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gablaze23

"College life" in Universities

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gablaze23

Hi.

From reading most of the threads and posts here, I already have an idea of the academic side of the schools. I am also a hardworker, and I have a background in Chinese, if that matters.

However, I would like to see the social side of things.

Where do you study? And how are the parties in your universities?

How do the local Chinese students party?

Or do you mostly party with foreign students as well?

How's the night scene in the area?

This will be my graduation gift after I graduate from college. I want this to be really fun too :)

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muyongshi

I think the way it is at most universities is that a few friends will get together and go have a few beers at KTV. The college life in most of China is pretty lacking in a party scene. However, if you go to beijing of shanghai those areas will have more of a scene, but it will be more of a at a club or bar party scene. And then it will most likely be a mix of foreigners and some locals (but still pretty low on the college student side....).

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feebie

In some universities in China they turn off the electricity at 11pm and Chinese students have to fill in a form if they come home later than this.

I went to BLCU but I did not live on campus. So I don't know if BLCU has 24 hr electricity and access. ---Something to ask them or your potential university about.

Also keep in mind some apartment blocks turn off the lifts at 11pm. Some areas are gated off and I have had friends that have to climb over gates if they stay out after 11pm.

There is a party atmosphere in Wudaokou the suburb where BLCU, Tsinghua and Peking University is located. Some people go to the nightclub Propaganda and the pub Lush.

I think these places are packed with non-Chinese. Cloud 9 has a lot of Koreans.

Otherwise lots of people in Beijing (mostly non-Chinese) go and party in Sanlitun.

Sorry I can't be much help because I am not really interested in partying.

From my BLCU experience I knew fellow students that lived on campus. Some seem to party constantly and come to class with sunglasses on. Some seem to have a few parties in their dorm room. --others managed to avoid it all together.

If you want to have a good time and meet lots of people I suggest going on a tour. In May last year I went on a 3 day tour to Inner Mongolia. I met so many people. We were drinking every night. I am still friends with some of those people. It was so much fun. Made lots of friends from Thailand, Korea and Japan. It is great because all of us speak in Chinese.

I have made a concerted effort to make lots of Chinese friends in China. I have got heaps and 99% of my Chinese friends have no interest in partying. I rarely even see them have one drink. I am sure you can find some though. Just put an add on www.thebeijinger.com

I have heard on the grapevine that it is not the done thing for educated Chinese girls to hang around in bars.

Anyway the party scene seems to be predominately western. Yeah karaoke is very popular if you are into that. Nearly all my Chinese friends love karaoke.There are places with free food and drinks.

Wudaokou is a good place to live if you want to meet heaps of young people. However, I lived there last year and have been to so many going away parties. At most going away parties there are NO Chinese people. Some people live in China and don't make many Chinese friends. Just something to keep in mind.

Also the higher level of Chinese you are in the less likely people are to party. Sometimes it is just random though. Some classes are very social some aren't.

Yeah and if you want to party go to BLCU at the beginning of the year. During September - January courses it gets too cold to do anything. The April - June people seem to be partying a lot more.

have fun

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cdn_in_bj
I have heard on the grapevine that it is not the done thing for educated Chinese girls to hang around in bars.

Now that you've brought it up, this post is a must-read:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/showpost.php?p=124014&postcount=19

And while you're at it, review this one as well:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/showpost.php?p=122561&postcount=7

Congrats, you've just finished "Clubbing and Meeting Girls in China 101".

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Jamoldo

1. BNU, non-existant unless we party amongst ourselves

2. Non-existant, they're either too busy studying and undergrad dorms

close at midnightish

3. For the most part, from what I know, they don't. Or their definition of

"Party" is far different than ours.

4. Mostly with foreigners. Either we throw house-ish parties, or go to bars

in Wudaokou/Sanlitun

5. Really isn't one. Have to go to above mentioned areas.

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Jamoldo

Don't know about SISU. But BLCU, as a rule, there are more foreigners than actual Chinese students and you're already in Wudaokou, so partying isn't a problem. Though most spots will be heavily populated by Koreans, and some by Westerners (namely Lush and Pyro Pizza).

