We went to the China Electronics Sourcing Fair in Shanghai Mart again today. Again we enjoyed it and found lots of interesting novelties. One thing I was impressed the most with is that all the staff from the suppliers speak English and some of them speak good English!
I was planning to be a full-time interpreter for Brad before we went to the show, but as soon as we walked in, I was so suprised to find that the staff understood Brad's questions and could also communicate with him without problems. Only occasionally I explained some specific questions Brad asked. I was really impressed!
Most of the staff are between 22-35 years old. I think this is thanks to the compulsory regulations of Chinese universities about English ability - a student has to pass Level 4 or Level 6 to be able to obtain a degree upon graduation.
This also reminded me of the recent experience in KFC. Brad wanted to practise his Chinese and went to order some icecream. But as soon as the staff at the counter saw him, they started to speak English to him so that he had no chance practising Mandarin!
When more and more Chinese speak English and are making effort to communicate with the outside world, and at the same time more and more westners are starting their Mandarin lessons everywhere as well! I think that's a good sign! When more people can communicate with each other, there is more understanding in the world!
Brad and I had this discussion the other day: our new experience in China will greatly benefit our relationship because by living here and learning my language, he will understand my culture and my background more so that we have less misunderstanding related to the fact that we were born and raised in different cultural backgrounds.