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In retrospect, would you move again to China?

Hi all,

If you had to look back on your expat experience in China, would you heartily say "let’s do it again"?

From the preparation stage to your actual everyday life in your new country, what did you enjoy the most?

Would you do certain things differently? Could you tell us why?

How would you describe the benefits of your expatriation in China so far?

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience. We look forward to hearing from you!

Christine

No, I wouldn't move back to China. It was the worst place I have ever been as an expat apart from Nigeria. China is endlessly difficult. It's dirty. The people aren't all rude but those that are, are in plentiful supply. The food is awful, it comes in two flavors bland and bland with chill. It's difficult to track down any home comforts. There only 10 English language movies a year allowed on the cinema. English language book shops only stock Twilight, Harry Potter and Dan Brown... It takes 10 years for Chinese native speakers to learn to read enough characters to read effectively in Chinese; your chances of learning it in less time while working full-time are diminishingly close to zero. The pollution is incredible and not in a good way.

Positives? Nice Chinese people are awesome. Tsing Tao is cheap and plentiful. The cost of food is generally low (though this also explains much of the quality issue). It wasn't Nigeria.

If you had to look back on your expat experience in China, would you heartily say "let’s do it again"?  I believe I made a wonderful decision when it came to moving to China.

From the preparation stage to your actual everyday life in your new country, what did you enjoy the most? I have enjoyed every facet of China. My preparation should have been a little better. However, my everyday life has provided me practical knowledge about China culture. I love the food, people, and lifestyle.

Would you do certain things differently? Could you tell us why? I would have prepared better when it comes to banking. I was not aware that my bank at home does not have a "swift code." It would have been better if my agency had provided me with information needed for daily living in China. I would have packed much lighter. I brought too many clothes!

How would you describe the benefits of your expatriation in China so far? The benefits for living in China include: hospitable people, terrific students, medical care (i.e., cheap medication and dr. visits), low cost of living, cheap tourism, and China is near great places to vacation.

Great topic, I would say, is an overall good experience living in China, the pros outweigh the cons in logical terms. When we decided to move to China, in our case it was a necessity, preparations were made overnight, did some research prior to taking that decision though. Upon arrival, the first thing we did was to get used to the new environment, and food, this feeling soon faded away, but while it lasted it was like achieving a long term goal; with that in mind, sipping on the idea of long term stay, was easy to swallow and helped overcome any fears. Food I would say is the most enjoyable part if you are not afraid of trying new things or your stomach agrees on the new menu, if you don't, it can be a challenge.

Everyday life is not what many people think it is, just like in any other country at first everything is a novelty, but as you immerse yourself into the fabric of the city, you disappear completely, your senses acquire a new calibration code, what shocked or awed you before is now normal, it kind of make you rethink your purpose in China.

I can't think of doing anything different, so far everything was just as expected, a bit off but nothing threatening. Downside and unavoidable too, is the language barrier, when you listen to them speak in local language, while your dictionary says otherwise, can be daunting. Also frustrations derived from lack of understanding this new culture, and how to deal with it, no preparations can save you from this, I have seen more than a few lose their cool.

The benefits, this is a tricky question, first hand experience with Chinese culture, that is if things are in your favor, I would say salary is a factor in your life style and makes a huge difference on how you rate your experiences. There is also this false sense of "foreigner" that make many expats feel like stars; if you knew what people say about you, this feeling could disappear immediately, but if you don't mind, then you are indeed a star. Although only in medium or smaller cities, big metropolis are not for you if you are seeking attention, unless you are extremely attractive and people can't resist temptation, but is rare. I would also add the fact that you get in touch with your own people more often than you think, you automatically seek their friendship, connect with them on social media, and form these groups where you learn a great deal of tips, from language to travel.

Conclusion; would I do it again if I had to? YES definitely!