Don't know how much of a Chinese experience you'll have there though. It's why I avoided it like the plague.

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fireball9261

I don't know too much about the mainland Chinese College life too much, but I heard my friend from mainland China that she had many foreign friends and they taught her English and she taught them Mandarin. She was from Fudan University in Shanghai. I think the College life might be a bit better in Shanghai than in Beijing. Also, I saw a lot of young Chinese (young professionals) in Shanghai clubs and pubs with other foreigners, so ...

In Taipei, the foreign students have a lot of places to party because the weather is warmer. Many people study in the libraries or College gardens. We have a lot of College gardens in Taipei and in many of the major Universities. Those gardens are good for talking and walking with friends after dinner, practing Taiji or running in the morning, or dating and having a picnic with your girlfriend or boyfriend. There are also public gardens, but I heard that some of them are becoming the places for the homosexual actions, so be careful about those if you are straight -- don't give others the wrong signals when you are just trying to be friendly!!! :mrgreen:

Many of these gardens (in Colleges or the public ones) are also the exercising places for local Chinese people, so you could meet a lot of them by just walking around in the mornings or right after dinner. People in Taiwan are more approachable and less suspicious about strangers, especially foreigners, than people in China IMO. My family used to taking our evening walks around Taiwan Normal University and Taiwan University, and they are/were the top two Universities in Taiwan. Taiwan Normal University used to have a great Chinese language program, and many U.S. Chinese professors were from there (my father's best friend taught there, and his son-in-law was an American and later the Chinese Professor in University of Hawaii). I heard the program is not as good as before, but I heard the Taiwan University's program is comparable or even better than the one in Beijing University currently.

Taiwan also have a lot of clubs and pub scenes all over the places, and many college students and young professionals are there as well as foreigners. A lot of Taiwan college students live at home or apartments close to schools due to shortage or dorms and there are definitely no shutting off the lights and closing the gates in most if any of the apartments or houses or streets. It would be crazy in Taiwan, especially Taipei. We are famous for our evening markets, and we are totally active till at least 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning -- someplaces like New Yort in noon time!!! Many places open 24 hours. My husband had to go get me at 4:30 a.m. in an all night Manga reading shop in Taipei when he woke up in the hotel room and did not see me there! I was all snug laying on a nice 2-person sofa with my coffee table, phone, personal reading lamp, a nice cup of hot chocolic, and in my own private cubicle reading a pile of Manga. When he showed up, we ordered the cream corn soup with French pastry sealing the soup top and another hot chocolic for him. These places are also great for studying, relaxing with your girlfriend or boyfriend, etc. I was there when a group of high school or college age friends were gathering around a larger table and room laughing and discussing some of the finer points of the Manga they were reading -- I think they might be playing certain games involving the manga or anime. I also saw some few students holding a ton of textbooks reading in one of those cubicles, and I think they did not have good studying environments at home or want to study near their friends in a nice environment that they could order drinks and meals of many kinds -- no alcoholic drinks here due to younger people's presence. The signs outside warned the younger kids (below 18 years old) to go home by midnight.

There are also a lot of evening/night markets in Taiwan. There are 6 major ones in Taipei alone. There are food of many kinds as well as many places selling stuff or performing things, etc. They would close about 2 in the morning or so, but I think some of the vendors or stores might stay open all night, especially the drinking places. In those food stalls or places, strangers sometimes would talking to strangers, especially if you are a foregner. They are not trying to take advantage of you, but are curious about how you think of the food and the culture.

In crowded Taiwan restaurants, you would also be asked for sharing a table with someone else. Sometimes, they would be friendly and willing to talk to you. Sometimes, they would be shy and not. However, I think people in Taiwan would be friendlier to foreigners than people in China -- not that people in mainland China would not do so, but many of them are more shy than people in Taiwan. We also had someone who approached my husband in a mainland Chinese restaurant in Suzhou when the guy saw how well my husband used the chopsticks. I had approached an old lady walking her dog outside of my hotel in Beijing and commented how cute was her dog and talked to her at length about a lot of things. Another older lady approached me in Beijing when I was looking in a jade shop and invited me to a show in a Beijing Opera house where the locals listened to the Beijing Opera, and extremely cheap! She also took me to visit an old man (a retired professor) who lived in an old Beijing Hutong that was going to be torn down, and the guy had many thing to say about that!!! I wouldn't suggest people do such a thing, but I do have a intuition about people and I did feel this old woman is worthy for my risk. I had water melons in an old falling down traditional Chinese house's courtyard in an very old Beijing Hutong before it got torn down. I considered that as a great experience!

