Video Podcast – One Day In China

Short Overview

1. What is our video podcast about?

2. What was our motivation and intention?

3. Transcription of our video podcast

4. Reflection

5. Internet Sources


1. What is our video podcast about?


In our podcast there is one main character, Sandra Müller. She has just gone to Shanghai to study abroad. Our podcast shows one day of Sandra’s new life in China.

The day starts with getting up at 6 o´clock and ends with going to bed after having had a long and exciting day. Sandra’s roommate is Megan. She is from England and studies in Shanghai as well. Another important role is the moderator, who guides through Sandra’s day and gives important explanations to certain situations. In this way, many facts and information about China and its culture are explained for the viewers.

During Sandra’s day, many funny but also strange situations are happening. Some of these situations are turning out to become bad incidents due to her inappropriate behavior. Therefore, we show first in the “wrong” way to do it and afterwards we show the “better” one. This gives the viewer the opportunity to rethink if something went “badly” or “wrong” within a situation and therefore it is supposed to be more entertaining and informative.


2. What was our motivation and intention?


We wanted to illustrate some main cultural differences between the Chinese and Germans to be able to get a feeling for the interaction with the Chinese.

We have chosen a “normal” day of a “normal” student because this is what we think to expect in China. Taking a closer look at such daily life situations might help us during our stay. For us it is really important to try to understand the Chinese culture step by step and therefore avoid misunderstanding during our stay.

Not only we can learn from this podcast, but also the other ASBE students. Since many of the given information is relevant for them as well, they will also benefit from the podcast and hopefully some of the mistakes in the video can be avoided! Even if some of the others are not going to China, they might travel there for holidays. In addition, some of the cultural aspects we are talking about are probably similar to the Japanese and Korean culture.

We also wanted to give an insight what possible future problems could occur and therefore encourage the viewers to tackle with the Chinese culture prior to the departure in September. A good preparation is half of the pie in the kitchen!

As sources we basically used the book that Sandra Vogel read (check it out on our ASBE blog), information we gained during talks with Chinese as well as some Internet sources (listed at the end). We do not want to build up stereotypes, but we used some of them to underline the cultural differences for the audience.


3. Transcription of our video podcast


Moderator: Huānyíng guānglín and welcome to the today’s episode of Asian Studies in Business and Economics. Today we will have a short look into the daily life of a German exchange student in China. We will reveal some serious fauxpas and see how to avoid them. So, to learn about cultural differences, let’s have a short look at Sandra’s new life in China.


Early in the morning when Sandra got up she meets Megan in the kitchen of their flat. They talk about different topics, for example Chinese breakfast.


Megan: Good morning


Sandra: Hi Megan! How are you?


Megan: I’m tired and you?


Sandra: Same here, you know, I have to get up six o’clock every day and back home in Germany I never left a house like before 8 am or 9 am.


Megan: I understand you so good! I hate getting up so early!


Sandra: You know what, we should get some nice Chinese breakfast then!


Megan: Yes, what do we have?


Sandra: Rice?!


Megan: Oh no! Please.


Sandra: Okay. Noodles?


Megan: No noodles, please. Do we have something else?


Sandra: Yes! We have cereal!


Meagan: That’s good! I can’t understand why Chinese eat warm food three times a day!


Sandra: Yea, me neither. Can you give me the spoons, please?


Megan: Yes, of course. Spoons? Maybe chopsticks?


Sandra: No chopsticks!


Megan: Okay! Do we have some coffee?


Sandra: Ehm.. No. Only the good Chinese tea.


Megan: Oh! I need a strong coffee to leave the house.


Sandra: I’m sorry.


Megan: Okay.


Sandra: Thank you.


Moderator: As Sandra has just said. Breakfast in China usually means a warm meal such as rice or noodle soup or dumplings also called Jiaozi, whereas tea and coffee is normally not served.


Sandra: Megan, harry up, we need to go!


Megan: Yea, I am ready! We can go!


The girls need to go to the university. At the bus station they are waiting for their bus when a Chinese girl passes by…


Sandra: Megan! Did you see this girl?


Megan: Yea?


Sandra: She is wearing an umbrella, even the sun is shining!


Megan: Yes, I actually know why she does this. She wants to protect her skin from the sun. Chinese people in general prefer having white skin. It’s the complete opposite of us.


Sandra: Yea, that’s true, because I love being tanned.


Megan: Me too. Hey! Our bus!


Sandra: Oh, yes! You’re right.


The girls arrived at the university when Sandra detects another “strange” behavior of Chinese…


Sandra: Oh my goodness! That was such a long and awful journey!


