When you’re studying abroad in China or anywhere else in the world, it is important to keep an open mind at all times.
As you are going abroad and navigating in this new space, you are bound to converse with locals. Do not get stuck in your ideas of what is normal, whether it relates to thought or food. You will do yourself a disservice if you are overly skeptical of traditions or food you are not familiar with.
For example, it is a popular Chinese custom when eating in a restaurant to have dinner served at a circular table equipped with a turnstile called a lazy Susan. Sitting in a circle and having your dishes move on your dinner table may at first seem unusual.
As time went on I found myself in love with this tradition because it feeds a sense of community and offers a different variety of dishes every time. Locals take pride in this tradition. Since dishes tend to vary each time you are seated at a table like this, my best advice is that unless you have particular food restrictions, try everything!
Also, in a country like China that lies in the Eastern hemisphere, politics are a discussion that is bound to be enlightening. It is important to do more listening than talking in those situations.
I can distinctly recall an outing I had with friends in which two locals had an altercation that stemmed from a debate about whether China or America was the better country.
In this case scenario, my friends and I did the best we could to remain neutral and help our new local acquaintances remain calm. The best thing to do in such a situation is be open minded and remove yourself from any possible foreseen conflict.