Have you ever asked yourself ‘Why do people choose to move to China’? We are sure, you have, or at least you are now. It’s hard to explain ‘why’, because when you get to know the country better, you’ll just know, it’s awesome – but that won’t persuade you, will it?
That’s why we came up with top eleven reasons, which might give you a clue to what China really is like and if it might be the place for you.
Be a local superstar
‘Why would I be a star?’ you might wonder. Well, simply because you are different.
Don’t worry though. China does not only have the largest population on Earth – lots of foreigners come to visit the country or to work here every year. It’s full of Europeans and Americans, so you won’t feel alone or unsafe. The number of Americans living in China is currently somewhere between 71,000 and 110,000 people, which makes this group one of the largest among those of foreign residents.
On the other hand, in China, you are mostly surrounded by Han Chinese, which makes you stand out and feel very special even in everyday life. Don’t be afraid, the Chinese are not xenophobes – on the contrary, they are very friendly and curious. You might feel awkward at first, when people ask you for a picture in the middle of the street or stare at you, or come to touch your hair etc. The best way to handle this is to accept this attention and live the life of a foreign superstar. Isn’t it fun after all?
Cheap and delicious food
Since we are making a list of good things about living in China, we can’t possibly leave out the food. It would be a crime!
Even if you are not in love with Chinese cuisine, trust us, you will become a huge fan very soon. If you already know something about traditional meals and have tasted some, be ready for a shock. Food in China is a whole different experience! Moreover, while living here, many foreigners discover the riches of regional cooking.
There is no unique recipe for a ‘Chinese meal’, since there are 8 main culinary traditions, each having its particularities. One good reason to live in the PRC is to try everything: in some traditions they braise ribs in a mix of sugar and soy sauce till they are really soft, in others they prefer the spicy flavor, adding a lot of garlic and chili pepper. In some parts of China they caramelize fruit with honey, in others, they eat bean soups and sticky rice cakes or almond cookies.
To make it short, food is extremely diverse and delicious, and doesn’t cost much, unlike in the West!
The friendliest nation on Earth
Actually, China is an ideal destination for those, who want to make new friends and enrich their experience. People here are extremely nice, kind and helpful. Complete strangers would help you out or give advice on something, and you wouldn’t need to ask twice. Of course, sometimes it may be tough to ask for directions – especially outside big cities – if you don’t speak Mandarin, but the case is not hopeless. Even without any knowledge of the language you can still survive and find English-speaking locals.
Chinese are quite easy-going – you can become really good friends after a 15-minute talk.
Don’t forget point 1: in China, you are almost a star, so people tend to be interested in you and to know you better. In fact, living in China as a foreigner, you might get surprised at how well you are treated everywhere. Well, enjoy!
High salaries and cheap life
A foreign specialist in China can earn far above average wages without having to work extra hours or have any unique qualifications. English is a key to promotion and good positions, because, since the economy is developing fast, more enterprises want to become international, attract foreign investors and partners. This makes English speakers worth weight in gold.
Where do people work in China? Almost anywhere! You can get a job in industry or management, or teaching (which is one of the most popular).
Our European and American clients, who worked in China, usually point out the low cost of living and fairly good pay that foreigners tend to get. Although, at first sight, $1.500 or $2.500 do not appear to be a decent salary, it’s quite the opposite, because services, apartment rent, and bills, food, and goods cost much less, so even with $1.500 per month, an ordinary non-native English-teacher can afford to travel regularly, get clothes, eat out and put some money by. Sounds incredible, huh?
Get to drink some quality tea
The very first thing many Chinese still ask you is if you have eaten. Well, tea is just as important.
Actually, people here can tell your social and financial status by the way you drink your tea. The variety you prefer also counts! Tea ceremonies are a traditional way to finish business agreements and transactions.
As we already know, the answer to the question ‘Is it cheap to live in China?’ is positive, but if you happen to be passionate about green tea, things might change drastically (just kidding). Ordinary tea costs about 20 RMB per 500 g, but high-quality types might cost several hundred or even thousands of yuan (more expensive than a scooter!).
Tea you get to drink here is very different from the one we have on foreign markets, so visiting China is an awesome opportunity to taste something new.
Huge and diverse
Various landscapes, breathtaking views, cultural riches, flower festivals, and modern skyscrapers. That describes China best. You can’t possibly see everything in just one vacation as a tourist. A true Asia-lover must spend at least a year to feel the atmosphere of this place, to get to know it and to know its people.
