Everyday life in China

Chinese people are very tolerant of foreigners, especially westerner. Even the strangest behaviors are often accepted, for they think that such things are normal in other countries.


Chinese Language or Mandarin is the standard language and other languages are not common. In all cities there are places where westerners congregate; participants will have no trouble finding others who speak their native language. Most necessary services are offered in both English and Mandarin.


Chinese food varies greatly between provinces. Generally food is served fresh, but is very different from western foods in preparation and presentation. Vegetables and rice are common, fresh fruit is limited, and milk is not widely available. Breakfast is particularly different, with congee (a savory rice soup) being a very popular option. Ingredients are seasonal and therefore the menu in some areas is limited in variety. Food is an important part of Chinese culture - chopsticks are used and tea is usually served with each meal. Western-style food can be purchased, although it is expensive and not of the quality one might expect.

Power Supply

Electrical outlets vary between provinces, with most using a 220v system similar to Australia. Adaptors are readily available as required.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones are very common in China and are on a prepaid system. Chinalink consultants can arrange telephones for the students.

Bank Accounts

ATM machines are very common and take international credit cards (VISA) and some debit cards. Chinalink will help students open local bank accounts to make accessing their money easier.

Internet Access

Internet access is provided by the schools. Although in China Internet access is widespread, it is still relatively slow. There a very few Internet cafes and viruses are very common.


The housing in China can seem very basic to visiting westerners. In cities, most people live in small high-rise apartments that vary significantly in quality and, in most cases, heating and cooling are limited. Teacher Assistants will live in schools where accommodation is basic, but good by Chinese standards.


China is a safe country with a low crime rate; however, as is the case in any unfamiliar environment, there is a need to be careful against the usual 'rip offs' for food, drink, taxis, and counterfeit money. Like most large cities, it is wise to avoid certain areas; generally it is safe to walk the streets of China's cities at night.

Medical and Health Care

Although the medical facilities in China's international hospitals are excellent, many medicines common to Western countries are still unavailable in China. While medical costs are relatively low, medical insurance is strongly advised. In addition, care needs to be taken with the water, which should be boiled before use. While living in China, participants will find that its people have many traditional forms of medicine, the most notable being acupuncture.

Medical Services

Basic medical services are available through the schools' infirmaries. If necessary, serious illnesses can be treated at the participant's expense in the local hospitals. Medical insurance is highly recommended.


Chinese people remain curious about westerners and are usually very friendly and helpful. In general, they are also much less direct than westerners and go out of their way not to offend people. It is important to the culture to maintain "face"- not be embarrassed. The culture and standards of dress remain conservative. Religion is not an important part of daily life to most people in China. China has been a communist country for a long time, and its influence is still evident, especially in the Chinese regard for authority.


The local currency is the RenMinBi (RMB, also called the Yuan) and is only valid in China. The RMB has a fixed exchange with the US dollar of around 6.30:1 and can be accessed by ATMs in many locations.

RMB 100

RMB 50

RMB 20

RMB 10