Life and Community – Living in China

Info Sessions Forthcoming

We are thrilled to welcome you to Duke Kunshan University! International Students Services (ISS) facilitates intercultural and international education and aims to foster a global campus community through comprehensive visa advisement, compliance and health and safety guidance, programming, and advocacy at all levels for our international student community.

We are excited to share that ISS has prepared a unique experience for you that includes the Pre-Orientation Info Session series and virtual interactive programs to prepare your exciting college journey to DKU, Kunshan and China! More updates will be posted leading up to your arrival at DKU; we look forward to helping you prepare for the adventure of a lifetime!

Eating and Drinking in China

Eating Practice in China

  • Sharing food together!
    In China eating is more of a communal activity. Food is generally ordered dish-by-dish in China to be shared by all present at the table. Each diner has their own small rice bowl, into which food from the plates and bowls in the center of the table is placed using chopsticks, or perhaps serving spoons.
  • If you empty your bowl… you’ll keep getting food!
    If they see your bowl is empty, your Chinese host may place food in your bowl, without even asking! The host may often put different items of the meal in the guest’s bowl as a sign of hospitality.
  • Chopsticks!
    People in China usually use their own chopsticks to eat. While spoons, knives, and forks are increasingly available, you do not need to worry about being able to use chopsticks. Enjoying the food is key and use of chopsticks are not a necessity! However, learning the proper use of chopsticks can impress many people!
  • Eating Etiquettes!
    Eating noisily and with one’s mouth open may be considered rude in the West. However, slurping, smacking the lips and leaving the mouth open when eating can be viewed as a demonstration of enjoyment of the food and a friendly atmosphere.
  • Dessert — Not Common in Chinese Eating
    Having sweet desserts is not a general custom. However, sweet things can be found hidden among everything else on a Chinese menu. Fruit salads [水果沙拉shuiguo shala] and caramel covered apple (or other fruit) [拔丝苹果 basi pingguo] are popular examples of Chinese sweet dishes.

Drinking in China

  • Refrigerated soft drinks are widely available.
  • Beware of drinking tap water, as most tap water in China should be at least boiled before drinking. Tap water at DKU however is safe to drink, and filtered water dispensers are widely available in all residence halls, academic buildings, and dining areas.

Lucky Colors in China

Colors are important to Chinese culture as they are endowed with lucky meanings. The three main lucky colors considered lucky in people’s daily lives as well as on special occasions are red, yellow, and green.

The Top Three Lucky Colors in China

(I) Red — Happiness, Success and Good Fortune

Red is the most popular color in China. It represents fire. It is also the national color representing good luck, happiness, beauty, vitality, success, and good fortune.

Red is widely used during festivals and important events. Double rows of red “Xi” (happiness) letters are pasted on gates and doors of businesses and residences. People wear red during weddings, festivals, and other celebratory events. Red envelopes filled with money and given as gifts during the Chinese New Year!

(II) Yellow — Royalty and Power of the Throne

Yellow symbolizes royalty and is reserved for the emperor. The first Emperor of China was known as the Yellow Emperor. China was often referred to as ‘Yellow Earth’, and its mother river is the Yellow River. This is the most important color from an ancient perspective.

During the Song Dynasty (960-1279), yellow glazed tiles were used to build imperial palaces. During Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1636-1911) Dynasties, emperors were dressed in yellow imperial robes. They rode in “yellow palace” carriages and traveled on “yellow paths”. Official flags were yellow.

Official seals were packaged in yellow fabric. Overlooking the Forbidden City from Beijing Jing Mountain, one can see a sea of yellow glazed tile roofs. Gilded copper urns and animals adorn many palaces.

In Chinese Buddhism, yellow is associated with freedom from material needs and monks wear yellow robes.

(III) Green — Money and wealth

Green is the color of wealth, fertility, regeneration, hope, harmony and growth. Green also represents pure and clean.

Buildings, banks, and restaurants are often painted in green. Packaging for milk or produce is often in green to indicate that the product is contamination free.

What Is the Chinese Zodiac?

The Chinese Zodiac or “shengxiao” (born resembling), is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal and its attributes. The order for the 12 horoscope animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

Each zodiac animal’s year comes every 12 years. 2021 for instance is the year of the Ox, 2022- Tiger, 2023- Rabbit, and so on!

China's Heritage

China’s national heritage is rich and filled with natural wonders and historic sites, as well as festivals and ethnic songs included.

There are 53 noteworthy Chinese sites as inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List: 36 Cultural Heritage, 13 Natural Heritage, and 4 Cultural and Natural Heritage.

China's Performing Arts

  • Chinese Kungfu
  • Chinese Folk Dance
  • Chinese Traditional Music
  • Chinese Acrobatics
  • Beijing Opera
  • Chinese Shadow Plays
  • Chinese Puppet Plays
  • Chinese Musical Instruments

Arts and Crafts

  • Chinese Silk
  • Chinese Jade Articles Ancient
  • Chinese Furniture
  • Chinese Knots
  • Chinese Embroidery
  • Chinese Lanterns
  • Chinese Kites
  • Chinese Paper Cutting
  • Chinese Paper Umbrellas
  • Ancient Porcelain
  • Chinese Calligraphy
  • Chinese Painting
  • Chinese Cloisonné
  • Four Treasures of the Study
  • Chinese Seals

China's Festivals

China has several traditional festivals that are celebrated all over the country and at DKU too! The most important is Chinese New Year, then Mid-Autumn Festival. There are also many ethnic festivals among China’s 55 ethnic minorities! From Tibet to Manchuria to China’s tropical south, different tribes celebrate their new year, harvest, and other things, in various ways.

  • Chinese Spring Festival
  • Mid-Autumn Festival
  • Dragon Boat Festival
  • Sisters’ Meal Festival
  • Tibetan New Year
  • Shoton Festival