• Michelle Mattke

5 Misconceptions About China:

Updated: Apr 16, 2018

Hollywood movies and biased opinions have created stereotypes for the people of Beijing, China that I think just don't hold true. Below are statements I heard about China before my trip and what I realized about them when I visited.

“You’re 5’8”, did everyone think you are a giant”?

You have to understand that with a county of over a billion people, you are going to have a large amount of people on both ends of “average” height. I was very very average height in China. There were people of all varying shapes and sizes!

“Everyone looks the same in China”

I have to greatly disagree with this. Black and brown hair may be the most common, but there was blonde, pink highlights, long, short, curly hair everywhere. I think fashion is the greatest differentiation though. Everyone has their own unique style. Full of color, patterns, and textures. I would say in America everyone looks the same. Everyone wears jeans/slacks with a t-shirt or blouse. The younger generations had a style that was so fun and cool. They had really interesting layering, statement accessories, and the confidence to go with it. No two people looked alike.

“You’re going to have to wear a mask”

Maybe if I was in China for a very long extended amount of time, I would consider wearing one. But there were WAY more people not wearing them than people wearing them. I never felt the air was heavy, toxic, or heard to breathe. Not even after walking all day or hiking on the Great Wall. Yes, it looks a little foggy, but you can't even see smog till you get out of the city. Because most of the factories are actually on the outskirts of the massive city.

“Everyone is rude”

Just completely not true. Honestly, everyone we met while on our trip in China, was very charming, kind, and courteous. They always greeted us with a smile, tried their hardest to communicate to us in English, always bowed and were very polite. It wasn’t just people who were serving us in a restaurant or hotel either. We had many polite smiles while we passed by people, others showing deuces, and even a guy we passed excitedly said “Howdy” to us which really just made Tye and I giggle!

“It’s dirty”

Wrong - It’s actually very very clean. The government is actually trying to attract more tourism to the country and clear up this “dirty” rumor about them. Along highways, in parks, and anywhere in between the government is planting trees, flowers and shrubs to make the land more inviting. It just helps everything look clean, fresh, and beautiful. Everyone has a job as well. It seemed that there was a cleaning crew stationed on every street. There was not a single piece of trash on the ground, and there was always someone with a broom sweeping the sidewalks. I was very impressed with how lovely and clean everything was.

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