Sidney is an incoming Freshman in the 2013 Flagship Cohort. She is participating in a program in China prior to joining us, the NSLI-Y program for high school students or recent grads. This is her first trip to China, and she is sharing her experiences with first impressions.

Hello all!
Thank you for tuning in. I just wanted to write some tips today about how to survive in China.
  1. Get used to squat toilets. They are very common. Most, if not all, public restrooms will have them.If the toilet is not a squat toilet, it is one that flushed differently than the ones in America.The  water to flush comes from the bottom up. It is very different.
  2. Americans are seen as very beautiful, mostly because we are foreigners. When I went to a museum with my host sisters, I had a group of boys tell me I was beautiful and wanted to talk to me. They act very shy, it’s quite funny.
  3. Chinese families will try and get you to continue eating, even after you are full. It is seen as bad hospitality if a guest leaves hungry.
  4. You will eat things that you have never seen before, and many things that you won’t even know what they are. Try everything, even if you think you might not like it. You could be surprised.
  5. Some foods, even if you aren’t partial to them, you should get used to eating. Sometimes its just better to grin and bear it.
  6. If you are coming to China, and don’t know the language (like me), you will get frustrated. Very frustrated. Don’t let it discourage you, use it to fuel your desire to learn more.
  7. It is very hot. Get used to sweating. A lot.
  8. Don’t be stupid. I was climbing on a rock at the beach and decided to try and climb down the wet side rather than the dry side and slipped and got my clothes all wet and dirty.
  9. Traffic is crazy, and not like America. People are supposed to watch out for cars, not the other way around. Pay attention, or you might get hit by a car.
  10. Chinese people are very good drivers. I have yet to see a car that has a single scratch on it, which surprised me, due to the insane way they drive. But, they know what they are doing.
  11. Typhoons are serious, and can actually happen…. The more surprising thing is that they actually cancelled school for it here! (and make it up on the weekend)
  12. Nothing is soft here. The beds are like sitting on a concrete slab with a blanket underneath you. I swear I have bruises on my hips from sleeping.
  13. School goes on for a very very long time. I have class from 8:30 a.m. to 5:10 p.m.
  14. Taking the bus isn’t that scary, just memorize your stop if you cant read Chinese (like me!)
  15. Taking the bus and then walking home takes a long time. (For me it is about 50 minutes. 30 riding the bus, 20 walking.)
  16. Bring a good umbrella, preferably one that works… (unlike MINE!) in case of a, oh I don’t know, typhoon or something.
  17. Wear sandals.. Not tennis shoes that don’t dry.Don’t get frustrated because are terrible at speaking Chinese. you can’t learn it in a day!