Register Now | Username:   Password:   
 Home  Favorite
Toll Free:  1-866-266-1726
HomeAbout UsFAQ'sNewsTestimonialsContact Us |    
  
Education

Travel

Business

Visas and Immigration

Others
Frequently Asked Questions
  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The answers to these questions have been provided by Gregory Monteith, a Canadian teacher from Hamilton, Ontario. Gregory has taught in China for two years, having worked at the college, university, and middle school levels, both private and public institutions, in three different Chinese provinces. He has explored most regions of China, written travel articles published online and taken an extensive collection of photographs. If you have any further questions, concerns, or comments, big or small, about living, working, and travelling in China, feel free to contact us:

ncentury@n-century.net

=============================================

FAQs: Table of contents

1. Why should I go to China?

2. Why should I visit China instead of Japan, Korea, or another Asian country?

3. Is China a safe country?

4. What if I can't speak the language?

5. Is China an expensive place to travel?

6. Is China an expensive place to live?

7. Is it hard to travel in China?

8. What are the students like in China?

9. What are the schools like in China?

10. Is China a crowded and noisy place?

11. Is there a lot to see and do in China?

==========================================

1. Why should I go to China?

As a country that has only been open to foreign travelers, on a wide-scale, for the last 25 years, China will expose you to a culture, history, and way-of-life that is very different from what we experience in North America. Although this is changing, and China is rapidly ¡°westernizing¡± in many ways, the constant sense of change and progress being made all over the country makes China an exciting place to be right now. You have the chance to witness how the country is rapidly developing, from being virtually a third world country in the 1950¡¯s, to its current status, as the fastest growing economy in the world. Many international observers have commented that the twenty-first century will belong to Asia, and China will be the next superpower, with the potential of overtaking the U.S as the world's leading economic power, by the middle of this century. While experiencing this unprecedented modernization, you will also have the opportunity of experiencing one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Wonders such as the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors at Xian will help you to understand how China was once the world leader in science, technology, commerce and military power, and might be again someday!

TOP

2. Why should I visit China instead of Japan, Korea, or another Asian country?

There are many reasons why China is the best place to live, travel, and work in Asia.

Historically, the Chinese Empire was once the most powerful in Eastern Asia, and countries such as Mongolia, Korea, and Japan owe much of their cultural origins to Chinese culture. The traditional architecture, language, cuisine, and religion of Korea and Japan, although they've developed in their own way, first came from China. Of the three countries (China, Korea, and Japan) China has been the least influenced by western culture, and therefore offers a more unique cultural experience, with some parts of China being virtually untouched by western culture.

TOP

3. Is China a safe country?

I've travelled all over China, in most cases alone, in parts of the country where it's clear from the look on people's faces that few foreigners have gone, but I never once felt unsafe. Despite the language barrier, most of the people I met traveling in China were friendly and as helpful as our language abilities would allow. Common sense should always prevail though, and you should be aware of your surroundings at all times, since, as a foreigner, you will stand out in China, so always protect your belongings.

TOP

4. What if I can't speak the language?

In most major Chinese cities English signs are common, and restaurants often have English menus, so don't worry, you won't have to learn to read Chinese characters. However, although reading and writing Chinese is very difficult and requires close study, speaking Chinese is not as difficult as people often think, and if you can learn a few basic phrases ("hello", "thank you", "how much" etc.) you will find the people will be even friendlier. As always, body language is helpful, and you can get by just by pointing, nodding, shaking your head, and using your fingers for numbers. Major tourist sites and airports always have employees who speak English, as do most train and bus stations. My advice is don't be shy, learn a few Chinese words, it will surprise the locals, make them smile, and they will try to help you if they can.

TOP

5. Is China an expensive place to travel?

No. You will be amazed at the prices of trains, buses, and taxis in China. Even though flights are more expensive, flying within China is still much cheaper than you'll pay flying within Canada or the U.S.

