Cultural

Some strange Chinese habits in foreigners’ eyes

While living in China you will unknowingly pick up some of their habits and customs. The first thing I want to mention is you should be aware of how you can count using your fingers. I think it’s very convenient to use the Chinese way of counting. For example when showing the number 6: It feels much easier to make a telephone shape with one’s hand, than to use both hands for just one number. Once, I wanted to buy two bottles of water and because I was used to counting ”western style”, I ended up with 8 bottles!

InternChina - Counting from 1 to 10 using one hand
InternChina – Counting from 1 to 10 using one hand

One other funny thing is that Chinese people like to hang their bed sheets outside in the sun, on a dirty handrail right above a busy road! At first I thought they were drying them out, but since then I’ve learned that they believe you can smell the sun on the bed sheets; that it smells fabulous even if its hung by a dirty street. And they’re right!

InternChina - Clothes on the street
InternChina – Clothes on the street
InternChina - Laundry on the street
InternChina – Laundry on the street

And don’t forget the Bus Station Running Race! When it’s time to get home after work I usually take the bus. But it’s not like you can relax on your way home. First you have to run after your bus because you don’t really know where it will stop. While you are running in one direction with your many rivals, other people will bump into you, only to find out your bust just stopped behind you. After a few chases I learned approximately where my bus is going to stop and I wait there patiently while Chinese people run back and forth.

InternChina - Crowded bus stop
InternChina – Crowded bus stop

And when you finally made it and the bus stops, that’s when the elbowing starts. Chinese people don’t usually stand in line, so you have to “fight” your way into the bus, not letting anyone rush before you. At the beginning I felt like I was being pushed left and right and I had to try and balance myself to get into the bus. But after  a short while you will get used to it. The Chinese habit of ignoring strangers around you can be really convenient some times.

InternChina - Sleeping inside a train
InternChina – Sleeping inside a train
InternChina - Sleeping position for the advanced
InternChina – Sleeping position for the advanced

The strangest thing is, I really like that you can sleep everywhere you want! It might be on the train, bus, street, car, fence, anywhere is fine! Nobody cares and it’s quite normal to see. You’ll get used to it in no time and you’ll learn to doze off while standing inside the train or bus.

Apply for an internship in China and experience a different culture!