Hi guys, hope you are all well. Today is such a sunny day and since I have some time on my hands I said it’s about time I posted something new on the blog. I’d like to talk about a few misconceptions that most foreigners, including me tend to believe before actually going to China.
Chinese girls don’t wear wigs/extensions
Now this misconceptions wasn’t one that was on my mind prior to going to China, but I know that when it comes to buying weaves, most of us associate the hair markets originating in China. Not only this, but most people think that it’s just the black community that wear weaves and wigs. This being said, you wouldn’t really imagine the Chinese to buy hair from their own people, no? Well I kid you not, but the amount of girls I saw wearing clip-ons, tracks, bang pieces and wigs was a lot. I mean even when I went to a hair market in Guangzhou I was surprised to see so many Chinese girls examining the hair with such delight for their own interest. Somehow I was just a bit shocked to see that even Chinese girls wear weaves like its nothing. Plus although it’s very apparent that the black community are the largest customers for buying weave, the truth is a lot of other ethnicities such as Caucasians, Latinos and even Asians buy weave too, it’s just less noticeable that’s all.
You cannot worship openly in China, only within underground churches
This was something that really worried me before going to China. As a Christian who regularly attends church and takes the religion seriously I was very speculative of the freedom I would have to do certain activities, such as going to a church, reading my bible and praying. So many thoughts ran through my mind such as potentially being thrown into prison if I was somehow caught reading my bible or having religious discussions with my international friends. But of course all these things I prayed about and thankfully all the thoughts I had were completely false when I arrived in China. Not only was there a church that all the internationals could go an worship every week, but many of us students also gathered together once during the week to study the bible and discuss certain topics. It was truly a blessing to feel so free in what seemed like a repressive country when it came to religion. However it is important to bare in mind that there is some truth behind this misconception. Religious protests are strictly prohibited and you can be sure to find yourself in serious trouble if caught by the officials. Also, Chinese citizens are not allowed to worship with foreigners, hence why I went to an international church. The government feels that they need to control the way religion is expressed in fear of it spreading and becoming detrimental to the government. Sadly there are many churches around China that are perceived by the government to be too distracting that have been knocked down or are in the process of being so like one we used pass by every week on our way to church. (Click here for further info). But in general you can be at peace that you’ll be fine being whatever religion you are in China.
Clothing, shoes, & beauty products are all very cheap!
Clothing, shoes, & beauty products are not cheap! I repeat they are NOT cheap!! This is going to be disappointing for many but it’s best that I prepare you before you travel to China. Everyone always raves about how cheap China is because almost everything is produced in China. But to some extent this is all false! When I went shopping for the first time at Wanda Plaza in Ningbo, I was shocked at the prices I was seeing within Chinese branded shops. All items within these shops were over £50 stretching to more than £300. I was so displeased because it meant my only options to buy things from were H&M, ZARA, Uniqlo and Gap. However with the latter shops being the cheapest place to shop this was great for me as I regularly shop in H&M and ZARA back in the UK, plus their sales in China are the best! So yes, I would definitely stock up on your beauty products from home, especially if you are a dark female like me because finding items that cater to dark skin tones is virtually impossible.
Everyone in China speaks only Mandarin.
Now I don’t know about you but I assumed that everyone born in China spoke Mandarin and only that, but how wrong was I. Every city in China has their own dialect (there’s over 1000 dialects!) and believe me it sounds very different from Mandarin. Some places the dialect spoken there can only be understood by those who were born and raised there and no one else. It’s important to note that many of the old citizens can only speak their city’s dialect and might not understand you when you speak to them in Mandarin. It was really interesting to hear a few different dialects whilst I was in China and to acknowledge the fact that the Chinese culture is truly immense. Btw, China is officially made of of 57 ethnic groups, the majority being the Han people.
China is a very conservative country.
I thought that with China being a communist country, almost everyone would be wearing plain, army like clothes, with the girls all sporting a bob cut hairstyle. I really thought I would be entering a conservative country in all aspects, so when I arrived at the airport to see all the ladies dressed elaborately with frills and bows, pinks and bright coloured shoes I was in shock! The girls really take time to dress up… I mean just to go to the mall you’ll see a group of them dress as if they’re about to go to the club or a fancy party. It was such a contrast to what I see in the UK, many people on a normal day dress really casual with not much thought put into their outfit, but in China it’s the complete opposite! I loved it though, because there were a lot of styles that I would never have imagined putting together that on the students and really liked how they looked on. Another thing not so conservative or innocent is their mind, and when it comes to the boys and girls talking about the opposite gender, you’ll be left gob-smacked (From what a friend and I have personally heard in passing), but that’s all I’ll say on that matter 😛