TOP

6. Is China an expensive place to live?

No. You can get a great meal in a nice restaurant in China for under $10 CAD (for two people). The interesting aspect about costs in China is the great range in costs. If you want luxury, you can get it (hotels, restaurants, travel, shopping) often for less than you would in Canada, but the real bargains come when you stay in the same hotels, eat in the same restaurants, and shop in the same markets and stores as the Chinese do (this is also a more authentic Chinese experience). If you're in Shanghai or Beijing, you could eat at McDonalds, KFC, or Pizza Hut everyday if you want, but you'll be missing out on the fantastic variety of Chinese restaurants available all over the country. Note: the Chinese food we eat in North America is nothing like actual Chinese cuisine (they don't have fortune cookies or chicken balls in China) the food is freshly made, healthy, affordable, and each region of China has their own cuisine, special dishes, and ways of preparing food. If you prefer to cook for yourself, you can usually find fresh fruit, vegetable, meat, and spice markets nearby, wherever you live. The Chinese don't freeze anything, so you're always guaranteed fresh produce. In terms of price and variety of goods, China is probably the best country in the world for shopping, regardless of what you want (clothing, electronics, antiques, silk, jade, pearls, traditional cultural items, souvenirs etc.) Unless the price is clearly marked, be prepared to bargain!

TOP

7. Is it hard to travel in China?

China can be a challenging place to travel if you're going alone, without being on a tour, especially if you're traveling to more isolated parts of the country where foreigners don't usually venture and English is uncommon. However, with a good map, travel guidebook, a flexible schedule, and a lot of patience, you can make it on your own. If you want to make things easier on yourself, there are tour packages and guides available everywhere. It all depends what kind of experience you're looking for, a relaxing holiday, or an exciting adventure- they're both available. The best way to prepare for a trip to China, and make sure you don't miss anything while you're there, is to pick up a China travel book (I recommend Lonely Planet or Rough Guide) at any Chapters or Indigo. They'll provide you with invaluable information about sites, culture, travel, prices, weather, maps, shopping, and they usually provide a small phrase book at the back so you can learn a few Chinese words.

TOP

8. What are the students like in China?

The students in China are a joy to teach. The Chinese have a deep general respect for teachers, and being a foreigner, they'll not only work hard for you, they'll also go out of their way to make you feel welcome in their country. Discipline problems are virtually non-existent, and the kids are generally very enthusiastic about learning English, especially from native-English speakers. The education system in China is very different than in western countries, and you'll find the students work much harder, longer hours, and have less time to be kids. They grow up in a system where they are taught to listen, memorize, obey, and pass examinations, rather than socialize, have part-time jobs, be an individual, or think for themselves, like we generally teach in western countries. As a teacher, it can be challenging at first to get used to this system, but I was always inspired by their hard work and enthusiasm to do my job well.

TOP

9. What are the schools like in China?

In any of the Chinese schools I've worked in, both the teachers and students have generally gone out of their way to make me feel welcome. The students, although shy at times, are always interested to talk with you, and at the secondary and college/university levels, you will likely have the chance to get to know the students outside of school. Students will often invite you to go to a museum, shopping, or visit their hometown on weekends or holidays, and my advice is always say yes- you will experience a side of China rarely found on tours. Families pay for their students' schooling at all ages, and the kids know this, so most of them work hard because they know their families have paid for it.

TOP

10. Is China a crowded and noisy place?

At 1.3 billion, China has the largest population of any country in the world, with 1 out 5 people in the world being Chinese. So, yes, China is crowded. Although there are large sections of China where you'll find mountains, forests, grasslands, and desert, with few inhabitants, most Chinese cities, especially in eastern China, are crowded. China has a few metropolitan areas with a population higher than all of Canada. For the traveller, this means longer lineups, traffic, crowded buses and subways, and often noisy restaurants, but this is China, so take a deep breath, relax, and be careful when crossing the streets, because cars, not people, have the right-of-way (seriously). There is a lot of pollution, the country is generally dirtier than most westerners are used to (especially public bathrooms) but this is the reality of overpopulation, a challenge that many developing countries have to deal with.

TOP

11. Is there a lot to see and do in China?

After spending two years travelling around the country, trying to see as much as I could, there's still so much more I want to see in China, and many of the things I've seen once, I want to see again! (you can never see the Great Wall too many times) There is something interesting to see in every province and region of China, whether it be a mega-city, a gorgeous natural landscape, a historical relic, or one of China's 55 ethnic minorities practicing their own way of life. You'll never get bored in China.

TOP


Copyright 2007-2008 New Century | Designed by 
1188334 Visits Since Wednesday 04 April, 2007