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She's Culturally Correct in China

13 - It is customary, when receiving a name card or business card from a new acquaintance, to place this card on the table in front of you (or keep it in your hand if you are standing) and refer to it a couple of times before placing it into your pocket. It is considered a slight to take a card and immediately place it into your pocket.

14 - The Chinese concept of service differs from that in Western countries, and it would be considered rude and lacking in attention for a shopkeeper to let you walk around the shop alone. Therefore you will often have a salesgirl at your elbow.

15 - Smoking is okay everywhere. Respect for non-smokers is limited.

16 - Exercise is important to Chinese people and you will see old and young alike exercising to music in public places. These exercises take place in early morning hours and after dark.

17 - Most public buildings and living residences under eight floors are walk-up.

18 - Bicycles are accepted and accommodated everywhere, but it is wise to have a good lock.

19 - Sexual harassment of foreign women is rare, but not non-existent. Do not get into the front seat of taxis when travelling alone and be mindful of where you walk after dark. An unaccompanied woman can be confused for a hooker.

20 - Never offer money to police for any reason, and it should never be required. If you do not understand a situation, insist on talking with someone from your place of employment, a friend, or someone else who speaks English and Chinese.

21 - Most Chinese dress nicely, but not in fancy attire. Observe how people dress around you for different occasions and try to follow suit.

22 - Never point your finger at someone while speaking or referring to them. This is an extremely rude gesture and can be considered offensive.

23 - When someone does something nice for you and you accept, you then have an obligation to return the gesture in some manner. You must be constantly aware of the subtleties of giving and returning favours, or you risk appearing rude. There are many things which to Westerners are simple acts of common courtesy, are considered favours in Chinese culture and require some reciprocity.

24 - Never accept things from others without first saying 'no' at least two or three times and gently pushing away whatever is presented. This is most applicable to gifts, food, and even extends to such things as payment for a private language lesson. It is considered rude and greedy to accept too quickly.

25 - Always check your restaurant bill, as they are often inaccurate. If language is a problem, you can ask a waiter to point to what you received for each charge. Know that when you dine out, things like tissue, nuts, or pickled vegetables that are brought to your table as 'complimentary' additions, are actually added to your bill. If you do not want these 'gifts' you must say so at the beginning of the meal and have them cleared from your table.

Teaching English as a second language...

Eva Lynne explains that there are usually several teaching positions available for qualified, adventurous, travelling women at the Gateway Language Village in Zhuhai, China ( These include:

ESL Teaching positions with every age, ethnicity, and experience welcome.

Communication Assistant positions available for women ages of 18 +. This position is for a gregarious personality who can facilitate conversation between themselves and Chinese students for the evening English Corner program. This position also helps coordinate outings with Chinese students on weekends. Other duties may include but not be limited to occasional teaching (depending upon experience) and special short term projects.

Intern Positions available. This position is for the purpose of heading up certain projects (to be decided between you and the management team) and for a certain period of time (to be determined by the length and complexity of your project chosen).

Paid Volunteer Position. This position is for someone who wants to come to China and work in a school for a period of three months as a paid volunteer learning about Chinese culture and teaching. Duties vary with age and experience of volunteer. Some people come and work as a volunteer for three months while searching the Chinese job market for teaching positions.

Readers are welcome to contact Eva Lynne directly at her e-mail address ( for more information or they can check the school website at:

Eva writes: "There are so few things parents of 18-19 year old teens can do together, but this is a great prospect for that. I have two grown daughters of my own. This is a perfect chance for a mother and daughter to have a three-month experience working together either in the same position or same school and different positions -- depending on the personalities involved."

Ed. note: has never visited or researched this school and therefore cannot provide any background. We suggest that interested applicants connect via e-mail with women who have already worked there -- first-hand reports are usually very helpful.

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