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There isn’t really a lot of difference between China and Zimbabwe but the differences that are really there have an impact on the day-to-day lives of Zimbabweans and Chinese people. The mode of transport used in Zimbabwe when you move around in one city are taxi and kombis. Buses and airplanes are mostly used when you are traveling to another city… China on the other hand uses fast trains, airplanes and buses as their day-to-day mode of transport. I only got to ride a fast train when l came to China.

My first time boarding a train, in China l had my ticket and my passport with me. The carrying of passports when you are in the same country was kind of new to me. I later learnt that even the Chinese had to carry their Identification card when going to another city. For foreigners in China you had to carry your passport for the train ticket or long-distance bus ticket whilst for Chinese they had to use their identification cards. This system is a little bit different from Zimbabwe. For as long as you are in the country, you can move around to different cities without a passport or identification card because tickets are not issued through a machine using a passport. The conductors use a ticket book to just write the amount of money you are going to pay and nothing else. Also, the buses in Zimbabwe don’t have specific time for going to another city like the system that is in China long-distance buses are pre-booked and already know the time you going, in Zimbabwe a bus can only take off when it’s full.

The Chinese education sector is also different from the Zimbabwean education sector. When l decided l was going to study International Law in China, l had no idea what compulsory and collective courses that l was going to study. My guess was that I’m only going to study law and nothing else. l got to find out that they were some Chinese modules like Chinese Writing, Chinese Listening and Speaking and also Comprehensive Chinese that l had to study. Not all only did l have to study all these Chinese modules but l also had to pass them for me to graduate. It was a requirement to pass the Chines courses. However, the universities in Zimbabwe do not require foreigners who are studying in Zimbabwe to take Shona courses… If you are studying a Marketing Management Program you will only study that and not additional Shona courses.

Furthermore, Zimbabweans believe in traditional shopping. They love the excitement of feeling fabric when buying clothes. The thrill of trying on different clothes to see which one fits. I have always loved shopping, and trying on new clothes make me feel like I’m on a runway show. The online apps in Zimbabwe are mostly for food. My first time entering a Chinese clothing shop, the clothes were all beautiful but they were pretty expensive. I called my cousin and asked her how on earth did she afford to buy so many clothes since she had been in China for a year. Her first question was “You tried buying clothes in a shop right?” Then she giggled. She introduced me to apps like Taobao, Pingdoudou and 1688. The first app l started using was Taobao because it was all in English. I was still skeptical about buying clothes so l started by buying shoes only. Things were so cheap on Taobao that l was afraid l was going to buy whack shoes but when the shoes came, they were pretty legit.l later got to use Pingdoudou and 1688 when l now knew the Chinese language and l could take a screenshot and translate the staff l didn’t know how to read.

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