News / Asia

Q&A: First Impressions of China for First-time Visitors

FILE - Foreign tourists visit Yuyuan Garden, one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai, China.
FILE - Foreign tourists visit Yuyuan Garden, one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai, China.
The first visit to China for most Westerners is likely an experience for which they are not fully prepared. Now, there is literary help; Lessons from China will be officially launched the week of April 7.
 
The book highlights the experiences of Jan Cross, a recent college graduate on her way to teach English in Beijing, China. The challenges of living and working abroad change her forever as she gives and receives lessons inside and outside of the classroom on life, social practices, international employment, and the deep bond of friendship.
 
Cross is a fictional character created by author Beau Sides, who shares some of his real life first time memories of the Middle Kingdom.
 
SIDES: Honestly I went with no expectations because I didn’t know what it was going to be like. I was just wide-eyed and couldn’t wait to jump in and get my feet wet over there.
 
STEVENSON: It’s an amazingly familiar sight when you get into the city and see how people are dressed and you see some of the modern things that they have. They have cell phones just like we do, and move around on buses and subways. But yet there are differences that strike you pretty quickly when you arrive there.
 
SIDES: One of the things that I noticed was that guys that were out doing manual labor were wearing slacks and nice shoes while they were doing that, let’s say they were digging a hole or something like that.
 
Their technology for cell phones is about two years ahead of the United States. They realized that when that technology became available, they had a huge country that wasn’t 100% connected with landlines. So they thought why should we spend the money on upgrading our landlines when we won’t need that soon, so they were actually doing text messaging I think about two years before America.
 
STEVENSON: You had a lot of chance at the university to interact with students, and that certainly must have presented some interesting times for you.
 
SIDES: I was amazed with how accepting students were of me. The guys would just take me in like I was someone their own age when I was in my early to mid-40s at the time I was there. We would go play basketball. They would come to my apartment and watch DVDs, American movies. They would ask, ‘Do you think she is pretty?’ when we would be out playing basketball and a girl would go by. I was just amazed how they accepted me and then I was just another guy their age. We had some wonderful times together.
 
STEVENSON: One of the other sides to spending any time in China is of course the food.
 
SIDES: One of the things you are told not to do is eat street food. And I loved street food. There’s something called chuànr, which is meat put on a stick kind of like a kabob, and it is cooked over these hot coals. They put some pretty strong spices on it. Yángròu, which is mutton, is by far my favorite. You have your chicken and pork obviously. But I really like the street food there with the mutton on a stick.

Jim Stevenson

For over 35 years, Jim Stevenson has been sharing stories with the world on the radio and internet. From both the field and the studio, Jim enjoys telling about specific events and uncovering the interesting periphery every story possesses. His broadcast career has been balanced between music, news, and sports, always blending the serious with the lighter side.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid