China Happenings

Discovering Beijing and Inner Mongolia, China

Major: Leadership for Organizational Learning and Performance through the College of Education and Human Development

By: Tamara Kay York

On money…

Our professor advised us to arrive into China with some Yuan currency.  Since I had recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic and did not need local currency/was able to use my debit card without issue, I assumed that this would be the case in China as well.  This was NOT the case, however, there are ATM machine’s everywhere and I did not have an issue accessing money.  Just be aware that most US banks will access a charge for international transactions.  Mine was $20 and very much worth it vs. having to keep track of the exchange rate on my end.

On having culture shock…

Even though I was advised that, as a tall American blonde woman, I would be asked to have my picture taken with people, I did not expect just how often.  I lost track during the 13 day stay, but can say at least 50 times at a minimum, and can say it was the most prevalent during our tourist/historical/educational excursions as these are general tourist attractions for people across the world (The Great Wall, etc).  When I/we were approached the people asking are very friendly and there was no fear of a safety concern at all.

Great Wall Road View by Tamara Kay York
Great Wall Road View by Tamara Kay York
Taken before seeing the Great Wall by Tamara Kay York
Taken before seeing the Great Wall by Tamara Kay York

On communicating…

I was able to communicate with my family, and  on-line school requirements, via my computer for the first 2 days, however, during that time (even after speaking with my cell phone carrier (Sprint) before hand and adding the international coverage to my plan/making sure there was Sprint coverage in Beijing and Inner Mongolia) I was not able to text or receive calls.  I did send an email to my husband advising him of my issues with the phone and had him contact them to figure out what the problem was (and for future student reference, China uses the GSM/UMTS network where US accesses the CDMA network & Sprint neglected to tell me to change this on my phone once arriving in China). Once I did this I had 0 issues.

Taken by Tamara Kay York
View of Beijing. Taken by Tamara Kay York

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