X-Trekker you mentioned, "if you knew what people say about you, this feeling could disappear immediately, but if you don't mind, then you are indeed a star."  So, what exactly are they saying about the expats?

letatia

Lack of understanding, just because people snaps pictures of you while you are in public, get invitations to attend dinner with a family, business (for status purposes), or told you are pretty or handsome and make you feel good, does not mean you are wanted here, prejudice is rampant, those pictures end up being daily talk in their circle of friends; this is a short list of the things I have heard and read about foreigners:

1. He/she is fat, ugly, smelly, big rear end, loud, dirty (those with beard).
2. Big nose foreigners
3. In reference to African descendance, I won't even post it here
4. Poor laowai seeking fortune in China
5. Peasants who can't make a living in their country
6. Maniacs and psychopaths, rapists and pedophiles seeking innocent girls or children
7. In reference to brown skin people, hardly anything nice is said about them
8. Drunks who should have never been accepted into the country
9. Party animals looking for sex
10. Beauty does not always come with money

the list is long, I have been watching this trend from the day I arrived, at first I was mislead by the attention foreigners get, but then I started to study that behaviour, digging ever deeper into social media, until I found hints that led me to understand not everything that flashes is gold. Now, if you don't mind being called names, then you're as good the rich and famous, they are called names all the time, yet they don't let that destroy their confidence, or so it seems.

Don't take me wrong, there are good and bad, friendly and grumpy, sweet and sour, but I know where the buck stops, pretty girls envy pretty foreigners; since China is a hierarchical society rich people tend to consider foreigners as servitude, they might use you and make you feel important, but once you are of no use, you are disposable; young boys look at male foreigners as a threat, fewer females means fierce competition. You see, this false sense of "foreigner" go beyond those flashes in public. I am not trying to portrait foreigners as losers, but there is a big problem of social prejudice still embedded in Chinese society.

Thanks for the reply. What they say about foreigners is really no different from what is said by any other country when it comes to foreigners. In order to survive with self confidence in this world a persons identity should never be based on another's opinion. I'm thankful for my positive experience with those in China that I've encountered.

@letatia

That's the key "confidence", more intuition and awareness leads to being more reflective, which in turn will give you the upper hand when it comes to facing reality. Like I said, I know where the buck stops, based on that, I am free of any prejudice going both ways, I've been to places where these incidents are ignored in order to preseve one's dignity and be proactive, rather than complicated. The sad part is that when we put our eyes on this "sense of foreigner" as the main reason of why I love China, can be detrimental.

Sorry maybe this is not the thread.

Your message could be a good warning to anyone who thinks like you about China,not to make a visit here.China does not need people like you. You should stay where you are. Better of everything.
Good luck to you. People like you are not missed here.

Am I supposed to feel offended for your rants? Come on, man up and face reality as it is. As for who can or should visit China, your opinion is flawed. Thank you for your attention though; it says a lot about the scope of my public opinion about China’s hidden issues, you should try reading my post carefully before going up in arms.

X-Trekker; ignore it. It's another wu mao with nothing to say. That's all.

Yes I would come again. Despite all the issues and difficulties that daily life brings my overall experience is very positive.
To everybody who wants to stay in China for some time: speaking some basic Chinese will give you a totally different China experience!

@x-trecker
It is true that there is racism, and skepticism toward foreigners in China. And it's growing with the number of foreigners in China. But it's also a matter of fact that there is a big number of foreigners in China that behave very badly. I just want to add some comments to your list.

>1. He/she is fat, ugly, smelly, big rear end, loud, dirty (those with beard).
Chinese people are deadly direct when it comes to this things. They don't know political correctness. Everybody living in China needs to get used to this.

>2. Big nose foreigners
That's a fact and it has nothing insulting. And many Chinese people don't like the small nose that they have.

>3. In reference to African descendance, I won't even post it here
> 7. In reference to brown skin people, hardly anything nice is said about them
Most of Chinese people don't like black people. They don't like black skin.

>4. Poor laowai seeking fortune in China
>5. Peasants who can't make a living in their country
It's a fact that there is considerable number of this type of people coming to China, then working here on Visas not meant for work.

>6. Maniacs and psychopaths, rapists and pedophiles seeking innocent girls or children
>8. Drunks who should have never been accepted into the country
>9. Party animals looking for sex
There is a good number of foreigners who behave exactly this way. And I met several of them here in China. They also often make it to the headlines.

>10. Beauty does not always come with money
This one they also say about their own people.

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