My Top 3 Tips for Students Moving to China

Joey, Y11, Century Park Campus.

Welcome to China! Here are my suggestions for students making the move to Shanghai!

1. Learn Chinese

While China is becoming increasingly more globalised and international, Chinese is still the language being spoken by the citizens on a daily basis. While some people can speak English, learning Chinese is a must if you’re moving to China.

As a student, hopefully you’ll be living there for at least a year or two, and while learning only a few Chinese words can get you quite far as a tourist, it is different if you are living there for a longer period of time. Generally, people will always appreciate it when foreigners can speak Chinese, and not to mention, learning a new language is always beneficial!

2. Learn About the Customs

Something that’s quite culturally significant in China is being respectful to your elders. There is a lot of emphasis placed upon the hierarchy of age. Someone who is younger must listen to someone who is older, even if they have an age difference of only a few years. If someone disagrees or refuses to do what they’ve been asked to do, they’ll come across as very rude and ill-mannered. The oldest person in the room is always greeted first, using an honorific title and their surname. However, they will advise you what to call them if they want to move on to a first name basis.

Chinese people mostly do not talk to each other unless they know each other. If you get into an elevator with other strangers, it is typical to keep to yourself. They also value personal space highly, so don’t be worried if someone moves away from you; it’s likely that they’re just trying to give you and themselves more space.

3. Be open minded

No matter where you go, try not keep an open mind! That’s a great way to learn and have fun at the same time. For example, food safety can be something of concern in China so definitely keep that in mind – but try to be adventurous as well. A lot of delicious food here is sold on the side of the street in small portable stalls, so it can be worth a try.

Things in China might sometimes confuse you, but just embracing the country’s culture and viewing it without any preconceived notions will help you get the best experience out of your time studying in China!

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