Megan: You’re right.


Sandra: I mean, how can they do this, going every day through the rush hour, so many people, it’s so crowded!


Megan: It is always rush hour here in Shanghai. You better get used to it.


Sandra: Yea. Ihh, what did he just do? He spit on the floor?


Megan: It’s very common here in China


Sandra: Well, that’s really disgusting!


Megan: I share your opinion, it is disgusting! Oh, I have to go to my class, see you later


Sandra: Yes, me too!


Megan: Bye bye!


Sandra: Bye.


Moderator: As Megan correctly explained white skin is regarded as a symbol of beauty and status. Therefore, people use umbrellas and even so called swimming masks while swimming to protect their facial skin from the sun. To clean one’s throat, people just spit on the street. And you will only see these signs on certain areas where spitting is not allowed.


Sandra is in class now. Today she is very quiet. After the class her teacher wants to talk to her if she is okay.


Laoshi (Professor): Nimen hao!


Students: Ni hao!


Laoshi: Today we will talk about the Chinese economic situation. The topic is…. (Writing on the board) So, what do you know about the development in China?


Student: The Chinese economy grows by about 9-12%.


Laoshi: Good! Anything else?


Students: Bye bye laoshi!


Laoshi: Bye bye!


Student: Are you coming to the canteen with us?


Laoshi: Yes, I will come in 10 minutes. I just need to talk to Sandra. Send me a message.


Laoshi: Ni hoa ma, Sandra?


Sandra: Hen hao.


Laoshi: You were so quite. Do you have any problems?


Sandra: No, I’m fine. I have no problems.



Laoshi: Don’t worry, you can tell me anything.


Sandra: No! The class is fine, I mean it’s my business, so don’t worry about it!


Laoshi: You can just talk to me. You can join us for lunch if you want!


Sandra: I don’t wanna talk about it and I don’t want to go to the canteen with you! Zaijian!


Moderator: The Chinese study system is characterized by Confucianism. This is the reason why studying is mainly based on learning by heart and copying. Being critical means challenging the teacher and is not desired. There is often a close relationship between students and teachers. Often professors are regarded as a close relative such as one’s father or even mother. Communication between them is sometimes even done by messengers such as WeChat, which is similar to the WhatsApp messanger we know. Let’s see how this knowledge could change the situation, Sandra just passed through.


Same situation again but Sandra behaves differently now…


Laoshi: Ni hoa ma? Sandra, are you okay? You were very quiet today.


Sandra: Yes, I am fine.


Laoshi: Are you sure? Do you have any problems?


Sadra: Well, I am sorry for not having been very active in class today. I didn’t sleep well, I had this dream about home and now I feel a little homesick.


Laoshi: Sandra, oh I understand. It must be hard for you being away from Germany, your friends and family. But I am sure you will find lots of new friends here. Should we go for lunch with the others?


Sandra: Thank you, I hope you are right! That’s a great idea!


Back home at the flat Sandra dresses up for a job interview. She chats with Megan before she leaves.


Megan: Wow! You look great! Do you have a date or something?


Sandra: Hahaha no, I have a job interview for an internship with the PaderCompany.


Megan: That sounds cool! Good luck! But don’t forget to buy the birthday present for Yuanyou! We will meet him at 5 at the Chinese restaurant. I sent her a text message yesterday telling her that we both were coming!


Sandra: Yes, I know. I will go to the market later! See you there!


Sandra arrives the PaderCompany where she meets Mister Zai, the employee who will interview her.


Sandra: Ni hao!


Boss: Ni hao! You are very welcome here at the PaderCompany. My name is Zai.


Sandra: My name is Sandra Müller. Thank you!


Boss: So can you tell me a little bit about your strengths and weaknesses?


Sandra: Yes, sure! Being honest, I do not really have any weaknesses. I am a very good student, I am hardworking, I speak three languages fluently and in my spare time I enjoy participating in sports tournaments. You see, I am totally ambitious!


Boss: Ah okay! Then we can move on the next question: Why have you ‘chose’ this company?


Sandra: Did you mean why I have ‘chosen’ this company for an internship?!


Boss: Yes, that’s what I meant.


Moderator: What was wrong? The first mistake that happened is that Sandra just took the business card with only one hand and did not pay attention to it. What’s more? Chinese do not contradict anyone who is in a higher position. So if not asked for, don’t give your opinion, since this would make them “lose their faces”; rather be modest. Therefore, let’s have a look, what the story would be if Sandra had known about this.


Same situation again but Sandra behaves differently now…


Sandra: Ni hao!


