. Whether it is long term or short term, these are prevailing issues any foreigner may meet while on a trip to China
You will get the awesome praises on the street for speaking that rusty Chinese! People of China are delighted if you make any attempt to speak Mandarin, even if it is few words which you learned from your survival Chinese while you arrive in China. To create a good first impression, always meet people with a genuine broad smile, you will get the help you want.
Exchange currency at ATM s in China
Many banks in China do not accept foreign cards but larger bank such as HSBC, ICBC and CCB can be used to withdraw local currency from foreign bank accounts. You can get a better exchange rate in these banks than the other popular banks. I always advise our interns not to change foreign currency at the airport, their offer very low rates you may not like. You need to make a good financial decisions in order to make sure you are within budget.
Handling air pollution while in China
It is no more a secret that most cities in China have pollution issues but over the years that I have lived in China, I see this problem reduce year after year, especially in Beijing. So how do you prepare for a bad day? Download a PM2.5 Monitor on your phone and check the level of pollution every day before stepping out of your apartment. Many people wear nose masks on days with dangerous air pollution signals; I will advise you do so on the heavy polluted days. You can find nose cover in the local pharmacy, supermarket or hospital.
Drinking water in China
Red Alert! Almost all of the tap water in China is not drinkable. Drinkable water is what sold in bottles, which is available in the closest Supermarket in your neighborhood in most supermarket and stores. You should also consider buying a water dispenser and sign a delivery package which delivers portable water and may be cheaper than buying bottled ones.
You would not get visas on arrival in China, so you will need to arrange your visa in advance of your trip. Every visa type has its requirements. We have prepared an excellent article to help you understand the details of Chinese Visa. China Internship placements, settle visa arrangements and all documentations for our participants. Visit the Chinese embassy in your country or look online for more information.
Overcrowded tourist attractions
Some tourist attractions are overrated and can be filled with tourist on the weekends and early in the morning and midday. Avoid visiting mid-morning and mid-afternoon because group bus tours unload hundreds, if not thousands of visitors to the sites. Places like Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, The Greate wall gets crowded beyond imagination among people attending, the majority are Chinese. So if you want to enjoy your time out, make sure you study the visitation patterns and avoid the crowd. It could be annoying sometimes
The Concept of Street Food in China
If you are not hungry but wanted something light, street food can save you! Maybe you do not have enough time to sit and eat, but you need something quick to eat, Chinese Street Food comes in handy. Many say that Chinese street food is delicious, and it is almost everywhere you turn, but you also need to be careful and consider health and cleanliness. I have had friends who ate street food and suffered poisoning. When choosing a vendor to purchase street food, consider where the local Chinese are buying, and that may be a good signal.
The real Shock! Spitting in China
It is very common to see a Chinese spit carelessly on the street. I have witnessed this for years, and probably not bothered anymore. Spitting has been one of the greatest shocks foreigners get while traveling in China. I got curious to about the fact that Chinese do not use handkerchiefs and tissues to clear their noses, and instead, spit. But I was told that Chinese feel nasty that foreigners use handkershiefs to clear their nose and still keep it in their bags. While this can be a bit confronting and uneasy to look at when you first arrive in China, they are similarly get confused when they see us blowing our noses and keeping it.
Using VPN to get online
The internet is censored in China and we call it the “the Greate Wall” of China. Social websites, Foreign news agencies and some other targeted foreign media are not allowed in China so you would need a VPN to see browse your favorit sites such as Facebook, Google, Instagram, twitter and another foreign websites. You would need a VPN to use most of these sites and be sure to install it on your phone before you enter China
Carry your toilet tissue with you
You will hardly find a public toilet that supplies toilet paper funny right? Probably because Chinese are a lot, the public spending bill will rise if Chinese should be supplying free toilet papers. I have empowered you with this information so you know what to do when you are in China! Always carry a toilet paper in your handbag or bag pack. You can take small travel packs (dry tissue and wet toilet wipes) are now available many places. You may use little packs of wet wipes to use in areas your body will touch.
Chinese food is filled with different aroma and taste, and Delicious foods are probably on top list of every traveller. One word to qualify Chinese dishes “variety”. I have never seen that amount of diversity in any country I have travelled like I am witnessing in China. With a long history, unique features, numerous styles and excellent cooking, Chinese cuisine is one important constituent part of Chinese culture.
Download Weixin (or WeChat)
China’s most used messaging app is Weixin (WeChat in English), and there you can meet everybody alike. Download the free app and set it up, as it is an excellent way to keep in touch and communicate with locals who may not have social media. Check out apps you should download when traveling to China.