You are actively planning that school trip to China but you want to get your students ready before D-day? Here are 5 myths that we often hear from students freshly arriving in The Middle Kingdom and that we are debunking for you. Read on and let us know if you have another myths you’d like us to check!
1.The Great Wall of China Can Be Seen From Space
A common myth about The Great Wall of China is that you can see it from space; this myth is so widespread it has even been printed in some school textbooks! Actually, The Great Wall has never been visible from space with the naked eye, and one of China’s own astronauts Yang Liwei confirmed this when he stated he couldn’t see the structure when looking out of his capsule window in space.
2.”Chinese” is one single language
Until the mid-20th century, China had many problems with communication within the country, since there was not a widely used language. Mao Zedong, the founder of the Communist Party, changed that by introducing Mandarin as “the common language” which was traditionally spoken by Beijing leaders. However, still today many different dialects exist; many people grow up speaking in their local dialect and learning Mandarin in school. It would be like people from New York and Boston not understanding each other, unless the people from Boston spoke in a New York accent, or vice versa!
3.The Internet Is 100% Censored
It is known that China censors the Internet, but many people are often mistaken as to how far it goes. Whilst there is some of censorship, there is also access to a huge variety of information available online. However a lot of this information is in Chinese, so it can be a bit trickier if you cannot speak the language! Some online users do get around the censorship to access sites such as Instagram or Twitter.
4.”Chinese food” is all one type of food
In Western countries, we get sold the idea that there is one type of “Chinese food’. However this could not be further from the truth, Chinese food is extremely diverse ranging from super spicy Sichuan food to Cheese orientated Yunnan dishes and western Xinjiang which has a largely Muslim population and resembles a more Middle Eastern style.
In the west many Chinese restaurants have been heavily adapted to suit different tastes, and dishes are generally very similar, it would be like claiming that Italian Cuisine only consists of Spaghetti! (We are sure that it won’t be so difficult to please everyone during your school trip. ;))
5.You cannot travel in China if you don’t speak Chinese
The prospect of travelling to China for the first time can be daunting if you don’t speak the language. However despite many people believing it would be impossible to communicate, that is not exactly the case! With technology helping to bring down barriers between people more than ever before, there are plenty of translation apps available- which Chinese people are usually very willing to use. Additionally, studying English is actually compulsory for all Chinese school students; there are more people that can understand you than you would think. Of course this will vary; it is more common for younger people and those living in bigger cities to speak English.