Jason, I don’t think we’re in Florida Anymore

The motto of my trip “be flexible” could not better describe what I have had to do to survive this past week in China. However, China is not solely responsible for some of the problems and challenges I have faced. But now that I have overcome most of the major obstacles, I can spend my time enjoying Beijing and really immerse myself in its foreign culture. Below I have compiled a “top 10” list of things I wish I knew or I think are important to know when traveling to Beijing and Tsinghua University.

  1. Inclement weather- I experienced this twice on my flight to Beijing, making my arrival two days later than planned. My advice, if you are leaving somewhere that is known for storms in the late afternoon (Florida), book the earliest flight possible and don’t be afraid of an excessive layover.
  2. Jetlag- if you are coming from the east coast of America, you will find yourself waking up at 5 am for at least two days after you arrive. However, the jetlag itself hasn’t proven to be much of a problem.
  3. Food- come prepared knowing words of foods that you can’t eat. Also be warned that the food is extremely salty so swelling may occur.
  4. Hospitals- if you are a foreigner who gets sick in Beijing, Beijing United Family Hospital is the place to go. Most of the nurses and doctors speak English and the facilities are great!
  5. Heat- it gets hot in Beijing, and this is coming from someone who lives in Florida. Multiple water bottles need to be consumed every day. But don’t drink the tap water!
  6. Outlets- surprisingly enough, my American two-pronged plugs work perfectly in the outlets in Beijing. However, the adapters I purchased won’t go into their portion of the plug, even though they look as if they should work.
  7. Toilets- eastern toilets still confuse me; although, I have gotten quite good at using them. Bring toilet paper wherever you go, some restrooms don’t provide any.
  8. Smog- I have yet to experience the worst of this, however my throat has become scratchy. If you know that this will be a problem for you, bring doctors masks.
  9. Money- Beijing is a cash only zone. I have yet to see anyone use a credit or debit card.
  10. Waiting- there is no such thing as queuing up in China. Feel free to cut in front.

-Heather Blum

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