Living In China
1.9 Eating Customs and Cultural Differences
The main difference between Chinese and western eating habits is that in the West, each person has their own plate of food, but in China the dishes are placed on the table and everybody shares.
* When you are invited to eat in a restaurant by a Chinese friend, it means they will pay the bill. Chinese do not "go Dutch" as often as Americans do.
Hotel rooms are normally equipped with a telephone, TV, internet connection, hair dryer, iron, and refrigerator. You will be provided with towels, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, and a comb. Breakfast is not included. We don't give tips in the hotel, but many foreigners give small tips to those who help them carry their luggage to their room when they check in. There are no tips for the waiters/waitresses and the taxi driver, because a service fee is charged already. If you receive very good service and want to express your appreciation, you may write a brief comment in their Customer Comment Book, and they will certainly enjoy reading it.
Chinese pay a lot of attention to how they eat at the table. While table manners may vary from place to place, the following are common ones:
At the negotiation table with your business partners, look into their eyes when they talk to show your sincerity. Have a notebook in front of you to take some notes. This will present a very positive image to the Chinese side, as it is considered standard manners at meetings at various levels in China. During the negotiation, do not take a nod from your potential business partner as an agreement. It more often means they are listening to you carefully.
This can be a very difficult decision to make. An American professor
of biology or economics can end up teaching very basic English conversation
at a college that offers a teaching position in the Biology or Economics
Department. Of course, you may teach your real subject in an M.A. or
Ph.D. program in more prestigious institutions of higher learning. But
it is often the case that you will spend a lot more time teaching your
students how to pronounce difficult words and how to communicate in
English. Foreigners with a liberal arts background and teaching experience
are particularly welcome by the English and other departments of a college
or university. Those with an M.B.A. and management experience are more
welcome to work in companies and enterprises jointly run by Chinese
and foreigners. No matter what you have already decided to do in China,
be prepared to make an adjustment, because the concept of job assignment
in China is very different from what you have in the U.S., where you
just sign a contract and start doing what is specified in the contract.
After the Chinese side agrees to employ you, you will receive a job offer with general terms of employment. But this is by no means a contract; that will be signed after you arrive in China. After you arrive, you will talk face to face with your Chinese employer, who will show you the actual contract with a detailed job description. You need to read your contract very carefully, especially about your benefits such as pay, holidays, medical insurance, and air tickets.