Challenges of Working in China
With China's economy booming at the moment you would be silly not to consider the benefits the country has to offer. There are more and more job opportunities and internships becoming more accessible to internationals and salaries can be very high. But what are the potential dangers and biggest issues you are likely to face when living and working in China? Check out our list of things you should consider before applying below...
1. Work Permit
Obtaining a Chinese work permit is not easy and some foreign interns and teachers have been prosecuted for working on incorrect visas with some even being put in prison. Please research all placements thoroughly before departing and make sure you have the right visa to avoid any issues once in the country. If you are being hired to work in China from overseas, make sure your company arranges the correct paperwork.
2. China is Huge
First, you must realise the enormity of China and some provinces will be easier to live than others. For example, Shanghai and Hong Kong have huge expat communities and not speaking the local language shouldn't be a problem. Rural areas can be difficult to adapt to where there are few Westerners.
3. Weather & Pollution
Beijing is one of the most popular destinations for internationals seeking to work abroad but you may not realise how cold the capital gets in winter and when it gets cold, the air pollution is very high. Pollution is a real problem in China no matter where you live in the country.
You may struggle if you do not know any mandarin. In most provinces, local people and taxi drivers cannot speak English and sometimes they will not even be familiar with the streets so getting home may be a small challenge. But it is these challenges that some people are looking for, and is perfect if you want to be put in the deep end to pick up some Chinese. You could also book a class with a Chinese language school in China.
5. Internet Access
China has high speed internet with free wifi available in shops, bars, cafes and restaurants in the large towns and cities. But trying to gain access to popular Western websites like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and Instagram can be difficult in China due to government sensorship. This can make communication back home difficult.
6. Culture Shock
Going to work, intern, teach English in China can be a shock especially if you are arriving from a Western country. China has a population of over 1 billion people and the country/culture/traditions might be different to what you are used to. Everything from the people, food, routine and activities will likely be different.
7. Unreputable Agencies
Becareful when applying to work, volunteer or intern in China via online adverts and research all agencies before signing up. You can usually find reviews online and on Facebook pages. Some international agencies charge fees to help you arrange some intern and work placements as these can be difficult to arrange individually from outside of the country. You will find this is the case if you are looking to join volunteering programs in China. The fee does though usually include placements, flights, airport pick ups, accommodation and in-country support.
Working in Asia can be a magic experience and although this article highlights potential dangers and challenges, most people really enjoy the experience of living and working in China. You will get to experience a totally different culture, boost your career, receive a good salary and see spectacular places in your spare time. We recommend you book a tour of China to see the highlights with an experience guide.