Immersion Program Orientation Book www.studycli.org
Welcome to CLI's Immersion Program! As a supplemental guide to life in Guilin, the CLI team has compiled this comprehensive orientation packet for your living and traveling needs. In addition to language learning suggestions, safety tips, currency exchange details and postal service information, you will find a list of CLI's various recommended destinations within and around Guilin. Please do not hesitate to call one of our team members at any time day or night if you have questions, concerns or translation issues.
General Information Money China is home to various banking networks, including the Industrial Bank of China (ICBC), the Chinese Construction Bank, and the Bank of China. ATMs at any of these banks accept major international cards and are generally safe to use, although ATM service at the Bank of China tends to be the most reliable. Many ATMs offer 24-hour service, so you needn't worry if you find yourself without cash on hand after the sun has set. If you need to exchange currency or travelers' checks for RMB, bring your foreign currency and passport to any major bank in China to complete this transaction. There should be no service charge.
Postal Services CLI's staff does not recommend sending valuable items internationally through the Chinese postal service, as it is sometimes unreliable and often expensive. That being said, service has significantly improved over the past several years. If you'd like to send a postcard, a member of the CLI team can help guide you to a local post office (邮局, yóujú).
General Information (cont.) Safety & Security China is generally a safe country in which to study and sightsee. Nevertheless, any time you are traveling, you should always take necessary precautions to ensure your own personal safety. *If you experience any kind of safety emergency, please do not hesitate to call a member of the CLI team so that we may assist you in any way possible. Should a serious crisis occur, call Bradford immediately at 136-5963-0195.* Recommended Safety Tips: – Keep all of your belongings in sight and be mindful of them. Hold small personal bags close to your body, and keep them closed if possible. Pickpocketing is not a major problem in China, but it does happen from time to time. – In China, violent street crime and predatory behavior are rare occurrences –
but that doesn't mean that you should let your inhibitions down. Try your best to remain aware of your surroundings at all times. Travel in pairs or in groups. If a stranger makes you feel uncomfortable or in any way threatens you, immediately change your course of action (head into a store or hop in a taxi, for example). – If you know that you're going to be consuming alcohol, be responsible. Don't
accept beverages from strangers, and don't leave your drink unattended. Stay with the other members of your group, and make sure not to leave anyone behind at the end of the night. Take extra caution in getting home safely.
Safety & Security Recommended Safety Tips (cont.): – Crossing the road safely in China presents a challenge of its own. Here, it's important to remember what your mother always told you: make sure you look both ways before you step out into the street. Cars rarely obey traffic signals in China and motorcycles, electric scooters, bicycles and other pedestrians create additional safety hazards. Especially in Guilin, traffic patterns are probably nothing like what you were used to back home, so keep your eyes and ears open for oncoming vehicles. Proceed with caution, as there is a definite possibility that some drivers may not be paying much attention to the road or to you.
Medical Services If you find yourself in need of medical attention, please notify a member of CLI's on-site team as soon as possible. CLI emergency assistance is available around the clock, so don't hesitate to call at any time if you need to see a medical doctor. Should you catch a minor illness such as a seasonal cold or upset stomach, CLI staff is available to assist you in purchasing over-the-counter medicine at a local pharmacy. Let a CLI employee know that you're in need of medication, and we will be more than happy to help you find exactly what you need. If you'd prefer to head to the pharmacy yourself, you're likely to encounter one if you just head outside and keep your eyes open. But as always, give any of our local team members a call and we will assist you right away. *China’s 24-hour emergency number is 119, but if you contract a serious illness or sustain a significant injury, please call Bradford immediately at 136-5963-0195.*
“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
Living in Guilin
Quick Facts Urban Population: ~650,000 Location: Southern China, in the Guangxi Province. Roughly equal in latitude to Key West, Florida. History: The Li River area was first settled in 314 BC. In 1981, Guilin was listed by the State Council as one of four cities (including Beijing, Hangzhou and Suzhou) where the protection of historical and cultural heritage, as well as natural scenery, should be treated as a priority project. Meaning of “Guilin”: Forest of Sweet Osmanthus
Sightseeing Guilin is famous for its mountainous landscape and rich heritage, and therefore offers a wide array of hiking opportunities and historically significant sites. – At Wave-Subduing Hill (伏 波 山 , fúbōshān; admission 15 yuan, 7am - 6pm), you can witness firsthand Buddhist carvings from the Song and Tang dynasties, located in the Returned Pearl Cave (Huanzhu Dong). – The 152-meter Solitary Beauty Peak (独 秀 峰, dúxiù
fēng; admission 15 yuan, 7:30am - 6pm) is accessible by buses 1 and 2, and offers an outstanding view of Guilin. The entrance fee also includes admission to Wang Cheng, a wealthy Mingdynasty estate that now houses one of GXNU's primary campuses.
