To Move or Not Move to Beijing??

HI All

My husband has been offered an opportunity of us all moving to Beijing for 3 years.  Initially, we were very excited at this fantastic chance to experience all fully funded move like this, but we are getting such mixed opinions from people who have done this as a family and those families that are there at the moment.

We are a family of 4 (2  girls age 15 and 10) plus a small dog. I have done quite a bit of internet research and many expats seem to rave on about this once in a life time experience it will offer us and in particular my girls (from language,  excellent schooling, cultural experience etc) , But I have concerns over health issue with pollution, weather and food issues. (2 of us are Gluten free - I am realise this will be a challenge but we cook alot of our food) and what everyday life will be for us?

We are not naive in the slightest that moving away from home is challenging as we have done this before from the UK to NZ  but China has slightly more challenges than these 2 countries.  I would call us a very resilient family after living through all the Christchurch quakes, fires and recent the Mosque shootings :( , so we  are not alien to very emotional circumstances.  My main concerns are pollution, freedom of life, food, setting in and adapting to a  communist country.

Any advice (good or bad) would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks


There are two ways of looking at expatriation:

Complain everything isn't like your home country, compare everything, and leave as soon as posible

Accept you are no longer in your home country, explore and enjoy the place, then live there for years

It isn't the country, it's the people who go there.


Pollution - I gather China has a problem, but expats in the area you're interested in will hopefully answer that

freedom of life

I gather, as long as you don's get involved in things you shouldn't, you're pretty free. Politics - Ignore it, avoid it - Job done

settin in

Glass half full or half empty?


Food - A whole adventure

a  communist country.

Communists - What communists?

They claim to be communists, they call themselves communists, but China is the most capitalist country on earth.
See belt and road.

Look, you have an excellent opportunity. TAKE IT.

You don't really know that will happen. But your will miss out if your let your fears get the better of you. I hope that I have been clear and concise on this. If you need more information, then you are not ready to move anywhere outside of your comfort zone. Period.

Thanks for your reply.  I appreciate your comments and we agree  ' what do we have to loose' .  We are going to go for it!



Thanks for your very precise and friendly feedback :)  I appreciate your honestly and taking the time to reply.

We will be taking the chance and going for it!



[at]trumblelane2 Rachel

It has always been my experience that fear is your worst enemy.  I see it all the time. People come to China looking for work, but don't know if they can pass the physical. People are afraid of China because it is a traditional conservative nation, and not progressive like the nations in the West. They worry about "Communism", the terror of the Chinese police, or the poor protesters in Hong Kong.

People worry about the quality of the air... the food... eating dogs... etc.

All of these fears are just nonsense, and completely blown way... way out of proportion.

In fact, I just completed a series of posts on my blog that puts the fears in perspective with reality. In most cases the fears are related to ignorance or lack of experience. It is also compounded by people who just don't want anyone to become friendly with China. You see these people all the time.

China is too polluted, and dirty... and ...

China is a police state... communist... poor Ugar Muslims....

Chinese people eat dogs, and cats, and.... what ever else they can find.

Nonsense. All of it. Absolute and pure nonsense.

Anyways, I suggest you check the series of posts and micro-videos out.  I devoted some time to show people what China is today. Well, what China has been in the last two weeks anyways. These posts consist of around five micro-videos (10 seconds to one minute long) showing various aspects of life in China taken about two weeks ago. It will really ease your mind, me thinks.

The link to the first of 12 posts is here; … r-in-asia/

"Are you considering moving to China" by Kevin Alison is a great short read for folks who are unsure. It doesnt give much info for families moving but is pretty good for info on life in general in china, especially beijing. Its a v quick read. I got it on amazon

Thanks - will check it out!

I’ve been in China about 18 months now but before that I was a regular visitor. A city like Beijing is not difficult to settle into - it’s pretty cosmopolitan you could probably even manage to stay in an expat bubble if that’s your thing. But you get out what you put in when I was in KL the people who lived like that were unhappy alcoholics who couldn’t wait for the assignment to end.
I’d rather try to get involved but use the availability of western comfort and community as a support network. Try to expore don’t get too sucked into a comfortable rut

Re pollution I’d get an air filter and wear a mask as much as I could - it can be a bit shocking to blow your nose and see the tissue full of black gunk

I'll be the voice of reason, I would not move in your circumstances, especially with two children at those ages.  It's not worth it.

I have lived in Beijing for eight years, the pollution is terrible.  It's  a very crowded environment and a stressful city.  A lot of the days you won't be able to see the sky due to the pollution.  There is definitely no place for children or a dog, people poison dogs here a lot.  I know because I have one and I worry every day about it.

Education for your two children will be Really expensive, around in the region of 300,000+ yuan a year.  If that's covered then fine.  I'd estimate with a family of 4 you'd be spending around 40,000+ yuan a month.  I spend 16,000-20,000 for two people.  The weather... well it's freezing in the winter and extremely hot in the summer.

Food will be a huge issue, forget about eating out.  I also have a dietary requirement and it's a frickin' nightmare.  It's also expensive to get anything decent.  Your quality of life will suffer, no doubt take a look at country ranks based on QoL factors, China is not a particularly free country.  That being said it has its benefits but there are not many for an older family such as yourselves.

New topic