6 Signs You've Studied Abroad in China

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To celebrate the latest edition of the QS University Rankings: BRICS, we’ve investigated some of the lasting behaviors and quirks you may pick up after studying abroad in China. Although you probably won’t notice any major changes until, say, you’ve gone back home for the Christmas or summer break, it’s likely that a few months in China will have changed you somewhat! So, stay on the lookout for these six signs you’ve studied abroad in China…


1. You’ve got WeChat.

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A few months in, and your Facebook addiction will likely to be replaced by a new-found dependence on WeChat. China’s most popular messaging and social media app owes its success to its use of QR codes, which gets around the awkwardness of having to type links and words in Chinese characters on QWERTY keyboards, and impressive functionality. Often wrongly described as China’s WhatsApp, WeChat fulfills a number of roles. It can be used to connect with your friends, hail a taxi, book a doctor’s appointment, or send cash digitally to a friend or relative. 


2. You like your water hot.

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Drinking hot water sans tea is just one of those strange habits that are hard to shake off once you’ve spent a few months studying abroad in China. Expect meals in Chinese restaurants to be served with hot, rather than iced, water. This practice is rooted in Chinese medicine and the belief that everything you eat and drink should match your internal body temperature.


3. You carry cash on your person at all times.

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You’ll realize quickly enough how important it is to have cash on you in China. On account of a general nation-wide aversion to credit and debt, many shops in China don’t accept credit cards. Of course, this is less of an issue in bigger cities, though you may still pick up this practice from your friends.


4. You’ve mastered the art of crossing any street.

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A few weeks in China and you’ll be able to cross any street – be it a 54-lane highway or a two lane-road. Your ability to spot a gap, dodge and weave will likely impress your peers when you return home!


5. You’re no longer overwhelmed by huge crowds.

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Studying abroad in China, you’ll have to learn how to cope with crowds. And this is no small feat, being perhaps the biggest challenge for exchange and overseas students moving to China. With a population of over 1.4 billion, China is home to quite a few people. From your commute to university to grocery shopping, your daily life will involve moving through waves of people.


6. Your notion of what constitutes rudeness may change.

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You may find local customs and etiquette in China to be vastly different from what you might expect. People spitting in public, pushing strangers on the street, or staring at you can be daily occurrences not in fact usually frowned upon – but failing to wear a face mask in public when you are ill or engaging in public displays of affection could earn you some irritated looks. - topuniversities.com


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