Also I'm european, so I'm biased af (europe is the best country lololol).
I tried to spend as much time as possible with locals and learn about the culture, but didn't have much of an occasion to talk "deeply" to people different social classes. I also only spoke a little about politics; my friends didn't seem to care about it.
During my trip, I learned how to ask my way, buy stuff, and make (very) simple conversation. Chinese grammar is very easy, so I only had to learn the vocabulary; with flashcards using a combination of 2 apps: "Hanpin dictionary (pro)" (~3€) that exports words to "ankidroid", on android.
Don't expect much, but ask away