Sightseeing (cont.) – Reed Flute Cave (芦 笛 岩, lúdíyán; admission 60 yuan, 7:30am - 6pm) features
a multicolored array of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave was once visited by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and can be accessed by buses 3 and 58. – Seven Star Park (七 星 公 园, qīxīng gōngyuán; admission 35 yuan, Seven Star
Cave 30 yuan, park 6am - 9:30pm, caves 8am - 5:30pm) is a fabulous place to admire Guilin's natural landscape and enjoy a relaxing afternoon. There are numerous caves and mountains to explore, as well as open areas for enjoying games and lunch. Seven Star Park can be accessed via buses 10 and 11; additionally, you can take bus 58 from the park to Folded Brocade Hill, Reed Flute Cave, and Wave-Subduing Hill. – The Sun and Moon Pagodas (日 月 双 塔, rìyuè shuāngtǎ; admission 30 yuan,
8:30am - 10:30pm) are brilliantly lit after sunset, and are best viewed through an evening stroll around Shan Lake (杉湖, shānhú).
Shopping Although Guilin's shopping scene isn't as extensive as Shanghai and Hong Kong, there are nonetheless many opportunities to pick up quality souvenirs, local handicrafts, and fashion items. You can expect to pay substantially less in Guilin than you would in other, major Chinese cities – so unless you've got money to burn, load up on your gift purchases before you head off to Shanghai and Beijing. Red Tent Market (夜 市 , yèshì) - every night, street vendors set up shop nearby Xīchéng Lù (西 城 路), where they mostly sell souvenirs, assorted knickknacks, and local artwork. You'll have to haggle with the salespeople to score good prices on the things you want (a good start point is 25% of the original price that you hear), but the effort is worth it; there are many fine items to be bought here, and the market offers a real taste of Guilin's nighttime economy at work. Niko Niko Do (微 笑 堂 , wēixiàotáng) - if you're looking for upscale international and Chinese fashion, Niko Niko Do has got it. Opened by Japanese developers, this shopping center is modern, chic, and one of the pricier places in town. Weekend Market - located in one of Guilin's few remaining farming enclaves, the weekend market is essentially tourist-free and offers a unique place to witness the city's locals in action. Displaying Chinese medicine and ornaments of all varieties, the market offers a genuine display of the "real" China. Turn left out of CLI and follow the dirt road; you’ll find the weekend market after about 15 minutes.
Guilin Cuisine Sichuan Hotpot City (大 四 川 火 锅 城) - within walking distance of Elephant Trunk Hill (象 鼻 山 , xiàngbíshān), Sichuan Hotpot offers the most authentic Sichuan hotpot experience in Guilin. While not cheap, Sichuan Hotpot is moderately priced and offers a wide range of menu options. –Our Recommendation: 四川火锅 (sìchuān huǒguō) –Price per person: 40-60 RMB –Directions: 南环路3号，在西门桥和中山路的中间 (downtown) –Phone: 0773-283-3030 Lanzhou Muslim Noodle (兰 州 拉 面) - for a taste of China’s northwestern cuisine, head to Lanzhou Muslim Noodle. Located near GXNU, the restaurant's dishes are unique and inexpensive. Lanzhou Muslim Noodle incorporates strong spices and flavors to offer a truly different face of Chinese cooking. –Our Recommendation: Lamb with Veggies on a Bed of Rice (羊肉孜然饭, yángròu zīránfàn) –Price per person: 7-12 RMB –Directions: 师大北门对面 (across and up the street from GXNU’s north gate) Gourmet Coffee Café (丽 舍 咖 啡 ) - if you’re looking for some good old Western food, Gourmet Coffee Café serves up some of the best spaghetti in Guilin. Owned by a Taiwanese man who lived in New York City for over 20 years, Gourmet Coffee Café has a downtown river front location and sells great coffee, tea, and desserts. –Our Recommendation: Italian Spaghetti (意大利面, yìdàlìmiàn). –Price per person: 30-40 RMB –Directions: 在百度酒吧旁边 (just over Liberation Bridge on the downtown side, down the street from Baidu Bar) –Phone: 0773-2106880
