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There’s really only one reason why I’m writing this right now. That reason is procrastination. Exams this week? Normal behaviour: Do anything but study. Standard.

Speaking of normality, there are a lot of normal universities in China. This is no joke, I can vouch for it, I attend one. The name of my university is, in fact, Beijing Normal University. I’m yet to come across any that proclaim to be abnormal.

北京师范大学 beijing shifan daxue

The shifan is translated as normal, but actually means teacher training. Basically, it means that the university specialises in the training of teachers. These are seen all over China; there is East China Normal University, Shanghai Normal University, North East Normal University… and other such universities with equally original names.

The teacher for my newspaper reading class was telling us about teachers and students training to be teachers in China. The majority of teachers in China are all employed by the government and there is a lot of government support for students training to be teachers, the result being that you are committing yourself to only becoming a teacher after graduation. One element of this support includes having your food paid for. Students training to become teachers apparently get free food at university. (Chinese joke: the university is sometimes called 北京吃饭大学 beijing chifan daxue where chifan means eating.) We asked if it was possible to change your career at all after, but the answer was no. (It’s very hard to get out, if it happens at all, it would only be after at least 5 years of teaching).

He also seriously joked about the fact that no land is privately owned either, and people are always scared that the government might just come and kick them out, deciding they want to use the land for another purpose, because although you might own the house you live in, you cannot own the land your house is on. There’s no protection against this. In the past, if the government did decide they want the land where you live, they might help you on your way to find a new house by giving some money, but these days, the compensation you’d get is very little and is no where near enough to be able to find a house in the city, near to where you work etc.

Other normal things in China

More quite common behaviour in China is for couples (or whole families) to wear matching clothes.
This doesn’t require much explanation, see for yourself.


Itsa Mario! x2


If you’re going for public display of affection by wearing the same clothes, why not do it properly?


couple jumpers

And my favourite….


Spongebob Squarepants Family!

Taking orders now.


About Ibtehaal

I graduated with a degree in Chinese and Economics, which involved spending a year studying Chinese in Beijing. This turned out to be the hardest but most rewarding thing I think I have ever done. I've now returned to China for another year, to study in Shanghai and figure out my next steps.

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