Which language is the most used in the world? It is Chinese. The reason why more people speak Chinese than English, which is the world's official language, is that the Chinese population is so huge with over 1.4 billion. As there are so many Chinese around the world, and China is becoming more influential in the global market, many people want to learn Chinese. Do you want to study in China? Why not?
The Two Faces of Life in China
In fact, living in China, I felt that China was more advanced than I thought. In some areas, it is more advanced than Korea. For example, there is a unique system of payment. We scan QR code for payment using apps such as Alipay, or WeChat Pay. Restaurants, shops, and even small street vendors, taxis and vending machines have their own QR codes. We can buy anything only with cell phone.
Like this, living in China has many advantages. In the case of meals, different to Korea, we can cook in dormitories. And there are many kinds of delivery services just like in Korea. Most of the prices in China are cheaper than Korea, so we can have various kinds of food conveniently and cheaply. In addition, even though China has a huge territory, the transportation system is well developed so we can move to another place conveniently.
At the same time, there are also many inconveniences. First of all, when we need to do something in the school office or fix something, they do not provide solutions quickly. In addition, there are not many bars or restaurants that run as late as those in Korea. Although you may be more adapted to the fast services of Korea, living in China is much more convenient than you think.
How to Study Chinese?
In the case of the CBNU off-campus program to China, we basically take classes in a language school. It consists of subjects such as grammar, speaking, listening, writing, and reading. All classes are taught in Chinese. Just by reviewing hard what you learned in classes and memorizing many words, you can pass the HSK exam quite easily. Moreover, if you feel studying in language school is not enough, there is also a way to audit the regular courses.
Though it is not easy to understand, if you take classes that you are interested in such as tennis and handicrafts, or classes related to Korea, you will be able to understand them more easily. Furthermore, you can make Chinese friends with common interests. Above all, you should be careful not to interact with only Korean friends. Of course it is good to have a friend to rely on in another country. However, keep in mind that going outside and hanging out with Chinese friends is the best way to improve speaking and listening skills.
Would You Be My Friend?
In fact, there is no set way to make friends. However, as a tip in the case of Chinese, they are used to adding friends on WeChat which is a Chinese messaging application similar to Kakao Talk. If they feel like they want to be friends after a little conversation, they usually ask to add you as a WeChat friend. If you see a Chinese who wants to be a friend, go and talk to him or her. It is one of the basic and best ways to make Chinese friends.
In addition, you can participate in school club activities. China begins its first semester in September, so it is possible to look around promotional booths for the various clubs and select what you are interested in in September.
Furthermore, you can also participate in exchange programs with Chinese organized by international student union. While playing games and talking together, you can find common interests and become friends.
Most of the Chinese people I have met have positive images about Korea and Koreans. In addition, there are many people who are interested in Korean dramas, singers and cosmetics. If you approach them politely, they will gladly be your good friends.
1. Is the fine dust really serious?
- When I first landed at a Chinese airport, I was surprised to see the gray sky. China is very huge, so the air condition varies from region to region, and from day to day. However, especially when I went to Beijing, the air was not good, so my eyes, face and hands felt uncomfortable all day long.
2. Is it true that China has many fake goods?
- Most people in China use an internet shopping mall called Taobao. The advantage is that people can buy goods at a low price, but it is also true that there are many fake products. In the case of brand-name goods, it is safe to buy from applications that sell genuine products. To give you a tip for buying products which are not brand-name, check the online review carefully. When you see bad assessments from other consumers, if people say that there is a problem with the material, design, or size of the product, you should check it carefully. On the other hand, if people do not complain about the product itself, but mention other situations regarding the company, such as it was delivered too late, we can judge it as a reliable product. If you just look carefully, you can buy good and cheap products.
3. Which city is good for studying?
- Think carefully about your goal of studying in China. If you want to travel around various regions, you should choose cities located in central China. Of course we learn standard Chinese in language school, but China's territory is so large that each region has its own dialect. If you want to study in a place with few dialects, I recommend you to go north. In addition, the weather varies widely from region to region, so you'd better consider these things and choose schools and cities according to your individual preferences.
4. Is there anything I should prepare before going to China?
- China's tap water is lime water that contains more lime than Korea. Rust or impurities also often come out. Therefore, as many international students suffer from the water there, it is recommended to buy a shower filter. In addition, applications such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Google are not available in China. To use these applications, we have to use an IP address from other countries. Therefore, it is recommended to install a vpn application in advance.
The purpose of studying abroad would not be simply learning a language. I think the more important thing is that you learn to form your own values and broaden your personal view of the world by meeting new people, traveling, and experiencing new and exciting things, good and bad. All your experience abroad will be a new challenge to you. If you engage in everything constantly and actively, you will find yourself turning into a better person when you return from studying abroad.
Choi Jee-min, The Dept. of Chinese Language & Literature