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Hi!

I'm a 20 year old African American college student who is going to live in Shanghai for my study abroad in September. When I tell people, or when I search things something troubling keeps popping up. Many people say the Chinese are unnecessarily racist and have no manners. They say they will laugh at you and call you "Heiguizi" or "heiren" (I do know some Chinese, I'm aware what these mean) and generally don't respect your personal space or personal autonomy (demanding pictures, conversation). I hope I don't sound too American here. I really mean no offense. But I do want to know what I'm getting myself into.

Honestly, I turn heads here in my own country (and I mean that in a very humble way,I actually don't like the attention I receive). I'm a 36 ddd with a 26 inch waist, and 36 inch hips, with thick long black curly hair (middle of my back) and I'm five feet tall with a baby face. I'm also a college hurdler so my I'm very fit, and my muscles in my legs are a bit more defined than most women. I know this is not the ideal woman in China, and I don't care, but my good friend who is a Chinese international student here from Beijing, told me that people would laugh about my big breasts and behind both of which I cannot help. He also told me I might not get into clubs and people would be afraid of me! (I get the EXACT opposite here at home lol)

I just want to know if these claims are something you've seen or experienced. Is this true? If it is, fine, I will still enjoy my time and the people and the academics anyway, it is my life after all :)

Thank you!
 

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Anyone that's not Chinese will draw attention. Like mentioned in another string on this topic I think it's not as bad as people say. To be frank I feel in the U.S (I live now in San Fran after 12 years China). There is more hidden racism here, then in China. Having said that you will be special and special things draw attention....,
 

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Chinese do not trust their own people and racism is strong between the provinces but not so much towards we expats. Still there will be a small number who will say nasty things. We are adults, get over it.

But they do not show respect for personal space, this is a fact but not always a bad thing, they will want to touch you and talk to you whenever they can, this is not being impolite, simply part of their culture.

In 21 years here I have had so many people take photographs with me that I cannot count, take it as it is meant, a nice part of their culture.

A good friend of mine, George who hailed originally from Ghana bought a house and married a Chinese lady here, he loved the place as much as I do. Shanghai has thousands of expats so it will not be too difficult for you. But when you visit outlying smaller cities/towns and especially villages you will notice the difference in how people interact with you.
 

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On a personal note, please try and get over seeking pleasure from attention of others...I did the same recently for my own specific reasons. It is unhealthy even when the attention is accompanied with a smile. Once you kill temptation of pleasure from others' attention, only then will you be successful - otherwise it's a jungle out there. :)
 
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