Talking to your local grocery shop owners, hanging out in your local grocery shop (I am not talking about 7-11's or the modern gorcery shops), or talking to your waiters and waitresses in the restaurants you frequent, or talking to the store owners in your local stores could be very good ways to meet and make Chinese friends. I made a few friends doing exactly that, and had a lot of good close and personal encounters with the local Chinese cultures and how people really think for many of the issues happening in their lives and in their societies. I especially like the one word comments of my friend, the 30 year old female grocery store owner (from Zhejiang province) in Beijing behind my hotel, about her husband and her clients: When a woman walked in, she muttered to me, "Whore!" Then, she turned on her brilliant smile toward the woman and asked her what would she like to buy today? After the customer left, she told me that woman is a local "professional" with the comments like, "Just look at what she is wearing! That slut!" :roll: She also gave me a lot of insights about how those young hotel workers lived. She felt pity for them and tried to help them from time to time and gave them good advices as an older sister. She felt worried when one of them did not show up, and his friend said that he was sick and wouldn't go to the hospital for saving money. A few days later, the sick boy (about 20 or so) showed up buying drinks (sodas), and she asked after his health and told him to take care and not drink beers with the other guys. When I was hanging out in my cousin's small local grocery store in Taipei, he and his wife did the same with the locals, including the foreign students (for it is the major area for foreign students). Where else would you learn and find out such things? Also, they would be the persons who could help you the best in emergencies. Many foreign students in Taipei had no place to go during the Chinese New Year in the old time (all stores were closed 20 years ago around that time), and these people (store owners, hotel workers, etc.) invited the foreigners (including the hotel guests) to their homes for the Chinese New Year! My cousin also would open his doors to sell things to familiar customers during that time if they came knocking on his door.

Taiwan also have a lot of juice shops that served many fresh juices and some food. Those are the very cheap and very healthy places for Chinese students of all levels to date, to study, to meet friends, and to hang out! There are also coffee shops and tea shops, but those are just a bit more expensive and formal and less fun than the juice shops!

There are also exercise places, etc. But I usually don't go there, so I wouldn't know -- I am a couch potato from a long line of couch potatoes. :wink: Actually, many older and more traditional Chinese feel the exercises places are laughable because Chinese believe that you need to breath properly and well in order to get good exercises, and those places had bad air! Therefore, you would not meet any too traditional old folks like me and my kind there, but the younger and more attractive crowds.:D With the amount of muscular hunks I saw on Taiwan's TV programs lately, I think you would find many attractive people in those places.

The pocket billiards places could also be a place for hanging out, but I heard some of these places might not be too "clean" for a nice young girl like me when I was growing up. It is generally for young men and not so nice girls. I think gambling and drinking and smoking are involved. I bet there are also some places that are not so ... "unclean" for more proper people to hang out. :mrgreen: There are also Bowling Alleys, and I went there a few times with friends, but I really had no impressions about them right now -- the sign of my old age. :mrgreen: Yes, in China and Taiwan, a girl from a good family would not hang out in bars, clubs, or pocket billiards (pool) places. Women around those places are usually ... "sluts' as more traditionally minded Chinese would call them. However, I think, in these days, they might just be more open-minded and more modern Chinese girls. If you want to meet girls from good families and better moral standards (that would not look at your pocket book, etc.), you would need to meet them some place else. Not that some of these girls are totally materialistic, but ... you would have more chances meeting girls who are more materialistic in these places. You would meet girls who have more traditional values in some other "cleaner" places like libraries, etc. The shop girls and store clerks and waitresses or hotel workers could be nice too. Many of them have to stop their own education to help their families. They might not be the college girls, but many of them come from country side and have better traditional values than the city girls. The guys ... well, I would go for the College guys for sure. The others are way too street smart, and that might not be a good thing as boyfriends or husbands. The older women in clubs and bars might be OK if they are young professionals and not "professional workers in certain industry". They are adults and some of them have decided for themselves to shed the traditions of old China and become the new modern Chinese women, and I agree with them. Again, the traditional values maybe shed with the old traditions of China, too. :wink:

