I’ve been living in China for 7 months now and man has time flown by! Many aspects of the Chinese culture are different from what I’m used to back home. Living here I’ve learned to accept the differences and continue to embrace the culture but with that being said some of these unique aspects about life here have caused quite a culture shock for me.
I’ve created a list of these unique aspects which will hopefully help prepare you mentally before your departure to this beautiful country.
In many bathroom’s in China you will encounter what we call a “squatter” toilet. A squatter is basically a toilet bowl on the ground in which you squat over to do your business. Many Westerners are usually taken aback or confused when they first come across one. It usually takes some time to get used to and one thing you always want to remember when using these bathrooms is to always bring tissue with you, there will most likely not be any available for you to use
Chinese food is delicious, so coming to China can be a foodies paradise. Once you arrive you start to notice that many of the foods we eat back home aren’t quite the same when you’re in China. Going to the night market or grocery store can sometimes cause quite a shock when we see the variety of different things to buy. It isn’t common to see things such as snakes, duck tongues, scorpions and even turtles.
Personal space or lack thereof is evident the moment you step off your plane. Westerners are used to having space so coming to China can be quite a shock, especially in public. The most common shock of all is taking public transit. Busses and trains are usually packed to the brim with strangers pressed up against you. Moments like this we need to be reminded that we are in a country that has roughly 1.3 billion people so get used to it.
The moment you step foot in China you’re an instant celebrity. Well, that’s how I felt anyways. If someone isn’t asking to take a photo of you they will most likely be starring. People will grab you, run up to you and ask you to take a photo or even sign an autograph. If it starts to get annoying you can simply say no thanks and walk away. After a photo is taken you’re often left wondering what are they going to do with that picture?
“Horking” also known as the the summoning of phlegm is quite common here in China. People spit everywhere, the side walks, the elevators, even sometimes in restaurants. This is one thing that I still find extremely difficult to get used to. I would suggest not walking inside with your shoes on and avoiding placing your purse or bag on the ground.
Jaywalking in China is very common. It can cause many traffic jams and accidents but Chinese people are extremely skilled when it comes to jaywalking. You’ll most likely see people jaywalking in groups or with their arms linked together. I’ve witnessed a man attempt to run across the street, run into a moving car and fall to the ground.