What Life In China Is Really Like
# This article got voted ‘Article of the Year’ by the Royal British Embassy in Beijing, China #
Communism, air pollution, and the violation of human rights. That’s the general view of the West on China.
But, are we recognizing the beauty and inspirational force that comes from one of the oldest and most diverse cultures in human history? Living in China is not how many people think. It is not one big drill. It is not about cencorship and the violation of freedom of speech (I can say anything I want!). And it’s definitely not about limited freedom.
China is the most beautiful, open-minded and inspirational place I have ever been to. And, to be honest, I don’t want to leave. Here in Tongzhou, Beijing, which I can call my home sweet home, I was astonished about the westernized but at the same time unique Chinese culture mixed and reinvented in the same spot. It came to my mind that our view on China is completely wrong because our media handles news from China incorrectly. It is not acceptable that we have to think all our lives that China is not a good country.
Coming here revealed the hospitality and heart-warming atmosphere that people enjoy and foreign visitors must feel once in their life. In Tongzhou, I attend Lu He International Academy, a part of he prestigious Lu He High School, which I will attend in four months time. Every day I study eight hours of Chinese in school, and after school several hours at home. And I can see it improving steadily, quickly. China teaches me discipline. China created motivational force inside me. China makes me happy. China offers all the opportunities that the West is missing nowadays.
In school, I am the object of interest for many students. I am the one who is being starred at, together with two other exchange students from Switzerland and South Africa. Right now, I do not attend a regular Chinese class. I attend a pre-university Chinese class with thirteen Koreans together with the other two exchange students. Our Korean has yet to be improved even though we already know quite a bit. And, brainwashed our not, I started listening to K-Pop (Korean Pop Music).
I am German. I deeply care about good food and have an affection for trying out as many new things as possible. Until now I ate frog, pig heart, goose blood (in tofu), chicken anus, and many many other unique Chinese specialities. And, to be honest, all of them tasted very well and I now eat them as often as I can (except frog because I loathe the process of killing frogs).
China is a very raw country, unaffected of social confusion and driven to success. Smog exists and it hurts people but cencorship does not affect people at all. People don’t want to use Facebook or Twitter because they believe it’s a waste of time. YouTube doesn’t work. But, no problem. They have Youku which is I believe much better than YouTube because it offers tv series and movies for free. And if you don’t like videos but enjoy listening to music, you don’t need to download spotify and get annoyed but the constant advertising, just visit QQ music or xiami. Both offer every song and complete album you want for free. How to find all of the websites without Google? Just use baidu. The algorithm works much better and brings me to exactly what I want insanely much quicker. The only reason for me to come back is to see my family and of course to finish school. Life is much better over here.
But wait, isn’t most of China’s population still poor? Yes, at some point but we should recognize the ratio between income and buying force. In restaurants you can see the poorest of the poorest every evening sitting, laughing, drinking, smoking, eating great food. Maybe it’s my personal opinion but friends, food, and shared laughs make lives great. My host family, whom I love from the bottom of my heart, and I already traveled China a little, coming close to the North Korean border and visiting the head of the Chinese Wall in Qinhuangdao far up North. China offers so much that we forgot in the West. And all this is just the beginning. The rise of China as a world power has only begun.
We need more self-awareness and recognize the world we are living in. Stay open minded!