Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Kelsey R. - Nanchang, China - Spring 2013

Let me start by saying "culture shock" is an understatement! I had no idea what to expect when I left for China, and I never could have dreamed that China would be like this. My flight from Detroit to Shanghai was long but promising because there were so many Americans on the flight and everyone spoke English. That all changed the second I arrived in Shanghai! Trying to find my connecting flight to Nanchang was nearly impossible and extremely frustrating to not know the language. Once I arrived to my dorm and got a good night sleep I was ready to face China! I will admit the first couple nights here were definitely difficult, between the jet lag, new food, and language challenge.
I was the first to arrive out of all the international students which was pretty scary considering there was no one to relate with right away. My first meal here I went to breakfast with my RA who speaks pretty good English. The restaurant was down a little ally way with only two tables inside. We ate rice and beef for breakfast. It tasted pretty good but it will definitely take some getting use to. The chopsticks were a challenge my first day, but after a week of being here they are getting easier to use! I am in more of the outskirts, true areas of China, so not many people know English and they rarely see foreigners. Coming to China I knew I would stick out because of my blonde hair, but I was not prepared for the staring and pointing. Once I began to move past the culture shock, it was actually very exciting. Everything is new and different and there are so many places to explore. Not to mention, everything is extremely cheap! My dinners for the past week have been about 5yuan each, which is less than 1us dollar. There are also very interesting markets everywhere with everything you can imagine, including food and clothing. I've learned that in the Chinese culture people are very welcoming to new people, and even though I do not know a lot of the Chinese language, they never seem to get frustrated with me when I try to communicate while ordering food or other things.
As more international students arrive I am beginning to not only learn about the Chinese culture but other cultures around the world. I’ve meet students from Finland, Holland, Germany, Australia, Spain and many other countries so far. This week all the international students (there are 36 of us) will go on different tours of the city and do some sightseeing. We all live in the campus hotel on the sixth floor, and each of us has our own rooms. Last night we went to the local Chinese karaoke bar which was a very different experience! We had a lot of fun and many of us got up and sang even though we were horrible! It’s cool to see what other cultures do for fun and entertainment. Classes start next week, which should help with the language barrier. I am taking four language courses, two culture/business classes and Kong Fu. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kelsey!
China Sounds so cool. Looks like you are having lots of fun. I bet it is really interesting to experience another culture! Have lots of fun ! See you next year.

Michael Newton

10:55 PM  
Blogger Katie Hun said...

Hey Kelsey!

First of all, I want to say that I miss you! I'm glad to hear you're adjusting well. China sounds a little intimidating and I'm impressed with how well you're responding to culture shock. The language and communication, eating styles, and lifestyle sounds a lot different than the United States and I'm glad you're experiencing something so different.

-Katie Hunsberger

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was an interesting post about responding to culture shock. You went over some things that a lot of people don't think about. It's great to read about a study abroad experience in someplace very different

-Nima CPP250

10:38 AM  
Blogger Damon Holst said...

I can imagine your culture shock experience was much more intense then those that went to Europe. Do you have any interesting or funny stories about your culture shock experiences?

12:11 AM  
Blogger Antonio Cabral said...

China seems amazing!! I finally got accepted to go to the same program you are in and I am so excited! It sounds like you are dealing well with the culture shock. China seems like a very challenging culture to get used to.

12:24 AM  

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