Boss: Ni hao! Welcome here at the PaderCompany. My name is Zai.


Sandra: My name is Sandra Müller: Thank you!


Boss: Have a seat, please.


Sandra: Thank you very much for the invitation! I am very happy to be given the opportunity to present myself here today.


Boss: We are also happy having you here today! So, can you tell me a little bit about your strengths and weaknesses?


Sandra: Yes, sure, being honest, I do have some weaknesses.,,


Boss: Ah okay! We can move on to the next question: Why have you ‘chose’ this company?


Sandra: I chose this company because it has a great reputation.


Boss: Yes, that what I wanted to hear.


Sandra: Hi Megan, my job interview went well, I have a good feeling! Now I am going to the market to buy Yuanyou´s present.


Sandra arrives at the Chinese Market where she wants to buy some things for herself as well as a gift for Yuanyou´s birthday.


Sandra: Ni hao!


Vendor: Ah! Ni hao, ni hao, ni hao! Look, look! Bags, look!


Sandra: So, I need three things, a purse, a necklace and I also need it´s very important a gift/present for a friend. It´s her birthday. So can you show me something?


Vendor: Ah, wait!


Sandra: No! This is ugly! Sorry!


Vendor: Maybe this one.


Sandra: Oh, yeah I like this one. Oh it´s Paris Hilton. Is it original?


Vendor: Sure, sure, sure!


Sandra: Oh yeah, okay and do you have a necklace… And now I need the present please, do you have like a little something for my friend, she´s a girl?


Vendor: Maybe perfume?!


Sandra: Oh perfume, yeah good idea! Oh Beyoncé, yeah I like it. Okay, so how much are these 3 things together?


Vendor: 2000 Yuan!


Sandra: Okay, can you hold this for a second?… No!


Moderator: As we have shown before, copying means learning and showing respect, which is deeply based on Confucianism. This is particularly the reason why china is the world’s largest producer of copied goods. Bargaining is always desired. If you impress to buy something and make an offer you should stick to your offer or at least have an excuse why you do not buy the good.


Same situation again but Sandra behaves differently now…


Sandra: Ni hao!


Vendor: Ah! Ni hao, ni hao, ni hao! Look, look! Look at this beautiful purse!


Sandra: Hen hao! So, I am looking for three things, a new handbag, a necklace and a present for my pengyou, for my friend.


Vendor: Ah pengyou, wait!


Sandra: Oh and I see it´s Paris Hilton. Is it original? Wow, that´s cool!


Sandra: Okay and now I need the present for my friend, my pengyou. She is a girl, Yuanyou. Do you have like a little something?


Vendor: Maybe perfume?!


Sandra: Oh perfume, yeah good idea! Can I try? Mhhm, hen hao! Okay, so these 3 things together, how much?


Vendor: 2000.


Sandra: 2000?! That´s a little bit too much! Maybe I give you 500?


Vendor: Ahh, 700!


Sandra: Mmh, 600 and then it´s okay for me.


Vendor: Okay!


Sandra and Megan meet their Chinese friend Yuanyou at a restaurant where she celebrated her birthday.


Yuanyou: Hi!


Megan: Happy birthday!


Yuanyou: I am so glad you could make it today!


Sandra: Happy birthday!


Yuanyou: Thank you!


Sandra: Here is your present.


Megan: We hope you like it!


Yuanyou: Thank you, it´s really nice of you.


S+M: Open it, open it!


Yuanyou: Okay. Oh, that’s really beautiful. Thank you!


Sandra: You are welcome!


Moderator: Many things that need to be known. China has a distinct culture of presenting gifts. It is common to bring a present when being invited. What needs to be considered is that gifts need to be received and given with both hands, as we have already seen with business cards, gifts are always wrapped. Mostly in red paper since red is the color of luck whereas white means death. But in order to avoid showing disappointment or to „lose one’s face“ gifts are never unwrapped in attendance of the giver.


Same situation but Sandra and Megan behave differently now…


Yuanyou: Hi!


Megan: Happy birthday!


Yuanyou: I am so glad you could come today!


Sandra: Happy birthday Yuanyou!


Yuanyou: Thank you it´s really nice!


Sandra: There you go.


Yuanyou: Oh, it´s not necessary, it´s so nice of you! Thank you! Take a seat!


Sandra: Hey, you know what? We should sing a happy birthday song for Yuanyou!


Megan: Yeah, but in Chinese!


Sandra: OMG, in Chinese?! Okay, I will try my best!


Everyone sings…


Yuanyou: You should try this, it´s my favorite food.


