Not only does China have a fantastic reputation for employing many Simon Fraser University co-op students each year; this global giant has a culture steeped in superstition and lore. The colour red is a sign of wealth and success, as well as gold and yellow. Green, unless used with jade, may yield a negative reaction. Avoid black and white, which are associated with funerals. Number 8 is lucky, and 4 is not.
Foreigners are generally quite welcome in China. A few words to the wise, however: When invited to someone’s house bring a gift such as fresh flowers or fruit – and preferably eight of them. More expensive means a greater show of respect. The gift may be placed in a place of prominence and admired all evening; however, it will not be opened until you have left.
It is customary to respect others at the table, including the aged, teachers and guests while taking good care of children.Chinese people tend to stress familial respect. The practice of presenting the best or fine food first to the senior members of the family has been observed for countless generations. In ancient times the common people led a needy life but they still tried their best to support the elder mother or father who took it for granted.Although the hosts in China are all friendly and hospitable, you should also show them respect. Before starting to eat dinner, the host may offer some words of greeting. Guests should not start to eat until the host says, 'Please enjoy yourself' or something like that, otherwise it suggests disrespect.When hosts place dishes on the table, they will arrange the main courses at the center with the supporting dishes evenly placed around them. When the main dishes are prepared in a decorative form either by cut or other means they will be placed facing the major guests and elder people at the table. This also embodies virtue.
China is the hometown of chopsticks. The culture of chopsticks has a long history in China. The invention of chopsticks reflects the wisdom of Chinese ancient people. A pair of chopsticks, though they look simple, can nip, pick, rip and stir food. Nowadays, chopsticks are considered to be lucky gifts for marriage and other important ceremonies.
Quotes from Students who Have Worked in China
“Some of the projects I led included the instruction and development and of the Kid's English Training program, scheduling for the Automotive Service Management program, and foreign employee hiring including new Co-op students and ESL Instructors.”
- Carlie Thauvette - Weifang China
“I felt very important because the tasks that I was doing were essential to the company. I was impressed with CNN and felt that it gave a me a lot of confidence by being able to do things that I never thought I would be able to do before.”
- Kathy Lo - CNN Hong Kong
“Staying in China had enabled me to learn basic Chinese, which I think is becoming more and more important as the Chinese economy grows quickly in recent years. It's truly been an awesome experience working in China. I'd made a lot of good friends, understood more of the culture and had the chances to visit famous tourism places and cities in China like Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain), the Great Wall, Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Shang Hai and Xiamen, and have the opportunity to watch their many interesting celebrations to celebrate some important events.”
- Wenny Tjandraputra - Putian University, China
“My International Co-op term offered me the experience of working in a different culture. At the same time I have also experience what it is like to work for a big corporation. Aside from work, I took advantage of my time in Asia to reconnect with my Chinese heritage. I’ve attended many festive events and even paddled for the HSBC Dragon Boat team. I’ve traveled to Taiwan and China. Many of the things that I’ve seen on my journeys broadened my perspective of the world.”
- John Ho - HSBC Hong Kong
Beyond the Blog
Ask your burning questions about working in China in the oh-so-helpful Discussion Forum
Meet Carlie Thauvette, Wenny Tjandraputra, and Aron Aytona who all went to China for their past work terms!
Check out the International Profiles to see all the other places our students have visited.