Is China a nice place to live? No. It’s an amazing place. Staying here is the kind of experience that will change your entire life and give you a new perspective on different aspects of life.
China is diverse – there is no unique nation or religion, or tradition here – you’ll stumble on something new every time you visit a different town or village. Working in the PRC, a foreigner can afford small trips around the country on a regular basis, so it’s a unique chance to visit all popular tourist attractions and go further: see the Terracotta army and the Great Wall, and then go off the beaten path, visiting Shangli or Hangzhou with its heavenly landscapes and the amazing lake.
Why do people live in China like that?
Everyone’s heard about impolite Chinese drivers and open-crotch pants of toddlers. That’s true! A foreigner can’t get away from it – he/she has to experience a culture shock because that’s a natural way of things. If you are not used to having your washing machine in the bathroom, it might also seem weird and illogical at first, but you’ll understand the reason later.
There are some things about China, that a Western person just can’t understand. One of these is very young children peeing and doing number 2 in public places. ‘That’s just awful’, you might say, ‘why don’t they use diapers?’ Actually, if you consider how many people currently live in China and how many diapers would be thrown away daily, you’ll see, that those split pants cause much less harm than would have been done to the environment otherwise. Plus, it helps finish toilet training earlier, because without a diaper a child learns to control urinating and defecation at a younger age. So, you see, there is an explanation, now those trousers don’t seem crazy anymore.
Beautiful and easy to learn
You might have a preconception about Mandarin and believe it’s one of those impossible things in this world a Western person just can’t master. That’s totally wrong!
Mandarin has a pretty simple grammar, so it’s fairly easy to start speaking and chit-chatting with your colleagues. You won’t need to spend months on studying the language – it will come naturally and fast.
Here is one of the main reasons why you should visit China: it’s a great chance to immerse yourself in the Mandarin-speaking environment and learn faster. Believe us, a few classes with a tutor and a friendly ear of a local friend will teach you in no time!
Although, the written language will take more time and effort (since speaking and spelling are two different things in Mandarin), once you’ve started talking, you’ll see, that nothing is too hard.
Travel around Asia
Here is another perk about staying here. Ask a foreigner: ‘What is it like living in China?’ It’s about being able to pack your things and spend a weekend in Japan or Macao.
Big cities are a great base for trips around Asia. Flights from Beijing are cheaper than from European or American cities, plus they won’t take an eternity to arrive at your destination: 5 hours to Bangkok, 6 hours to Singapore, 5 hours to Thailand etc.
Cheap sleeper trains and buses are also available for trips around China. They might not be very comfortable compared to planes, because on holidays and weekends they tend to be quite crowded. On the other hand, if you can deal with this, you’ll save extra money for restaurants and more adventures.
Technology in everyday life
This part is especially true about big cities like Beijing. Here you can order food, make an online purchase, call a car or pay your bills without any need to leave your seat or communicate with anyone. In fact, a foreigner’s life in Beijing can be very easy even if he doesn’t speak a word of Chinese because all interaction with the outer world can be done in a few clicks. If you have a tablet and a smartphone, your living might be even too convenient here!
The country’s economy is growing fast, creating new opportunities, developing infrastructure, facilities and bringing innovations into everyday life. China is the country, where they seem to invent devices (which you may see on Aliexpress) and offer new useful services every week. While you stay here, you’ll be able to get the most of it!
Big cities are safe
Unfortunately, Chinese cities have a poor reputation: all of us heard about pickpocketing and petty thefts, which seem to happen to every single tourist once he’s stepped on the Chinese land. It’s a pure misconception!
In fact, big cities are the best places to live in China and are quite safe, because thefts and serious crimes are very low here, compared to Western capital cities. Although pickpocketing does occur, it’s not common and can be easily avoided, if you watch your pockets, hold your smartphone firmly and don’t leave bags or personal belongings out of your sight.
So, no foreigner is in danger while visiting or working in China.
Do you like what we’ve described above? If you feel like moving to Shanghai from the US or coming to another Chinese city, but don’t have any job offer yet, here is our plan. We are an agency, offering teaching jobs for native and non-native English speakers! It’s a great opportunity for those, who have no work experience or certificates but are passionate about traveling, sharing their knowledge of mother tongue and discovering new things. ESL jobs here are an easy way to gain international experience, get a new profession and earn money for further studies or other projects.
As no certificates or prior experience are expected, all you should do is apply via our website. Maybe you are the kind of teacher we need right now!