My dad would say the Chinese public bath places, and my woman friends in Taiwan would say the same thing. Those places are where people relax and talk and get massages, etc. Not a bad place to be if you don't mind to be more open than you would want to with the other Chinese. You need to find out the rules before you go in there, though, just in case. Also, there are the good ones and the bad ones, and you should find out from the locals. Taiwan is also very famous for its hot springs, and there are a few places very close to Taipei due to the fact that Taipei was a vocano lake in the past.

All in all, I think you would enjoy college life more in Taiwan than in mainland China, and you would probably get more friends in Taiwan also from the posts I am reading here. However, if you have to go to mainland China to study, I would suggest you do the type of things I suggested here in my post. I guarrantee you that you would have a lot of local friends and get invited to many local Chinese' own parties. :mrgreen: Good luck!

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fireball9261

I don't know too much about the mainland Chinese College life too much, but I heard my friend from mainland China that she had many foreign friends and they taught her English and she taught them Mandarin. She was from Fudan University in Shanghai. I think the College life might be a bit better in Shanghai than in Beijing. Also, I saw a lot of young Chinese (young professionals) in Shanghai clubs and pubs with other foreigners, so ...

In Taipei, the foreign students have a lot of places to party because the weather is warmer. Many people study in the libraries or College gardens. We have a lot of College gardens in Taipei and in many of the major Universities. Those gardens are good for talking and walking with friends after dinner, practing Taiji or running in the morning, or dating and having a picnic with your girlfriend or boyfriend. There are also public gardens, but I heard that some of them are becoming the places for the homosexual actions, so be careful about those if you are straight -- don't give others the wrong signals when you are just trying to be friendly!!! :mrgreen:

Many of these gardens (in Colleges or the public ones) are also the exercising places for local Chinese people, so you could meet a lot of them by just walking around in the mornings or right after dinner. People in Taiwan are more approachable and less suspicious about strangers, especially foreigners, than people in China IMO. My family used to taking our evening walks around Taiwan Normal University and Taiwan University, and they are/were the top two Universities in Taiwan. Taiwan Normal University used to have a great Chinese language program, and many U.S. Chinese professors were from there (my father's best friend taught there, and his son-in-law was an American and later the Chinese Professor in University of Hawaii). I heard the program is not as good as before, but I heard the Taiwan University's program is comparable or even better than the one in Beijing University currently.

Taiwan also have a lot of clubs and pub scenes all over the places, and many college students and young professionals are there as well as foreigners. A lot of Taiwan college students live at home or apartments close to schools due to shortage or dorms and there are definitely no shutting off the lights and closing the gates in most if any of the apartments or houses or streets. It would be crazy in Taiwan, especially Taipei. We are famous for our evening markets, and we are totally active till at least 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning -- someplaces like New Yort in noon time!!! Many places open 24 hours. My husband had to go get me at 4:30 a.m. in an all night Manga reading shop in Taipei when he woke up in the hotel room and did not see me there! I was all snug laying on a nice 2-person sofa with my coffee table, phone, personal reading lamp, a nice cup of hot chocolic, and in my own private cubicle reading a pile of Manga. When he showed up, we ordered the cream corn soup with French pastry sealing the soup top and another hot chocolic for him. These places are also great for studying, relaxing with your girlfriend or boyfriend, etc. I was there when a group of high school or college age friends were gathering around a larger table and room laughing and discussing some of the finer points of the Manga they were reading -- I think they might be playing certain games involving the manga or anime. I also saw some few students holding a ton of textbooks reading in one of those cubicles, and I think they did not have good studying environments at home or want to study near their friends in a nice environment that they could order drinks and meals of many kinds -- no alcoholic drinks here due to younger people's presence. The signs outside warned the younger kids (below 18) to go home by midnight.

