China is a very exciting country to be in for many reasons. For most foreigners here, you’ve come for business or travel. But with so many possible activities to do, there remains one thing you can’t avoid: communication. Communication in modern China is probably not much different than how it was a hundred years ago, before simplified Chinese came around. Contrary to one assumption, communication hasn’t gotten any simpler. In fact, if you aren’t prepared, it can be very easy to lose your mind. That’s where the group of foreigners in China gets separated… and the ones who can’t handle it end up going home “for good”. Here is what that group should have taken into consideration.
1) Laugh your problems away: This is one of the toughest things to get used to. It’s the awkward giggle/chuckle you hear when a something goes wrong. Perhaps you gave a direct comment that surprised your secretary. Maybe a friend didn’t help you do a task correctly. Anything that takes effort could potentially be done wrong, and a laugh is a way to combat losing face. In order to combat frustration, I usually make a game out of guessing what will go wrong. When a mistake is made, or a misunderstanding occurs, I compare it with my original guess. It is a little pessimistic, but it often helps me laugh the problems away. Continue reading 5 Ways to Keep from Losing Your Mind in China