Where I grew up, people eat with forks, and old ladies don't spit in public. I was born in Anaheim, California, and am the youngest of three children. While growing up, I traveled to exotic places like Catalina Island, Ohio, and occasionally my grandparents' swimming pool. Despite the lack of international travel, I became interested in traveling because of my parents. As a kid, they told me about their mission trips to Fiji, the Philippines, and Japan. And thus my little brain became exposed. So, I ended up deciding to travel to the Far East.
Life is different in China. There are things you should never do, but at the same time anything goes, and anything can happen. But my life is not as comfortable, air-conditioned, or as clean as it was in the States. Here in China, as you see, drying clothes in a machine is just not as common as hanging them up to dry.
On a more positive note, the food here is almost always awesome. It's about eight times as cheap, and at least several times better tasting than the average Californian meal. But I can't say I haven't missed American food...
To be honest, I enjoy all the shabbiness. I like the discomfort, weird things, smells...well, I cannot say I enjoy all the smells...I have very much grown accustomed to using squat toilets. I could tell to you about the advantages and disadvantages, but it would be better for you to see them in person.
I think it is because of the speed with which everything was built that so many roads and buildings, interiors and exteriors, and many other things are breaking. Bathrooms, electronics, whatever, all seem to be falling apart to some extent. Surely I am spoiled by the sidewalks in America; they shock me with their neatness and uniformity. I was so surprised the first time I saw this tile floor beside the road...
...But it ain't all ugly.
You might be surprised or intrigued by this picture, and perhaps even a little excited by the sheer difference between this and the U.S. But if you come to China, that shouldn't surprise you. The fact that there are only about six other people in the picture should be shocking.
Similarly, you had better learn that it is always "too cold!" or "too hot!" but really it's not bad at all. I think Chinese people just don't have anything better to say sometimes. We probably do that too, nevertheless, I feel very cool sporting my coat in the fresh snow.
Friends are super important, always. I could say a lot about all the needs for them, especially in another country. I will only say that you should think about why you came, and then make friends, whether they are Chinese or not.
Three hundred years ago at the top of the center wall an emperor made a speech here. You should travel around a bit—it's pretty nifty!
What is there to be said about daily life here? It happens every day. It only happens once a day, and never again. So don't stress yourself about how things will unfold during the time abroad, you will acclimate to the weird cultural things. Just make sure you know why you are doing it and cherish it. Oh, by the way, there's good chance of becoming a sad little foreigner at times.
Go to China! It's pretty and you'll learn stuff. It's amazing to realize that a little water village exists, and at a point in time nothing was there. How did those people imagine that thousands of years ago!? It's real though, I find it rather shocking, the world I live in.
Learn more about the study abroad program in China