So you are planning to come to China soon and it’s the first time?
If the answer is yes, here are some good tips you should know before you come.
I’m especially writing this for the French BTS Students, firstly because I’m a former one; when I came here the first time I can tell you that I was really surprised since I had different expectations about China.
Secondly because for most of the BTS people, this trip is the first (and certainly not the last) international experience and coming to China is a big challenge for most of them (at least it was for me).
My best advice before you come: buy a guide to China (like Lonely Planet, or Le Guide Michelin and le Routard for French readers). These small guides give you the most precise idea of what China looks like. They contain advice on how to behave in daily situations, with some Chinese vocabulary in it, so you can order food or explain where you want to go to a taxi driver.
I swear by my Michelin guide, it was my best friend when I came the first time and used it countless times.
I also believe you should be prepared for the contrasts here. You can be walking in a rich part of town where people don’t even look at you and you have to pay attention not to be run over by these same people in their big western car. Then if you continue your walk, maybe less than a kilometre away you may arrive at a part of town where not so many foreigners are living, and people are surprised to see a white guy walking around and sometimes even take some pictures with you.
Be also open minded in your everyday life, don’t have a western outlook on things. Otherwise you’re going to be disappointed – adopting a cool and relaxed attitude is the best way to really enjoy your Chinese experience.
You won’t feel lonely in China because you will always have people around you, Intern China teams in Qingdao, Zhuhai and Chengdu will always be here for you if you have any problems or questions about the Chinese way of life, plus there are many other interns who can help you.
That takes me to my next point of advice: Mingle! The best way to integrate into Chinese life is to meet people and create a strong network of friends and acquaintances. There are many foreigners in Qingdao, Zhuhai and Chengdu so it’s likely that what you experience will have been experienced by someone else at some point. So talk, ask questions, exchange thoughts and ideas, and soak it all up!
If you have any questions or concerns before you come to China you can always send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.