Things Virtual Reality China Will Not Prep You For (And What You Can Do Instead)

The U.S. is injecting a good $US1.25 million into a new "virtual training ground" for American diplomats who plan on working in China called "The Second China Project." It's a pretend city in Linden Lab's Second Life that purportedly will help almost-expatriots get used to the environment in the world's most populous nation. While some of the training activities sound useful (for instance, what to give as a gift, how to seat guests), as someone who's lived in this country for years, I can tell you there are things that diplomats should get ready for that the virtual world doesn't even seem to touch on.