Local Guilin Hotpot (北 来 顺 火 锅) - there are many local Guilin Hotpot restaurants, but this one offers a particularly delicious local dining experience. The restaurant's prices are low and its portions are large; the staff are friendly and helpful, but don't expect to be impressed by the restaurant's decor. Our Recommendation: Lamb Hot Pot (羊肉火锅, yángròu huǒguō) –Price per person: 25-35 RMB –Directions: 在长城花园的中国银行对面 (in between the big gate of GXNU and the Sanlidian traffic circle, across the street from a Bank of China) Korean Restaurant (韩 国 饭 馆) - located in the heart of Wénhuà Jiē (文 化 街), the Korean Restaurant is founded and managed by a Korean woman who married a Guilin local. Their specialty dish "Korean Claypot Rice," served with traditional Korean seasoning. They also offer some of the most tasty and well-priced sushi in town. This restaurant delivers to all CLI apartments. –Our Recommendation: Korean Clay Pot Rice (石锅饭, shíguōfàn) –Price per person: 8-12 RMB –Directions: 你如果从师大南门走，它在文化街中间的左边 (if walking from the GXNU South Gate, it's a little more than halfway down Wénhuà Jiē on your left) –Phone: 130-3683-8318 GXNU South Gate (师 大 南 门) - the South Gate of GXNU is a fantastic place both to eat and to practice your Chinese. From steamed stuffed buns to egg pancakes, rice noodles, stir-fry, and milk tea, the South Gate has countless options for meals and snacks. Everything here is inexpensive and full of flavor. –Our Recommendation: Guilin Rice Noodles (桂林米粉, guìlín mǐfěn) –Price per person: 2-7 RMB –Directions: When you exit GXNU's south gate on foot, simply turn left and you will find many street vendors, rice noodle restaurants, stir-fryers and the likes Li River Congee (桂 林 粥 城) - for some late night southern Cuisine, head to the Li River Congee Restaurant, open 24-hours a day. With a great atmosphere and even better food, the Li River Congee restaurant offers some of the best food in town. –Price per person: 25-40 RMB –Directions: 杉湖北路3号，在大瀑布酒店旁边 (downtown right next to the Waterfall Hotel) –Phone: 0773-282-8172
Nightlife Beimen (北 门 ) - a local favorite, especially among college students, Beimen’s “BBQ” shops sell assorted meats and veggies on sticks each night starting just after sunset. Grab a table out front and enjoy food and drinks amongst local friends. Directions: 师大北门对面 (across from the back gate of GXNU) Phone: N/A Joy's Club (爵 色 酒 吧) - for a Chinese nightlife experience, Joy's Club is a popular and crowded spot to enjoy a few drinks, listen to music, and play dice. Recently renovated, Joy's is a hot spot for Chinese locals and is home to the crowded masses every weekend. Directions: 文化宫展览中心1楼被侧 (downtown near the Walking Mall) Phone: 0773-283-1111 Cats and Rabbits (猫 兔 酒 吧) - arguably the coolest bar in town, Cats and Rabbits is enjoyed by both Chinese and expatriates alike. Owned and managed by Englishspeaking Chinese, Cats and Rabbits plays everything from lounge and reggae tunes to punk, hip-hop and alternative rock. Directions: 东 华 路9-11号 (中 华 路 口 靠 王 成 状 元 及 第 门[东 华 门]， 江 南 卷 口 上) (near downtown GXNU just outside the west gate of the old city wall) Phone: 134-576-61991
Internet Access Almost all Western cafés in Guilin have free WiFi access, including the Shire Hobbitan (located on 66 Binjiang Lu; 10am - midnight) and the Little Italian (located on 18 Binjiang Lu; 10am - midnight). If you didn't bring your personal computer or would prefer a more typical Chinese experience, go ahead and check out one of Guilin's internet cafes. They’re scattered throughout the city, and you're likely to bump into quite a few of them during your stay. If you can't seem to find one that suits you, head to the Wenchang Internet Café (Wenchang Wangba; located on Wenming Lu; 1.50 yuan per hour). Bring your passport!
“A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendall Holmes
Special Considerations Curiosity toward foreigners: Foreigners are a somewhat common site in major cities, but for many people in smaller cities, and especially in the countryside, you may be the first foreigner they have ever interacted with. Expect occasional staring and calls of “Hello!” The stares and greetings from strangers are innocent and not done in malice; people are truly curious, and once they discover you speak Chinese, you will have a new best friend. The Great Firewall: In an effort to “harmonize” the Internet and prevent antigovernment activity, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) blocks access to numerous Web sites. Facebook, YouTube, Blogspot, Twitter, and other social networking/blogging sites are among those that you cannot access without a VPN. Additionally, major social and political advocacy sites, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, are blocked. Many foreigners and locals use a VPN to get around the firewall. Some, such as www.torproject.org, can be downloaded for free, but these are not as reliable as paid networks. Witopia (www.witopia.net) offers an excellent VPN for US$60, securing your privacy and providing you with (relatively) uninterrupted Internet access.
