Sam Bence

Entries by Sam Bence

A Graduate in China - Terracotta Tourists Should See Beyond the Clichés

(0) Comments | Posted 15 September 2012 | (13:44)

I had reservations about the three-week tour I planned to end my 10 months of working life in China. In many senses I was tired of the country and there would inevitably be problems with the language and constant hassle. But what followed was a fantastic insight into a stunning...

Read Post

A Graduate in China - End of Term Exams Miss the Point

(0) Comments | Posted 14 August 2012 | (00:00)

Education systems vary the world over and it's easy to think that everybody does it better than we do. The grass somehow looks greener in a foreign classroom. In China, as the end of term approaches, the priorities skew towards classes getting the highest possible marks. Passing the exam is...

Read Post

A Graduate in China - Xenophobia Exposes Flaws in an Unjust Society

(10) Comments | Posted 5 July 2012 | (00:00)

What a visitor sees in a foreign country is not necessarily representative of reality. In my last blog post I took a tolerant line on racism in China pointing out that visitors shouldn't confuse Oriental curiosity with prejudice.

Days after my words hit The HuffPost UK a story broke suggesting...

Read Post

A Graduate in China - Confusing Prejudice with Curiosity

(1) Comments | Posted 18 June 2012 | (00:00)

Living in China prompts a reassessment of national identity. As a 'wài guó rén' 外国人, a foreigner, but literally 'outside person', I am one of many English speakers. But there are also a lot of Russians, Germans, Nigerians and Ghanaians. Most of the English speakers are here to teach; the...

Read Post

A Graduate in China - Dead Cats Snookered by Chinese Prejudice. Are You Afraid of China?

(0) Comments | Posted 10 April 2012 | (12:09)

First impressions can prejudice long-term opinions, particularly where China is concerned. My favourite examples of this recently were Twitter posts from professional snooker player Mark Allen. He said: 'People are ignorant. Place stinks. Arenas rubbish, tables poor, food is horrendous. Other than that I love China'; 'Dead cat found this...

Read Post

A Graduate in China - The Quest For Perfection and the Chinese Economy

(0) Comments | Posted 16 January 2012 | (23:00)

As the end of the Chinese semester approached there was an emphasis on preparing for the end of term performance. Emphasis is an under-exaggeration, a better phrase would be a concerted military effort to drill four to five-year-olds.

In Britain we have the nativity play; in China, where Christmas...

Read Post

A Graduate in China - Candy Stumped for Dental Care

(0) Comments | Posted 1 December 2011 | (23:00)

Two of the first things I noticed when I arrived in China just over a month ago were the amusing English names Chinese children choose for themselves and how bad their teeth are.

I remember from school and university that the Chinese students I came across had traditional, even...

Read Post

A Graduate in China - Where I Arrive in Guangzhou to Start Teaching English

(8) Comments | Posted 11 November 2011 | (23:00)

Ni hao from Guangzhou! Why am I here, one of 13 million in China's third largest city? And what am I doing, a middle-class history graduate in the heart of this humid, sub-tropical centre of Oriental industry?

It was Easter when I decided not to take up my university...

Read Post