Monkey Abroad

A blog about living in China and eating Chinese food. Videos, stories, photos, advice, and teaching ESL.

Chinese college students

Why Do Chinese College Students Only Shower Once Per Week?

| 5 Comments

A typical dorm room in China is crowded with four to six college students. The students share a large public restroom, but hot water is shut off during the winter. So how are they supposed to shower? I asked many Chinese college students about their shower habits and the response was interesting.

A majority of the students I asked said that one shower per week is the average among college students. It’s easy to think that they’re just a bunch of bath-loathing unsanitary undergrads, but that’s not the case at all. The students wish they could shower more often.

Chinese college students

During the winter months, when hot water becomes a bourgeois novelty for Chinese college students, they must pay money to take a shower in an on-campus public bath house.

For a broke college student, the cost of a daily hot shower would add up too quickly. Plus, it would be inconvenient to make a trip to the bath house every morning before class when the queue often stretches out the door.

While only one shower per week might seem unhygienic, at least the shower lasts up to one hour. That way the students can make up for lost time. Precious lost shower time.

I would expect to at least notice a faint odor from the students, but I don’t. Now compare this showering lifestyle to that of the west. If students in America could only shower once per week, the classrooms would reek of musky body odor. The dorms would become a miserable bog of eternal stench!

Westerners just stink more than Asians. It’s a fact, look it up. If we go six days without showering, our bodies take on the odor of rotten onions that have been sitting in a sealed container exposed to direct sunlight.

chinese college students

Anyways, privacy is scarce in China. Large families often share a single room for sleeping and eating and many public restrooms even have wide open toilets. No dividers or anything, you just do your business and make awkward eye contact with the guy next to you. I mean, if you were raised in a culture where it’s colloquial to poop in front of strangers, then showering once per week as an undergrad probably wouldn’t seem like a big deal to you.

The next time you stand under a hot shower in the privacy of your own home or apartment, be thankful. Daily hot showers in a private bathroom is a luxury, not something to be taken for granted.

Author: Kevin Cook

I post stories, videos, advice and photos about living abroad in Asia. I also eat bananas.

5 Comments

  1. Westerners probably smell more because of all the hormones and pesticides we delightfully enjoy in our processed food. Interesting comparison!

  2. Probably the food we eat makes us stink, maybe? Anyways, bog of eternal stench!!!! Stickin it to the man beeg!

  3. I’ve met or at least walked by (or sat next to) my share of pungent Asians.

    However, I am quite fond of the Indian-Canadian comdedian, Russell Peters’ comment on the topic, “Don’t walk around thinking ‘Oh, I’m good. I just showered’ . . . We don’t stink . . . we expire quicker than other people.”

  4. I agree! One student said he showers when he goes home on weekends. !!!! The water at my high school gets shut off randomly too, which I’m sure makes regular showering difficult.

    Deodorant is also hard to find here, and often people re-wear the same clothes several days in a row. But, as you said, they don’t smell. Go figure! (^-^)

    • Sasha,
      Yes it has been my experience that Asians don’t smell as harshly as us westerners. My armpits can’t seem to go unnoticed in public unless I supress them with a heavy dose of deodorant. Lucky Chinese people!

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