What things like this surprised you in your foreign country?!? Tell us below in the comments!
Last time I went through Chinese security, I cycled through about 5 different cities and ran through about 4 languages before I settled on something. I was like. . . the airport I came from in the US? the airport I just came from in Korea? Seoul where I spend most of my holidays? My old hometown in Missouri? My college town where I got my passport? The town I lived in right before I moved? My current US residence? My town in China? I’m so confused!!
Chinese customers of Apple’s iTunes Movies and iBooks services are seeking refunds on their purchases amid reports that the features have been suspended at the behest of government authorities.
Apple has not issued any statement to customers in China about the status of the services, but many users report that they have been unable to connect to the movie service and iBooks since April 15.
A Beijing-based Apple spokeswoman said: “We hope to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible,” but she would not elaborate on why the services were unavailable.
The Chinese government has not issued any statement on the matter. However, the New York Times, citing two anonymous sources, said the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television had ordered the services offline, though it was unclear why.
Apple’s App Store revenue has surged in China in the last year, overtaking Japan as the world’s No. 2 market for the service, according to App Annie.
Apple technical assistance and account service representatives, reached by phone in China, said they had received no official notice from the company that the services had been blocked or shut down. They offered to arrange refunds on purchased content. . . .
I figured having been here almost two months, it was about that time. It’s a fact: come to Asia and at one point or another, you’ll have to squat while going to the bathroom. I’m fortunate enough to live in a Western styled dorm, so I rarely have to use that “other kind of toilet”, but I do use them and with a good amount of success. I realize I’m not the first person to write on the subject – Marco Polo probably did back during Mongol rule when squat toilets were just dirt holes (still primitive when compared to the outhouse). However, his description didn’t have the colorful pictures, translated signs, and detailed diagrams like mine does. There’s more to it than just the perfect squat angle you know. Take a read, you won’t regret it when your bowels are relieved and pants are dry. And in case you were worried, it’s relatively clean for a post about toilets. So here’s Everything You Need To Know Before Going To The Bathroom In China.
If you didn’t catch that, BYOTP is “Bring Your Own Toilet Paper” – 卫生纸 “weishengzhi”. In some of the more upscale, fancy, or international places, toilet paper is provided. But on the whole, if you don’t bring your own, your two options are to A) ask the guy in the stall next to you to borrow some, or B) walk home with a little extra something in your underwear. You can buy single rolls of toilet paper in just about any small store for less than a quarter, and I would suggest keeping a pack of pocket tissues with you at all times.
I haven’t been able to get a definitive answer on this, but in most places in Beijing, flushing toilet paper is a no-no. The sewage system in Beijing (and I’m pretty sure all of China) is old and worn out, and while you might be okay flushing one piece by accident, two is pretty much a sin. That’s right, no need to hesitate, you can just throw it right in with all of the other brown and white tie-dyed toilet paper wads. I like to think that those cans get emptied once a day, but I know that’s a little optimistic. On the positive side, there’s never a need to ask where a bathroom is…the constant stench of festering dirty toilet paper (or toilet paper composting if you will) is a dead giveaway.
Pit toilet . . . .
Americans are getting cold feet about studying Chinese in China, with many study abroad programmes experiencing a substantial drop in enrolment.
At the University of California Education Abroad Programme (UCEAP), student enrolment in programmes in China is expected to be less than half the level it was four years ago. Washington-based CET, another study abroad group, says interest in China has been falling since 2013.
The apparent waning of interest worries some China watchers. Given the importance of the US-China relationship, having a group of Americans across various industries who speak Chinese and understand the culture is “a matter of national interest”, says Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Centre in Washington.
“We can’t respond coherently, effectively and fully to China unless we understand China on its own terms,” he said.
The Institute of International Education says the number of US students studying in China fell 3.2 per cent in 2012-13 to 14,413, even as overall study abroad numbers rose modestly.
American students’ apparent loss of interest contrasts with Chinese students’ clamour for a US education. The number of Chinese studying in the US jumped 16.5 per cent in 2013-14 to more than 274,000.
For US students, China’s notorious pollution is a concern. Job opportunities are another. As multinationals in China hire mostly locals, a growing percentage of whom have studied abroad, they have less need for foreigners who speak Chinese.
“I came to China thinking I could learn Chinese and get a high-paying job. I learned very quickly that was not the case,” said Ian Weissgerber, a 25-year-old American graduate student in China. . . .
First lady Michelle Obama recently spoke in China about the importance of studying abroad. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has decided that providing opportunities involving Asia, Africa and Latin America must be achieved at the expense of Americans studying in Europe.
President Obama’s budget proposal will drastically cut the Fulbright program, direct its remaining resources away from Europe, and totally eliminate funding for the George J. Mitchell Scholarship program for study on the island of Ireland (which is operated by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, of which I am the president). State Department officials have repeatedly told us that they are deprioritizing Europe.
It is a mistake to eliminate opportunities to study in Europe. While the cultural differences may be less dramatic in Ireland than in China, they exist nonetheless and learning to navigate even subtle differences is a necessary skill as we work with our European allies on many fronts. Continue reading
“Tipping has become so ubiquitous (some would say excessive) in the U.S. that it’s not uncommon to see a tip jar next to the register at the corner deli. (Call it the Starbucks effect, but since Starbucks is considered a luxury product, the coin cup seems more apt there.) All that tipping, and its representations in exported American movies and TV shows, has impacted countries around the world. Here’s some guidance on tipping while traveling.
Americans are beloved in Europe because we tip. We seem almost constitutionally incapable of not tipping. I’d like to agree with most commentators and say that it is not expected, but American habits have changed that calculus. So go ahead and leave a euro at the restaurant or hand a euro to the bellman. For pricier dinner venues, check the menu—it’s supposed to note if the gratuity is included. . . . .”
“Greg Gilligan is the vice president and managing director of the PGA Tour in China, a newly created position as the golf tour expands in Asia.
The Beijing-based American, who is also chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, talked to the Journal about China’s best golf course, experiencing the whole country without leaving Beijing, and why he always tries to catch an early flight.
If the first few months are any indication, it’s a fair amount. . . . .”
“I had a smile on my face as I strode across the tarmac of Samarkand airport, for I had arrived at last in the city I had toiled for four years to recreate as a novelist.
My expectations of seeing everything I had researched about one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world – it was founded in 700 B.C. by the greatest traders of the old Silk Road, the Sogdians – could hardly have been higher. . . .”