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Thread: Going toiletless for 3 weeks!

  1. #1

    Default Going toiletless for 3 weeks!

    No, this isn't referring to simulation incontinence, I just thought the title was catchy. I am instead referring to what I will be doing this summer.

    Starting at the begining of July I will be bound for Beijing, I will then take a train into the country side to begin my 3 week adventure of teaching English to school children in a rural village in the country side.

    This is a study abroad program through my university that I am doing it with, in conjunction with a university in California and Beijing. I am SUPER SUPER SUPER excited to do this.

    I just thought I'd let you all know and also ask if anyone else has done study abroad and what their experience was with it?

    PS: the title is not false advertising, since I will be with out a traditional toilet while in the country side.

  2. #2


    So why not bring a 3 week supply of diapers then :P

  3. #3


    Sounds like you'd better start practicing voiding your bladder and bowels without the help of a toilet or diaper to be sure you're able to do it when you finally hit rural China. So stick a sign in your backyard reading "DTA's toilet" and squat there from now on

    Ok, on a more serious note, I think the toilet problem will be your least problem, although you may find that you will need it a lot more often in rural China. I can't really help you with China - never been there, and from what I hear, when people go to rural areas of 2nd or 3rd world countries, they often get problems with the food and water there because our bodies are used to absolutely clean-freak clean food and get upset at the tiniest bit of bacteria in there. So make sur eto take a fair amount of medicine related to diarrhea or food related problems, and of course check on your immunization. But I reckon people have told you that numerous times before.

    I'm not sure how much you've already learned about the Chinese language and culture, but make sure to spend enough time reading books or internet acticles about the Chinese, their customs and culture. It helps to have a basic understanding of how the Chinese think and act to avoid awkward situations. Asian cultures are almost the complete opposite compared to American culture (read Geert Hoofsteede's "On Cultures and Civlizations"), so be sure to learn how to act and get along in such cultures.

    Other than that, make sure you do not only consider this work&study, but also fun and the very valuable chance to get to know other opportunity your parents' generation didn't really have.


  4. #4


    Yes, what Peachy says! Bring Immodium!

    I haven't spent time in rural China but I have spent a lot of time in India and trust me when I say that you might be needing some diapers after all.

  5. #5


    I spent a few weeks in China last year. See: my very informative and interesting blogs on the subject.

    You'll most likely have a much better time than I did for most of the trip (I don't speak Chinese and was expected to, apparently, uh oh). What to expect:

    Walking outside is like walking into a cloud. A really warm sticky polluted cloud. Really it was so gross. There's nothing you can really do about that except to dress lightly. Sweating is a big thing.

    If you can't get used to squat toilets then get used to going outside. Lots of places don't have Western toilets and I just couldn't do it, so I had to more often than not.

    Despite what people tell you and sell you, I didn't get a single mosquito bite, and I went across a good portion of the continent.

    Crap food and drinks are cheap! You can get like 20 ounces of soda for 10 cents there if you go to grocery stores ever. It was great. And good ramen too.

    Beware buses. Seriously, they will kill you. They drive anywhere they want because they're the biggest cars on the road and tend to not care about pedestrians. We almost got run over a few times :|

    If you ever go to one of those places where you can haggle for stuff, always offer insanely low and only change your offer by a tiny amount every time. They'll hate you after the transaction, but it works. I got something I wanted from 700 yuan (~$100) to 60 (~$9). It probably wasn't worth even that, but it was a cool little thing, and it was funny to watch them freak out after I offered
    ok 60

