10 Things You Should Know Before Moving to China
Are you planning a trip to travel, live or work in China? Thousands of people move to China every year and this experience is not as daunting as it sounds. if you are currently thinking about it, or in the process of moving, check out our list of 10 things you will find useful to know before arriving in China...
1. It Is Easier Than You Think
Moving to China a few decades ago was not possible but now the whole process is getting a lot easier. There are now several options for foreigners, the main one a lot of internationals choose is to teach English in China - this is popular with students, graduates and also older people looking for a way to work in China and live in the country for a long period. If you are looking to gain experience there are lots of paid internships in China for foreigners which can lead to full time employment. Some international companies hire staff from all around the world and help with visas, relocation and accommodation - some foreigners choose to stay and you can find thousands of expats in places like Shanghai and Hong Kong.
2. It is Hard to Learn the Language
You can't just turn up in China and pick up Mandarin or Cantonese, these languages are extremely difficult to learn. We highly recommend booking a Chinese language course in China, buying a phrases book or learning online before departing. Even if you can't master the whole language straight away practise helps.
3. It is More Beautiful than You Think
Although usually you get images in the media is of industrial cities there are so many stunning places you can live or see. Highlights include walking the Great Wall of China, seeing pandas in Chengdu, exploring the Tiger Leaping Gorge or seeing the spectacular West Lake. Whether you are visiting for a short period, or looking to call China your home, a tour if a great way to see more of the country especially if you are not fluent in Mandarin. Tour companies in China employ local staff who speak English and will take you to the very best locations in the country hassle free.
4. China is VERY Safe
This might be surprising but crime against tourists is very rare! Tourism is becoming a big industry in China and they country are keen to attract more visitors especially since the 2008 Olympics put China on the global map.
5. Chinese Food in China is Different to What You Might be Used to
If you live in the Western world Chinese food will be different to what you actually eat in China. Different options will be available and it will taste a bit different - we recommend you be open to the cuisine because you can get amazing dishes and local specialities throughout the country. You will also get to sample all the local tea.
6. Local People are Friendly
Although there is a very obvious language barrier, local people will generally greet you with smiles and try to converse in you, or at tourist sights want to have photos with you.
7. The Cities Are Bustling
China has some of the largest cities in the world population wise, and there is so much to see and do when living in one. Top cities include Beijing, Shanghai, X'ian, Hong Hong, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Taipei, Chengdu, Nanjing, Wuhan, Shenyang, Chongqing and Shenzhen. You will find lots of museums, restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs and history/cultural locations to visit.
8. Public Transport is Excellent
China has an incredible public transport network with busses and trains connecting the whole country. The trains are very quick, modern and also great value for money when you consider the distances involved.
9. You Can Live in China Without Breaking the Bank
China is a great value destination compared to other countries in Asia like Japan, Thailand and South Korea. You can take a gap year in China or live on a budget as rents, food and going out are not too expensive. Of course this can depend on where you choose to live, like some places including Hong Kong and Shanghai can be double than other areas of the country, but compared to other worldwide cities living costs are not too high.
10. There are Beaches
Finally, a lot of foreigners do not realise there are lots of beaches in China even in built up locations like Hong Kong! If you do move to China, you should take time to go and find your favourite.