What is it like to live in China as an American?

To prepare for my study abroad in Beijing, I spent hours searching the internet and reading every blog I could find about the city. But there were still so many things I wanted to know! Now that I've been in China for nearly three years, I've gained a great deal of experience and insight.

Here are five things I wish someone had informed me before I made the big decision!

There is no one who despises you

The antipathy against me as an American was something I was aware of when I decided to go to China, particularly because our leaders don't always agree. People from China seldom criticize American politics or culture, despite the fact that I've heard them before.

Whenever I indicated that I was from the United States, the subject of American pop culture or the National Basketball Association would come up. Depending on where they're from, they may want to know things like the average wage or the cost of a property per square meter. Anyone who knows the solution to that query would be much appreciated.

The bottom fact is that you will not be despised in China just because you are a citizen of the United States. It's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with basic Chinese social norms before you arrive in the country.

If you're a fan of Chinese cuisine, you should visit China!

I was a huge fan of Chinese cuisine as a child. Since I grew up in Seattle, the Chinese cuisine here wasn't awful at all. However, there are no beef and broccoli, General Tso's chicken, or fortune cookies in China.

When I arrived at the restaurant, I was surprised to see eggplant and tofu as regulars. Aside from that, I had no clue there were so many different regional cuisines in China. A lot more could be said here.

In China, I've discovered some of my favorite meals are ones I'd never try at home. Mapuo dofu, a soft tofu simmered in a fiery sauce with chili peppers that numb your mouth, is one of my favorite dishes. My second favorite was liang fen, a rice gelatin sliced into bite-sized pieces coated with cilantro and spicy spices.

Pollution control using surgical masks is ineffective

In 2004, when I first arrived in China, I had no clue what kind of air quality I'd be dealing with. I had no idea how to protect myself from the smog and air pollution in China when I first arrived. The mask I'm wearing is... Is it something I always have on?

You should always wear a face mask while going outside in China. When it comes to stopping oneself from becoming ill on the subway, disposable surgical masks are excellent. However, they do not provide appropriate protection against air pollution.

So, what are your options for self-defense? A face mask? The white 3M construction masks are a better solution, though. You can purchase them in quantity at Home Depot, Lowe's, or Amazon, and they'll protect you against PM2.5.

If you don't have an air purifier, you're missing out.

If you're concerned about air pollution, it's best to remain indoors.

A decent air purifier is a must if you're a Chinese resident and/or employee. Studies demonstrate that while the air outside is contaminated, the air within is frequently just as polluted as well.

Everything is on WeChat

When you arrive in China, get an unlocked smartphone since WeChat will be your life.

Social messaging program WeChat is a much like Whatsapp and is quite popular. WeChat is the primary means of texting in China; most individuals don't use traditional SMS. It's possible to save your own gifs as stickers to use on WeChat, which features a variety of animated emoticons.

There’s also WeChat Wallet, where you can set up your bank card and send money to your pals with simply a text message. Even aircraft and rail tickets may be purchased using the app.

If you don't have any cash with you, this is a lifesaver. There was even a QR code to pay with WeChat at the little, out-of-the-the-way eatery across the street from my flat!

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