There are also a lot of evening/night markets in Taiwan. There are 6 major ones in Taipei alone. There are food of many kinds as well as many places selling stuff or performing things, etc. They would close about 2 in the morning or so, but I think some of the vendors or stores might stay open all night, especially the drinking places. In those food stalls or places, strangers sometimes would talking to strangers, especially if you are a foregner. They are not trying to take advantage of you, but are curious about how you think of the food and the culture.

In crowded Taiwan restaurants, you would also be asked for sharing a table with someone else. Sometimes, they would be friendly and willing to talk to you. Sometimes, they would be shy and not. However, I think people in Taiwan would be friendlier to foreigners than people in China -- not that people in mainland China would not do so, but many of them are more shy than people in Taiwan. We also had someone who approached my husband in a mainland Chinese restaurant in Suzhou when the guy saw how well my husband used the chopsticks. I had approached an old lady walking her dog outside of my hotel in Beijing and commented how cute was her dog and talked to her at length about a lot of things. Another older lady approached me in Beijing when I was looking in a jade shop and invited me to a show in a Beijing Opera house where the locals listened to the Beijing Opera, and extremely cheap! She also took me to visit an old man (a retired professor) who lived in an old Beijing Hutong that was going to be torn down, and the guy had many thing to say about that!!! I wouldn't suggest people do such a thing, but I do have a intuition about people and I did feel this old woman is worthy for my risk. I had water melons in an old falling down traditional Chinese house's courtyard in an very old Beijing Hutong before it got torn down. I considered that as a great experience!

Talking to your local grocery shop owners, hanging out in your local grocery shop (I am not talking about 7-11's or the modern gorcery shops), or talking to your waiters and waitresses in the restaurants you frequent, or talking to the store owners in your local stores could be very good ways to meet and make Chinese friends. I made a few friends doing exactly that, and had a lot of good close and personal encounters with the local Chinese cultures and how people really think for many of the issues happening in their lives and in their societies. I especially like the one word comments of my friend, the 30 year old female grocery store owner (from Zhejiang province) in Beijing behind my hotel, about her husband and her clients: When a woman walked in, she muttered to me, "Whore!" Then, she turned on her brilliant smile toward the woman and asked her what would she like to buy today? After the customer left, she told me that woman is a local "professional" with the comments like, "Just look at what she is wearing! That slut!" :roll: She also gave me a lot of insights about how those young hotel workers lived. She felt pity for them and tried to help them from time to time and gave them good advices as an older sister. She felt worried when one of them did not show up, and his friend said that he was sick and wouldn't go to the hospital for saving money. A few days later, the sick boy (about 20 or so) showed up buying drinks (sodas), and she asked after his health and told him to take care and not drink beers with the other guys. When I was hanging out in my cousin's small local grocery store in Taipei, he and his wife did the same with the locals, including the foreign students (for it is the major area for foreign students). Where else would you learn and find out such things? Also, they would be the persons who could help you the best in emergencies. Many foreign students in Taipei had no place to go during the Chinese New Year in the old time (all stores were closed 20 years ago around that time), and these people (store owners, hotel workers, etc.) invited the foreigners (including the hotel guests) to their homes for the Chinese New Year! My cousin also would open his doors to sell things to familiar customers during that time if they came knocking on his door.

Taiwan also have a lot of juice shops that served many fresh juices and some food. Those are the very cheap and very healthy places for Chinese students of all levels to date, to study, to meet friends, and to hang out! There are also coffee shops and tea shops, but those are just a bit more expensive and formal and less fun than the juice shops!