Sandra: Really? What is it?


Yuanyou: It´s meat cooked with soya sauce and sugar! It´s very delicious!


Sandra: Thank you, Yuanyou! … I really don´t want to eat this! It looks really disgusting.


Megan: I know, I wouldn´t eat it, too.


Sandra: I just eat some rice.


Moderator: Putting used tissues back in one’s pocket is seen as disgusting. Used tissues should be thrown into the next trash can.


Same situation but Sandra behaves differently now…


Yuanyou: Sandra, you have to try this, it´s very delicious!


Sandra: Okay, what is it?


Yuanyou: It´s our special dish.


Sandra: Okay! Thank you!


Megan: How is it?


Sandra: It´s okay, thank you! Mmh, I need more of it!


Megan: Bless you!


Yuanyou: So, do you like karaoke?


Sandra: Oh karaoke yes, like tonight we will go to karaoke tonight. We should go together to karaoke tonight!


Yuanyou: This is a cool thing, yes!


Sandra: Let´s do this and party!


At the karaoke bar Sandra and Megan perform a famous song. Their Chinese friends are already tired.


S+M: Singing…


Sandra: OMG, I love singing karaoke so much!


Megan: Me, too! It´s so much fun!


Sandra: Okay, hey, shall we take a selfie?


Megan: Yes, of course! Here is the phone. Cheeeese.


Back at the flat Sandra and Megan are a little disappointed that they are already at home. Sandra wants to upload the party pictures on Facebook but it´s not working…


Sandra: What? Only 10 o´clock, I can´t believe this!


Megan: Mmh, that’s Friday night in China…


Sandra: Oh man, but you know what, I will upload the picture now of our night on Facebook.


Megan: Laughs, Facebook?! You can try it!


Sandra: You are right, it´s not working!


Megan: Of course it´s not working, you silly nut! Facebook, twitter and co. are not allowed here in China by the government.


Sandra: What?! I didn´t know that!


Moderator: Mostly Chinese are in bed before 12 am at the latest. Therefore, parties in China start pretty early and karaoke bars are most popular. As you might know, in China some social communities or services such as Twitter, Facebook, Google are censored or completely forbidden.

Sandra lies in bed, after studying Chinese and her adventurous day she finally falls asleep. Hopefully this night she will have sweeter dreams…


Moderator: Well, this is all we learned from Sandra today. I hope you enjoyed this report and I hope to see you next time! Zaijian!


4. Reflection


We really enjoyed making this video. During our shooting at the restaurant we had the greatest time because the atmosphere was amazing, we had a lot of good food and our Chinese actress was really funny.

Unfortunately, we filmed more than we actually could show and therefore some of the situations and corresponding information/explanations were shortened or even completely cut out. Such a shame!

The cooperation with the Chinese students went very well. For us it was a good opportunity to speak Chinese again and to develop our intercultural competences. It was a fantastic final rehearsal before our trip. Finally, we spent three days for filming and two days for the editing. A lot of work but it was worth it!


5. Internet Sources


(All sources retrieved June 6th, 2014)



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  37. scheibnerl says:

    Vielen Dank für euren Videopodcast und den detaillierten Einblick in Alltagssituationen in China. Bei vielen der von euch vorgestellten Situationen habe ich zuerst gar nicht erwartet, dass Sandra in Fettnäpfchen treten könnte. Deshalb finde ich eure Herangehensweise sehr gelungen, erst eine Fettnäpfchen-Situation vorzustellen und darauf folgend die gleiche Situation kulturkonform darzustellen.

    Meiner Meinung nach sind viele Aspekte, welche ihr in eurem Podcast vorgestellt habt, nichts vollkommen Unbekanntes. Da wir uns alle schon viel mit den asiatischen Kulturen beschäftigt haben ist uns geläufig, dass soziale Medien teilweise gesperrt werden, Sonnenschirme zum Schutz der hellen Haut verwendet werden, oder Kleidung und Accessoires nachgeahmt werden. Dennoch haben sich wahrscheinlich die wenigsten damit auseinandergesetzt, was diese Kulturbesonderheiten für einen Auslandsaufenthalt bedeuten.

    Ich denke, dass euer Podcast allen Austauschstudierenden und Urlaubern dabei helfen kann, Situationen besser einzuschätzen und sich besser in die noch fremde chinesische Kultur einzugliedern. So kann der Podcast nicht nur dabei unterstützen, dass Ausländer sich nicht selbst blamieren, sondern auch dabei helfen, dass Einheimische nicht ihr Gesicht verlieren.

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