1 – Patience
One of the first things you’ll realize upon arrival in China is that the people are not that nice. They will bump you to get unto the train or fight you for a seat, cars will not stop for you at crosswalks, and not everyone wants to help you find that new restaurant. These things may seem like no brainers, but when traveling to a new place, you must learn the customs of that place as well. What may cause you to knock the sense out of someone in the States may just be normal occurrences in other places.
Beyond that, just remember you’re visiting a new country where you’re the guest. You’re not to be catered to in any way. Your ability or lack of ability to speak Chinese will require deep breaths and some good signing, but you’ll be just fine in the end.
2 – A Good Sense of Humor
If you allow, the stares or request for photos can get a bit annoying. However, if you have fun with it, you won’t even notice after a while. I make funny faces back at kids, throw up the peace sign in pictures, and put on a good smize when I’m strutting down the street.
In addition, the coughing out one’s soul when spitting, one’s need to clip his or her nails on the train, and babies pooping on the street can make you cringe a little bit. Just don’t touch anything and try not to get hit by a bugger and step in $%#$%. LOL
3 – A Positive Attitude
No one really cares that you’re black on a deep level. Their opinions of Black people are only surface level, so you have the ability to create your own narrative. Also, when things don’t go your way or the language barrier is getting to you, remain positive because your time abroad is relying on it. I had many things go wrong here, but I had to remember that all those experiences provided me with growth and revealed the mature being that was within.
4 – Strong Faith or Spiritual Foundation
You will get homesick and miss your boo, but there’s someone who is with you no matter where you are in the world. Wherever or however you get your spirit fed, just make sure that you do because you will not be able to get through it by yourself.
5 – An Open Mindset
Don’t travel abroad just to stay in your room and talk about how you miss things in America. If you actually give it a chance, you might find yourself calling China home before you know it. Eat all types of food (yes, try the McDonalds too) and find out what the people do. That cricket fight and a taste of dog meat might just have you hollering for more (just kidding, I haven’t tried dog).
On another note, don’t let the social constructs America instilled in you stop you from enjoying your time in China. While others may not look like you, they can share in experiences and culture. Oh, and you’ll be surprised, Asians can cut Black hair too.
Blog post commissioned by Black Beyond Borders.