We conducted our first interview with Jingyuan and He, who come from China and study on the University in Paderborn.
China is a huge country. Where exactly our interlocutors come from?
Both come from northeast regions of the country, Jingyuan is from Tai`an. First adjective, which she used to describe her city was "small". How many inhabitants counts such a "small" Chinese city? ...it proved only about...5 million. Close to Tai`an is one of the most known Chinese peaks. Mount Tai Shan is classified as one of the “Five Great Mountains” and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. Many oldest and biggest temples of that part of the country are located there. The stairs leading to the top of Tai Shan have more than 7 thousand steps! The city attracts many tourists and thanks to that can afford the economy without an industry. Moreover, there are three universities located in Taian, nonetheless Jingyuan decided to study in Quingdao, a city 300 km away.
He’s city is Jining, and it has about 8 million inhabitants. These “small” cities with millions of inhabitants made us a bit confused, so we decided to check it thoroughly. So, in China, the concept of a “city” functions a bit differently. By saying “city” they understand a whole prefecture... which does not change the fact that the numbers are impressive anyway.
He continues: Do you know Confucius? He comes from my neighbourhood!” Unfortunately in Jining that fact was not seen as a tourist attraction and the city is dominated by industry. He decided to study in Quingdao as well... Why? The answer was not surprising. In China, just like in other countries, some universities are better and some are worse. The one in Quingdau is one of the good ones. The best ones are in Pekin and Shanghai. Like in other countries, graduating from a prestigious university guarantees faster and easier way to find an interesting job.
Why did they decide to study in another country and why in Germany?
Jingyuan answers: “I had a chance and I couldn`t pass on it!”. Going abroad was an occasion to study chemistry at a higher level. The reason for choosing Garmany was the low cost of education in this country, even for foreigners.
He already learnt German very well in China, so after his arrival to Paderborn he passed his exams straight away and didn`t have to do a language course here.
Now it`s the time for a question: Do Chinese travel a lot?
It was to be expected that Chinese travel quite willingly. However, only wealthy people can afford to travel in the country and abroad by a plane. A cheap means of transport in China is the train. Although, in a country this size, moving between different points can be very time-consuming. Journey time depends on a kind of train you`ve chosen as well. Jingyuan can travel from her city to Shanghaj in 8 hours using Intercity rail, but she could also use a cheaper connection, with the jorney time taking up to 14 hours.
Which places in China are most visited? Apart from big cities such as Pekin, Shanghaj and Hongkong, areas like Junnan and Tybet are also very willingly visited. In case of Tybet the main advantages are clean air and a small number of people.
Shanghaj or Pekin? Jingyuan answered without hesitation “Shanghaj”. It`s more modern and has many foreigners working there. Shanghaj is a city for young people. Further, we started talking about travel safety. In our interlocutors’ opinion travelling in China is safe even for lonely travelers. Complete confidence can be felt in big cities, because many people can speak English there. „Taking a walk after dusk? Not a problem!”...we have to check it:)
Do people wear traditional dresses? When? One reason to wear traditional Chinese outfits is at least a wedding, but even then only the bride and groom wear them. The rest of participants of the ceremony dress according to the universal fashion, that is suits etc. A traditional dress can be noticed in China also during celebration of the New Year.
It`s worth to mention that there are many national minorities living in China, and each has its own tradition and dialect. Many varieties of Chinese language itself exist, but at school and at work only the official language is used.
|Representatives of 56 Chinese ethnic minorities in traditional dresses.|
Is every Chinese an only-child?
We have found out that indeed many Chinese are an only-child. However a rigorous law imposed in the 1980`s caused there to be more older men than young nowadays. So now, the Chinese only-child must support both - their parents and children. In connection with that problem, if two people without siblings want to start a family, they can have two children.
What is the biggest difference you`ve noticed between China and Germany?
Punctuality. In China there are no timetables at the bus stops, and people don`t pay so much attention to punctuality as in Germany. It`s normal that you can be late 15 minutes.
At the end a topic of stereotypes connected with food. Is it true that in China people eat dogs and guinea pigs?
Don`t worry, guinea pigs can feel safe:). They are only a pet in China. Whereas stereotype concerning eating dogs is justified. It doesn`t relate to everybody or even majority, but there are people who have nothing against such diet. Amongst peculiar meals to us, for example snakes and their eggs are consumed. As might be guessed, rice and pasta are the most common everyday meal. Chinese usually drink just water, warm, cold in summer. Besides that - tea, however only a few people are coffee lovers.