There are also exercise places, etc. But I usually don't go there, so I wouldn't know. The pocket billiards places could also be a place for hang out, but I heard some of these places might not be too "clean" for a nice young girl like me when I was growing up. It is generally for young men and not so nice girls. I think gambling and drinking and smoking are involved. I bet there are also some places that are not so ... "unclean" for more proper people to hang out. :mrgreen: There are also Bowling Alleys, and I went there a few times with friends, but I really had no impressions about them right now -- the sign of my old age. :mrgreen:

My dad would say the Chinese public bath places, and my woman friends in Taiwan would say the same thing. Those places are where people relax and talk and get massages, etc. Not a bad place to be if you don't mind to be more open than you would want to with the other Chinese. You need to find out the rules before you go in there, though, just in case. Also, there are the good ones and the bad ones, and you should find out from the locals. Taiwan is also very famous for its hot springs, and there are a few places very close to Taipei due to the fact that Taipei was a vocano lake in the past.

All in all, I think you would enjoy college life more in Taiwan than in mainland China, and you would probably get more friends in Taiwan also from the posts I am reading here. However, if you have to go to mainland China to study, I would suggest you do the type of things I suggested here in my post. I guarrantee you that you would have a lot of local friends and get invited to many local Chinese' own parties. :mrgreen: Good luck!

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Jamoldo

China is not Taiwan, and while fireball makes lots of valid points, I think the original poster is going to be in Beijing. I think I would most definitely have tried my hand at studying in Taiwan had I been able to do simplified characters there.

As for Chinese people at clubs and bars there are plenty, don't worry, there are plenty. Most will be professionals (people with jobs) or with their spouses or significant others... Usually NOT students due to logistics such as curfews and costs. Bars and clubs are new to China and will take some time to catch on. Lots of Chinese have huge meals with liquor flowing and that's their definition of going out. Very different.

With regards to making Chinese friends (I bet its easier in Taiwan), its tough to make Chinese friends because many Chinese are reluctant to meet and hang out with people they don't know, especially foreigners (language exchange does not count because it's seen as Free English practice, though you can develop friendships out of it). I say that I could be close to 1 person (if I wasn't leaving so soon and we just started hanging out) and I've been here for a year and a half. I've met tons of Chinese but haven't been able to establish a close relationship with any really (for a number of reasons), and this has not been due to lack of effort. To be honest, only 2 of my friends have cultivated close bonds with Chinese students. One's got a girlfriend and the other has two great Chinese friends, that I know pretty well, but even he admits he got very very lucky.

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fireball9261

Btw, all my suggestions could and should be tried in mainland China because I suspect you could break some ice with enough of effort and time (time would be the key). I was at the Beijing's grocery store every night chatting with them for about two weeks and each time 3 hours or so. I watched TV there with them as well. It also helped that I am a Chinese even though an oversea one and the owner is also from Zhejiang where my family was from. However, I truly believe anyone could make friends with anyone else with respect and sincerity. I believe also that Chinese are one of the more friendly people on Earth whether or not their behaviors got modified due to the politics in the last 60+ years, so ..... Good luck!

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Jamoldo

"It also helped that I am a Chinese even though an oversea one and the owner is also from Zhejiang where my family was from"

BINGO! You're ethnically Chinese!

The two guys I mentioned in my previous post are standard white students here. The guy with the girlfriend, well she has no Chinese friends (kinda weird, nice girl though), the other guy says he got really lucky. I also have two very good friends from the west whose heritage is Chinese, and they found it far easier to make Chinese friends and did so very quickly (though I don't think they stay in touch anymore).

Breaking ice here in China as a foreign foreigner (ie. not of Chinese descent) is no problem whatsoever. People are more than happy to be very friendly and talk to you for hours on end, though every conversation begins with, "Where are you from? How long have you studied Chinese? You speak very well! Where do you study?" The real tough part is actually making friends (I think this would be easier in a work environment) with whom there is mutual understanding and trust, who will go out with you (to get a bite, walk in the park etc, who you can invite/be invited for dinner without the expressed goal of speaking English). It takes quite a long time for the Chinese to trust (for numerous reasons) and establish a bond.

This is in no way an indictment of Chinese students or the Chinese people, but realistically for a typical foreigner it's tough to make real Chinese student friends who are more than acquaintances that will return calls and actually spend significant time with you without wanting to only speak English (read: free lessons, and I'm not saying this as a rant, but as the truth). Unlike in the west where its pretty easy (in relative standards) to meet local residents/students and befriend them. The difference is that the bond between friends is much tighter in China (usually).