    Hmmm... write stuff down! This is all from memory but I remember it so well because I wrote everything down. Especially for your trip which actually has a purpose.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by Point Blanch View Post
    Hmmm... write stuff down! This is all from memory but I remember it so well because I wrote everything down. Especially for your trip which actually has a purpose.
    Probably the best advice anybody can offer for a trip to a new country and culture. When you first arrive in a country which is culturally contrasting to your own you will probably be overwhelmed by how little the country resembles your own. Writing things down as and when you experience them ensures that when you get back to your own country, and China seems like a distant memory, you still have a very clear and vivid account of your trip, and importantly the thoughts and feelings that were going through your mind at the time. Photographs too are of course great for memories too, but photographs will become far hazier over time than a well-written account will. When in India I made sure I sat down before bed each night and wrote about my day, and having a diary to write in is also great for long train journeys or when it's too hot to be outside during the day. I kept my diary as a kind of scrapbook too - sticking in tickets, postcards, business cards, leaflets and any other little keepsakes. On top of being a great keepsake and reminder of your trip, writing things down will also help you to reflect on and assimilate all of the thoughts, feelings, ideas and experiences of the day, which can really be helpful to combat becoming overwhelmed by everything.

    Good luck, I am sure you will have a fantastic time. This sounds like an amazing opportunity for you and one which will no doubt impact on you as a person. I hope that you do keep a record of everything, and that perhaps when you return you will share a post or blog on your amazing trip with us here. I would certainly love to read about it, as in August I am travelling back to India to volunteer for three months in a rural school, so I will be really interested in the difficulties you face, how you overcome them and ultimately the rewards you get out of this.

  7. #7


    Thank you to everyone who has responded, I was not aware of how many travelers we had here! Of course I will write a lot of stuff down. I am not only going to teach there, but to do a research project as well, so there is no doubt I will have dozens upon dozens of pages and photographs about my accounts, feelings, etc. We are also required to keep a diary, so I will have a very well detailed and docujented experience, haha.

    As for learning the language and culture, I am currently going a couple times a week to Chinese workshops at my university. I am learning basic communications, reading signs L(like Men and Women"), as well as currency, prices, etc. I am also required to attended a Chinese language and culture class a month before the trip, so I will have a decent holding on the culture and language before I depart.

    I honestly can not wait to go there. I look at this not so much as a "work study" thing, but more of an adventure that very few people are actually able to do in their lives. I look forward to the long flight there and the 30-70 hour train ride I will have to take to get to my destination. I look forward to living amongst the people and being able to interact with them. Ahhh I can't wait

    Also, back to peachy's mention about how "My parents gen. didn't have this opportunity", I already have my uncle promising me a wonderful feast when I come back to to regal him about my tales, since when he was my age, going to China was absolutely out of the question (was 19 in the late 50's). So, needless to say, everyone is really excited for me and cannot wait for me to come back and share stories.

    Oh and don't worry about getting immunized, meds, etc. I have been told by my friends that have done this before all about what to get, bring, etc. as well as by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of what I need.

    I am egar to shop there as well. I personally am going to get myself a suit made in Beijing on the way home, so...if anyone knows of a good cheap taylor in Beijing, please refer them to me
    Last edited by diaperedteenager; 14-Apr-2011 at 12:06. Reason: Details

  8. #8


    Only one hour out from beijing, on the way to an obscure part of the great wall, my partner had to stop the cab to go to the toilet. Unfortunately it wasnt the sort of visit you could just hide behind a tree.
    Well we stopped in a small village to use the communal facilities. Ok things weren't that hygienic, but that is expected in rural China. But what he wasn't expecting was for all the young boys in the town following him in to watch! I guess they were curious to see if a westerner was any different from the Chinese.
    I had to laugh. He is pee shy at the best of times so that was pure torture. And he was desperate, so there was no putting it off.

    Hmmm..looking back at what I've written - looks a bit creepy, but its a true story that demonstrates the different attitudes to privacy you will encounter in rural China.

  9. #9


    I'm going to be a freshman in college next school-year, and I got accepted into a program that allows me to study abroad my first semester along with a group of other freshmen. I'll be studying in Thessaloniki, Greece. I'm excited for it because I absolutely love foreign countries, and Greece has always been particularly interesting to me. But yeah, no previous study abroad experiences, obviously, as I'm not yet in college. :P

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