I just returned from a party hosted by CultureXChina at Club de Eagle near the Galaxy Hotel.
There I met nice guy like Jack, Jason, and Alex. They came from France and Hong Kong. Also I met a lot of local university students there.
Nice idea to bring the two poles together
It is a very nice idea to bring the local people and the foreigners together. The culture exchange, as implied by the name of the party organizer, is exactly the most exciting thing in the big city of Shanghai. It is fun and benifitial for both the local people and foreigners to talk.
Barriers to go out of the country
There are two barriers for people in China to travel to the rest of the world.
The first one is the passport. Unlike people in Europe and U.S., passport and visa are the main barrier for people to go out to see the world. It is become much easier now to get a passport. Can you imagine that for the first 40 years of the People’s Republic of China, seldom can anybody go out of the door of the country and see other places? Well. It is for the historical reasons. In the recent years (1980-2000), more and more people goes to U.S., but passport is not easy to get. Until recently (within one year) did the passport open for citizens. Any one can get a passport with a Citizen ID card within a week. This has been a big step.
The other barrier is the expense. A round trip from Shanghai to San Fransisco typically costs 1000 USD. That is not big money for U.S. people, but when you consider the average income of people in China, it becomes a problem. As one of the richest city in China (which is currently the 11th expensive city to live in the world), Shanghai’s average monthly income is around 1400 RMB – less than 200 USD. Although there are many people enjoy every high salary (200,000 – 5,000,000 RMB), the majority of the city are still not rich. For people in inner part of the mainland, the income are less. In my hometown of Luoyang, 500 RMB (est. 60 USD) per month is considered very good job already.
So you see the big gap between 1000 USD air ticket and the 60-200 USD monthly income, not to mention the hotels and other expenses.
Demand for English skills
Although most of collage students never been to any country outside China, they have huge demand for English. English skill is critical for them to find a good job after gradutation (Refer to my previous article on Is English Skill That Important?)
Beside that, the contact with foreigners gives them the chance to explorer the world outside the country. That is the reason why so many people joined the party organized by CultureXChina.com.
For foreigners to come to the mysterious country, China, besides business trip, what else can you expect to do? Besides the guided tour to the city, there is seldom a chance to make local friends, to learn some Chinese, and to under the culture of the city/country.
So joining a party with lots of local people is a good choice. In the party, there are so many local students. Most importantly, they are willing to talk with you and share their experience. Most of them can speak English and some of them are fluence in English. Isn’t it nice?
I talked with the organizer of the party and he said there will be this kind of party almost every week. Everytime, there are about 100 to 300 people every time. Pretty nice, isn’t it? They can be found CultureXChina.com.