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fireball9261

Jamoldo,

I agree with you. That is why the non-Chinese students would need to put in extra efforts to make the local Chinese trust them. I understand some non-Chinese students might not want to make such efforts because it would be 2 or 3 times efforts than just being a regular student. However, if the student wants to become a future diplomat or a Chinese expert, IMO he/she would need to make this effort. Otherwise, he/she would have a distorted impression of China, and that would not be good for international relationships as well as future decision makings in various higher level political and international policies. I really hate listening to or reading about the so-call Chinese experts making statements that showed that they really had no ideas about China or Chinese people outside of their book learnings!!! :A lot of them thought very well of themselves, too. :x

I would suggest move in with Chinese roommates or Chinese families. They would have to deal with you day by day. With sufficient respect, humbleness, friendliness and some luck, you might get some lasting friendship out of that experience.

In addition, trust is a two-way street. One must ask oneself what has one done for the other Chinese to trust him/her? I know a few Christian missionaries in Taiwan who earned the true and lasting friendship of Chinese people for their dedications to the Chinese people. I cried when one of them died, and I didn't even know her, just know of her!

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Jamoldo

Fireball, making friends is a two way street. Many people I know including myself, put ourselves out there quite a bit, but a combination of things leads to not having Chinese friends (ie. The Chinese only wanting to use people for English, the foreigner only wanting to use the Chinese person for Chinese, both parties being busy, the school segregating students, curfews, socioeconomic difference etc). It can be any one of those or a combination. In the end, most people like me, kind of give up and hope we meet Chinese people through others (how I have).

Heck people like me joined clubs in which we were the only foreigners. Playing ping pong is great, and so is getting phone numbers, but when people repeatedly say they can't get dinner,walk in the park etc and don't counteroffer, you just move on. This hasn't just been my experience but that of others I know here.

Best thing, if you don't live with a family, get language partners and hope for the best. If you don't think you're clicking then move on quickly and find another one.

As for living with Chinese roommates, well only one guy I know has pulled it off and been happy but they were his very good friends. He cautions heavily against it though. I know another guy who was about to sign a contract with his Chinese roommate when the roommate suddenly said he could not afford to pay the rent and could only afford to pay half. My friend got out pretty quick. There is still "a foreigner is weird/special/can't be trusted" mentality here in the mainland, and I can't really fault the Chinese for it given recent history, but it makes it hard to make friends for many.

As for being diplomats and experts, you don't need to make friends with students. You just need to be in a Chinese work environment and spend time here. Like I said, this is about making student friends not professional friends. I find that it's far easier to make Chinese friends if you are working (my observations), rather than as a student).

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fireball9261

Jamoldo,

Again, I agree with many of your points. Believe me, many of those bad roommates and people who wouldn't go to lunch or dinner with you are not just encountered by non-Chinese foreigners alone. I got plenty of them when I was a student in Taiwan with my own classmates who grew up with me since kindergarten days!!! That was why I usually go to movies alone since I was 14 years old. I just don't want the trouble of getting last minute phone calls to cancel or no phone calls at all!!! It seems to be a Chinese trait no matter you are in Taiwan, mainland China, Hong Kong, or U.S. :roll: People just don't honor their words, and I know why. They don't want to go, but they feel shy to tell you a straight "No!" A lot of times, it was due to cost, or time, or just plainly that they don't like you!

Regarding Chinese roommates, I have even more horror stories to tell, and same with my mainland Chinese friend from Fudan University. You must know all the pitfalls and be willing to fall into them (and better first made some arrangements so that you would have minimum lost) before moving in with a Chinese roommate. However, this is also a learning experience.

I do disagree with your idea about learning in work places. In my experiences, the friendships made in the work places are not as strong as the ones made during the school years. With all those shortcomings of making friends in Colleges, the college students are still more naive and innocent and hopefully more idealistic than the working people. One just have to find them. I frequent Chinese eBook sites, and sometimes, I would find people who are of same mind and become penpal with them in a way. It might be a good way to meet some people of the same minds?