Special Considerations (cont.) Misinformation: It sometimes happens that local Chinese will unintentionally mislead you rather than say they donâ€™t know the answer to your question. Therefore, just because someone tells you a specific product is not in stock or a food item does not have a particular ingredient does not mean this is necessarily so. Itâ€™s always a good idea to either be persistent or trust your instinct and ask for a second opinion. Daily rest time: There is a daily rest time from noon to 2:30pm that many Chinese people adhere to. Universities and most government offices close within this window, and it is therefore sometimes difficult to accomplish tasks requiring cooperation with locals during this time. Haggling/special foreigner prices: Since parts of China heavily cater to tourism and have countless visitors each year, vendors and cab drivers sometimes try to take advantage of foreigners by overcharging them for items and services. However, once they hear that you speak even the most basic Chinese, they will be much more willing to negotiate with you and will accordingly lower their prices. Almost all goods and services can be bargained for. In most bustling markets, expect to pay 25% to 30% less than the asking price for the majority of items, and in more touristy areas, the price could drop well over half. Work opportunities: Many foreigners living in Guilin teach English. The other choices are to find work with a local company in need of a foreign staff member, be savvy enough to find an online job with an international company, or start your own business. If youâ€™re interested in working while at CLI, simply ask one of our program leaders for more information.
Utilizing CLI’s Language Environment In order to make the most of your time studying with CLI, it’s important to constantly be pro-active and to consistently seek new opportunities to advance your Chinese. Self study, conversing with cab drivers, shopping with local friends – there are countless ways to improve and validate your Mandarin language skills. Below are a few suggestions on how to best utilize CLI’s language environment: ö Make sure you know all 58 pinyin sounds: Do not undervalue the importance
of pinyin (拼 音). Once you can make all of the sounds, you can essentially say any word in Chinese. Concentrate on hearing and saying the slight variations between sounds. Tones are very important, but clear pronunciation of the pinyin sounds is still the most essential building block of spoken Mandarin. ö Speak (and think in) Chinese, regardless of your Chinese level: Whether you
are an absolute beginner or the world’s greatest Mandarin speaker, you can always advance your skills by practicing the language at every turn. You should not only be speaking in Chinese whenever possible, but also thinking in Chinese. This is absolutely crucial to becoming a fluent speaker. Think about what you did yesterday, what you plan to do today, where you hope to go tomorrow, and so on – all in Chinese. Mandarin will eventually become second-nature to you. You’ll then no longer need to translate your thoughts from your native language into spoken Chinese.
Utilizing CLI’s Language Environment (cont.) ö Keep CLI Informed: All of CLI’s team members—teachers, directors and tour
guides alike—are here because we love the Chinese language, love sharing it, and love that you’re interested. Let us know if you don’t understand something or have a specific question. Be an active learner. Don’t forget that a student’s dedication and persistence is the ultimate factor that leads to success when learning a foreign language. ö Attitude is everything: Maintain a relentless attitude in your approach to
mastering the Chinese language. If you feel you’re hitting a plateau, push even harder. Many non-native speakers have reached a high level of proficiency in the Chinese language, and with the right combination of language environment, determination and attitude, you can too. ö Make the most of Guilin:
Southern hospitality abounds in the Guangxi Province. Take the initiative to speak with those around you every day. Chat with local shop-owners. Ask the police questions. Talk to waiters and waitresses during meals. These people are your teachers too. When it comes to spoken Chinese, there is no better way to improve than to simply speak.
ö Engage with the CLI community:
CLI puts a great deal of emphasis on creating a community conducive to Chinese language learning. We maintain a one-to-one ratio of local community members to international language students, so do your best to embrace your team of educators. Our homestay families, Chinese student-roommates, language instructors, local managers and network of friends are all here to guide you on your path to proficiency – be sure to engage!
“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.” – Dr. Seuss
Our core mission at CLI is to provide students with the most comprehensive path available toward full Chinese proficiency. This concept is not limited to language fluency. We strive to equip our students with a deep understanding of Chinaâ€™s diverse culture and a strong comprehension for its complex economic and political environment. China is among the most fascinating civilizations in human history, and its importance only grows. We welcome you to reach full proficiency in Chinese language and culture with CLI!
Welcome to CLIâ€™s Immersion Program!
24-Hour Assistance Throughout the duration of your stay with CLI, please do not hesitate to call one of our team members at any time day or night if you have questions, concerns or translation issues. Leona (Student Affairs Assistant) Molin (Local Director) Tristan (Property Manager)
158-7839-0323 139-7738-4687 189-7733-1255
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