Family Differences: Aerin

Though on paper my family in America and my Chinese host family are pretty similar, I’ve noticed that the general atmospheres of the two houses are very different. My home in America is filled with laughter, music, and a fair amount of yelling. There’s always something happening, and it’s usually quite loud. I like to think of my family as a humorous bunch- we are constantly teasing each other and making jokes. Responsibilities are pretty evenly distributed- my sister and I clean our own rooms, cook for ourselves if we are hungry, etc. My house in China is pretty different. … Continue reading Family Differences: Aerin

Life in China and the US: Rex

My life in China and the US have some similarities and differences. During the weekend, my life in Brookline has a lot more structure than my life in Xi’an. In Brookline, I usually have a soccer game or practice, spend a few hours doing my homework, and then head over to a friends house to hang out. My schedule doesn’t change much week to week and I find comfort in that. However, in Xi’an, things are a bit different. While I still leave time to do my homework, everything else is a big question mark. I never enter the weekend … Continue reading Life in China and the US: Rex

Racial Identity: Mel

I’ve always liked being biracial. Unlike those who struggle with feeling isolated from both aspects of their identity, always code-switching, or trying to fit into both sides but being caught between two walls, I’ve always felt the positive aspects more than the negatives. I feel like I get the best of both worlds. I also think being mixed actually corresponds with some of my values in a weird way. I never think in black and white. I always look for the gray areas, for the space to be creative. I’m not just White or Asian, I’m somewhere in between. My … Continue reading Racial Identity: Mel

My Chinese identity: Aerin

I have observed one very marked difference in how I perceive myself now, as opposed to in America: that of my racial identity. The fact that I’m half-Chinese is something that I emphasized during the application process for this exchange. I hoped to be able to explore the Chinese half of my racial identity, since I didn’t have much more than a surface level understanding of it. While this was something I had been looking forward to during my time in China, I was really unprepared for how much more connected I would feel to my Chinese identity. Beyond just … Continue reading My Chinese identity: Aerin

Making Conversation: Rex

Earlier in the semester, I went with my host family and some of their friends to a placecalled Ya’an. This trip was really special because it provided time for me to bond with my host family and talk to some kids outside of my school. The group was pretty large, more than fifteen people made up of four to five families. All of the parents are friends and the kids go to middle school together and are good friends. At first, I thought I would be excluded from the group because all of the kids know each other, so I … Continue reading Making Conversation: Rex

In the lane: Mel

Earlier in the semester, we participated in the annual school basketball tournament. I feel stupid for actually thinking that I could just stroll right in and have the chance to play a normal game and easily prove myself. Maybe at home, but not here. At first, I stayed quiet because it made sense. A lot of the guys out there were better than me, and I’ve never been one to argue about playing time, so I didn’t say anything. I didn’t get upset until it became clear that they had no intention of playing me while there was a guy … Continue reading In the lane: Mel

Tibetan life in Yunnan: Cora

I think many of us have heard of a thing or two about the clash between Tibetan people and the Chinese government. However, I bet most of you reading this was not aware of the small town in the mountains of Yunnan call Shangri-La (香格里拉), which we recently visited. This town is home to a large population of Tibetan people, a very large Tibetan Buddhist monastery, and a lot of yaks. Shangri-la refers to the Tibetan utopia in the book Lost Horizon by James Hilton. Before this book, the town was called Zhongdian (中甸). It is still referred to as … Continue reading Tibetan life in Yunnan: Cora

Chinese food and “Chinese food”: Aerin

Now that our time in China is coming to a close, I am being forced to face something utterly depressing: leaving the food here. China is an absolute paradise of food. This is definitely not something that’s coming to you as a shock, I’m sure. However, something else you are probably thinking is, “isn’t four months straight of Chinese food kind of… a lot? Won’t you get sick of it??” And let me tell you, dear reader, I thought exactly the same thing as you before I arrived here. But the key word there is “before.” American Chinese food, while … Continue reading Chinese food and “Chinese food”: Aerin

Being Chinese American in China: Pearl

            I feel as though the fact that I’m a Chinese adoptee and here for four months hasn’t influenced or changed me as much as I had expected. Initially when I applied for the China Exchange program, I was immediately drawn to the idea of learning about the culture in which I could have “potentially grown up in.” While my enthusiasm to learn about China’s culture remains, my eagerness to learn more about who I am (or rather, could have been) has drawn out.             There’s no denying the fact that I am Chinese definitely has had an impact on … Continue reading Being Chinese American in China: Pearl

Tips to Bargaining (as a foreigner): Cora

1. Accept being a foreigner. You will have to be ok with the fact that if you don’t speak Chinese, you won’t get the same price as the native Chinese. Even when the price is cheaper then what you would get it for in America, it still might be more expensive than a native would be willing to pay for it. Even after bargaining, you may not end up with a price close to what Chinese natives are offered. 2. Half the offer and pay no more. Try your best not to pay more than half the price offered, especially … Continue reading Tips to Bargaining (as a foreigner): Cora