Again, I really do feel some of these experiences are necessary learning experiences for certain type of students and might require extra time, effort, and money for them.

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Jamoldo

The last minute thing saying I can't make it does not bother me too much since it happened only a few times. The lack of response is what's annoying since I've seen the same people texting every 2 miliseconds. And then when they change their minds at the last second like a 5 year old, you just kind of ditch them and do your own thing. Then they get mad. I and many of my friends schedule everything to be cost friendly because I am conscious that some things may be seen as expensive. Not liking I don't know, they'd always be friendly at clubs and events and they would always be willing to meet for language exchange but curiously the dinner invitations to the local restaurant/shitang would never be answered...

Would rather not waste money and time just to live with someone who's Chinese. Chinese people are just like normal people, in other words they're not special and shouldn't be treated as thus. Would I just let an American, Indian, German etc do the same kind of thing? Probably not. If I have a Chinese friend or someone I can trust who's Chinese, I'd be more than happy to live with them. Same goes with any nationality.

I agree that college bonds are stronger than those in work. But in order to be able to relate to Chinese I think foreigners will more easily make decent friendships with Chinese in the workplace, because it won't be based on something like "being a token foriegn friend" or "language exchange." You'll actually have to work together and participate in work activities. Remember as a student you're not in the same classes as the Chinese (usually) and you're definitely not in the same activities, nor are you in the same dorms. I find that meeting Chinese students, usually artsy types are the way to go, more free thinking. OrI just try to find people that don't fit in normal Chinese society and that works too...The naivety is what hurts a lot of friendships because you can't have lots of conversations about different topics since they won't know anything, or they'll deny knowing anything. This may be a cultural difference but its a tough one to break down.

Some of the experiences are most definitely necessary, but lots of them will lead to negative results and in turn, a negative view of the Chinese, which I most certainly do not want others to have. As much as it may seem I'm ranting here, I'm really not. I'm just outlining the experiences of my friends and me.

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adrianlondon

I made a few Chinese friends when I was in Beijing, and I still chat to some of them regularly on MSN and, in one instance, in real life as he's now studying in the UK.

However, I found them initially through a mutual interest.

Those Chinese I met with the main purpose of doing language exchange I haven't kept in touch with. We had nothing much in common and as neither of us really knew how to teach, even the exchange periods weren't up to much ;)

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adrianlondon
how was the night life in BJ?

Bearing in mind I was there for the second half of 2006, and things change quickly (usually knocked down, not much new stuff appears to be being built night-life wise) ...

It's not a patch on London where I live. It's not like anywhere else I've ever been, actually. It's very focussed (I think that's the polite word for "controlled") in certain areas. You can't just stroll around and find a local pub/bar.

Having said that, once you give up trying to be individual or finding something local, the nightlife is fine. I went to a couple of nightlcubs and although it seems the Chinese punters just tried too hard to enjoy themselves, the music (I'm a techno head) was good.

Houhai is quite laid back and the bars can be great, especially if you manage to find one without live music (usually rubbish).

There's a great jazz cafe on the east shore of houhai which has great music. Go there if you want to hear professionals give it a go. Or wacky people with keyboards and spoons, but that's usually midweek and is a talking point whether it's fantastic or crap. It's rarely average ;)

798 has a theatre but it doesn't seem to do much. The art galleries there are fantastic (my fave place in Beijing) but it's not night life.

Sanlitun has a couple of good bars, especially further South past the bookworm cafe/library. The area is rather full of arrogant ex-pats though (hyped to that state by giggly money-grabbing chinese girls) but it's still an experience.

I found the best way to enjoy Beijing was to get up early and cycle around, watching people exercise and/or dance. Then have a coffee. Then lunch. Then cycle around some more, exploring hutons with your camera. Then meet friends for a chat and early dinner. Then meet people in a bar. You're usually happy to call it a night then rather than hitting a club at 2am.

Boy, I'm full of opinions! Don't just rely on me; I'm no impartial tour-guide ;)

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