Tag Archives: FAQ

CAQ: Is China Safe?!? – The Size Issue

16 Jan

Well, small break in the vacation plans – mom fell yesterday and crashed her hip so I spent 13+ hours in the Korean hospital.¬† Today she is zonked out on pain meds, so I have some time to do a little typing ūüôā

I haven’t really had time to answer questions yet, but I wanted to start addressing some of the Commonly Asked Questions people give me about China.¬† While it may not answer everything, I hope that it will clear up some big misconceptions people have about this beautiful country.

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CAQ #1: Is China Safe?!?

When I began telling family and friends about my new adventure plans to teach in China,I found fear and worry was a bit more prevalent than excitement, and I had to do some serious selling of the idea before they would start to get behind me.¬† The most common question I was asked¬†was “well, do you think it’s safe?”¬† After thinking about¬†it, I’ve decided that this question stemmed from concerns of about three things (size/language, health, and security); I’ll address each in turn over the next few posts, but I want to start with the size/language concerns.

Concern: China is massively large and the language is foreign. 

Just looking at a map will tell you that China is one of the worlds largest nations (technically¬†#3, right after Russia and Canada).¬† Then there is the fact that it is actually the #1 largest nation in terms of populations (1.3 billion in 2015, making up 19% of the worlds’ people!).¬† Just, woah!¬† There are 45 cities in China with more than 1,000,000 people, and the vast majority of them are closer to 3-4 million.¬† Compare that to the US, where only 9 cities have more than 1,000,000 and only 4 of those are more than 1.5.¬† It’s just kind of mind-boggling to think about how HUGE China really is.¬† And I think this is one part of China that people actually kind of get – we’ve seen the movies about Shanghai and Beijing, watched the tiny little streets and billions of flashing lights in strange characters leading us into back alleys to be lost in the maze forever.¬† China’s size is daunting, and I won’t say that this doesn’t scare me at times.

Unlike Korea and Japan, where subway signs, maps, and bus routes are more or less in English, most of the transportation aids in China are in Pinyin.¬† In fact, there isn’t even a map at all of my home city of Xinzheng, and it has about 600,000 people.¬† While this seems extremely big to a Missouri girl from a town of 12,000; to the¬†locals, this¬†is practically a backwoods country farming village.¬† Even the nearby city of Zhengzhou, boasting 5,000,000 as early as 2010, is considered a small¬†city. And that’s TWICE the size of Chicago! And still no good map! Continue reading

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