I visited Xi'an back in 2012 and spent an entire year immersed in the culture and the environment so that I could enhance my Chinese language skills. This language element formed part of my 4-year Bachelors degree at the time. Xi'an is not like the cosmopolitan cities of Beijing and Shanghai where you have a large English expatriate population and all the mod cons that you are likely to see in the Western world. However, the population is just as big and the pollution is just as alarming.
As for my experience, it was already assumed that with the name 'Natasha' I would be (at the very least) a white person that was either Russian or Polish. So it was very surprising for the only English speaking Administrator (in the host university office) for a Black individual to answer to this name.
During my stay, I was called 黑鬼 (Black ghost) by one or two kindergarten-aged children which (judging by their terror) was clearly not a good thing. I was told I couldn't teach English in a highly respected private school because it was suspected that I would scare the children and even when I was interviewed for a English teacher role at a kindergarten (that was on-site my host university), the interview mainly involved me being observed like a rare specimen with comments about the whiteness of my teeth and the clearness of my eyes (oh yes, this is still a thing in this day and age). Lastly, everyone who tried to guess my nationality always defaulted to 'African'. I have lots of love for the motherland but it only goes to show how narrow-minded so many Chinese people are esp. with regards to other races and nationalities. So what is my overall summary of my experience? Despite these isolated and often laughable events, I did make friends with a neurosurgeon whose daughter I tutored privately for the entire year. I met some incredible Russian speakers who I still keep in touch with. I tried some wonderful dishes; was taught to a very rigorous but high standard during my language lessons and before I left, I was proud to see a lot more Black people not only living in China but achieving almost near native fluency in Mandarin! A few of them have even been successful enough to become television personalities. So would I recommend China for a visit? Maybe but it does make life a lot easier if you know the language or plan to travel with someone who does! Some collection of pictures and videos about my experience can be found via the following link: https://www.singlelife.me.uk/p...