I arrived here in China exactly two months ago. Time flies by so fast, but during these two months I’ve experienced so much and China has already left so many impressions in my mind.
Shanghai at night - Pudong
I’ve been attending school now for one month. I get up at 6 o’clock everyday, go out at 6.40 a.m. and arrive by metro around 7.35 a.m. I already mentioned it in my previous post: The subway is full during rush hours and people are squeezed like sardines. My first lesson starts at 8 a.m., but before 7.50 a.m. we have to enter the building and aren't allowed to leave it until lunch break or end of school. If you're late, you'll get a warning letter.
Most of the lessons (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Chinese Literature) I can’t follow, so I study by myself writing down Chinese Characters, memorizing them and solving exercises in my Chinese books. I also attend special Chinese classes based on my level and study with international students from whom most of them are Koreans. As I'm studying in the international department of the school I unfortunately don't really get the chance to make many Chinese friends and English is still the main language I use. However, we also have Chinese students in our department. School usually finishes at half past three. After it you can attend special interest and self-study classes.
“IS CHINESE HARD TO LEARN?”
You have to study and memorize vocabulary and grammatical structures, as well as use them. This takes time and effort. Unless you’re a genius, you can’t learn a new language without time and effort; that’s just the way it is. Chinese is just like any other language in this respect.
Most sentence structures are similar to English. Furthermore, Chinese has no irregular verbs, no verb tables, no noun plurals and no gendered parts of speech. For all you students who learn Latin, French, German, Russian or Spanish, I think you know what I’m saying here!
Moon Cakes in the making
Besides studying Chinese some other things have influenced my daily routine here in China.
I USE CHOPSTICKS AT EVERY MEAL
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all eaten with chopsticks. However, sometimes I use a spoon too.
Who wants to have lunch with us?
I CAN'T DRINK TAP-WATER
If it doesn’t come from a bottle or it’s not a hot drink, don’t drink it.
afternoon coffee with a friend vs. the phone addiction
I ENJOY DELICIOUS MEALS FOR A VERY LOW PRICE
However, most of my money I spend here is probably on food and drinks. During the week I have to buy my own lunch here, but with prices that low and quality food it’s not a huge concern of mine.
I still try to figure it out why my classmates use these filters.
GOING OUT OF THE SCHOOL GATE MEANS TAKING YOUR LIFE IN YOUR OWN HANDS
Traffic lights mean nothing and crosswalks might as well be invisible. Cars, motorcycles and bicycles all believe the have the right of way.
I SHOULDN'T FLASH TOILET PAPER DOWN THE TOILET
This system here can’t handle any amount of toilet paper. You better throw the used toilet paper in a little trashcan after taking care of your business. Good to know: Some public places don’t provide toilet paper at all, which means that you have to bring your own. Carry a pocket pack of tissues!
This is my school uniform including two trousers, one skirt, two shirts (short and long sleeves) and two different jackets. I'll also get a winter jacket and two blouses soon.
THERE IS THIS POSSIBILITY OF NOT HAVING ACCESS TO A WESTERN TOILET,
which I don’t mind, but you should definitely know how to squad and protect your pants (and shoes) in case you don’t target. An Eastern toilet is basically an urinal inserted into the floor.
my school in Shanghai
HAVE YOU EVER HEARD ABOUT THE OPEN-CROTCH PANTS
You might see a baby wearing the pants with a giant hole on the bottom and catch the Chinese toddler relieving himself, right on the street. Get used to it!
I GET A NOTIFICATION ON MY PHONE ABOUT THE AIR QUALITY EVERY DAY
We all know that China’s big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have serious problems with their air. However, the air in Shanghai was for its circumstances not bad so far.
wonderful entrance of a school
FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE, GOOGLE, INSTAGRAM... AND SNAPCHAT ARE BLOCKED
When you’re not using the magic of a VPN, an error message pops up if you google Facebook, YouTube or Instagram.
But the most important thing is that I’m totally fascinated and mesmerized by this culture and my life here. There are no real negatives but cultural nuances that take a little time until some of us Westerners get used to it. I definitely do not regret that I came to China to spend my exchange year 2017/18!
Shanghai's largest green zone, Century Park
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to write me a message and I’ll get back to you!
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