One of the biggest reasons why we love travelling is indeed the opportunity it gives us to experience other cultures, first-hand. There’s a huge difference between watching it on TV, reading about it or listening to someone else tell you about the way of life of other people. China makes for a very interesting destination by way of a refreshing cultural experience you may want to have, quite simply because there are just so many layers to the Chinese cultural experience.
So, with an open mind, when you finally decide to head to China, look past the predisposition you probably have pertaining to the ‘Chinese cultural experience,’ for it simply cannot be viewed as just a singular experience. It’s more like a basket of many diverse cultural experiences which come together to make for a very unique overall experience.
Aspects of Life
Your approach to experiencing the true Chinese cultural experience should be driven by six fundamentals of life, namely:
- Ethnic Groups
- Geographic Location
- Money-Making Mechanisms
- Customs and Beliefs
- Hopes for the Future
Unlike some of the other Asian countries, like Korea and Japan specifically, China isn’t as homogenous as you may have been led to believe. It could never be homogenous in any case considering just how big the country’s population is and the country itself. There are so many different ethnic groups in China, with some of the country’s minority groups not all that well known to outsiders, like the Yao, Manchu and Tatar people, amongst many, many others.
Geo location perhaps goes hand-in-hand with China’s diversity of ethnic groups, particularly when one considers just how big China is — this not taking into consideration some of the territories not forming part of the mainland.
As with every society, economics is what ultimately drives anything which goes on under the sun really. China is no different and there are various facets to the country’s economic activities just waiting to be explored.
This refers to how people entertain themselves as well as what those working in what we could call the showbiz industry do to entertain others. Naturally, entertainment comes in many different forms.
Customs and Beliefs
Whether they’re beliefs and customs shaped by politics, economics or philosophy, over a billion people naturally have different customs and beliefs which you can have a field day exploring.
Hopes for the Future
This perhaps goes hand-in-hand with every other aspect of Chinese culture discussed in that one’s hopes for the future largely shape what they occupy themselves with on a daily bases, while their circumstances and environments have a bearing on how likely they are to realise the hopes they have for the future.
Now, with all of these aspects of life covered, this should serve as a solid template to use if you want to get the true Chinese cultural experience. It’s a matter of dropping in on a geographic location or choosing an ethnic group (sometimes this can be one in the same thing) and then endeavouring to experience everyday life with your chosen ethnic group or group of people living in a certain location, paying special attention to all of these aspects of life discussed. Along the way, you will get a first-hand experience of the different Chinese cultures by taking part, which means you’ll perhaps learn how certain foods are produced and prepared, what people do to earn their money (whether through crafts or formalised economic activity), you’ll learn about cultural beliefs and customs, perhaps taking part as well and you’ll just go home having had a proper cultural experience of the many different flavours Chinese culture has.
I’m a 31-year-old freelance writer from Toronto, Canada. I enjoy writing about sports, business and travel. My work has been featured on Yahoo.ca, the Huffington Post, Business.com, ESPN Radio and more.I love to feed the needs of readers everywhere.