It's been nearly 9 months since I've started living in China. The only thing I can say is that it has truly been an adventure. One thing is certain, not once have I ever thought of China as a bad place to work or live. This is a great country with so much opportunity. Actually, the amount of success and freedom here seems unrealistic. What do I mean by this?
Living in China is like no other experience. These are just my personal experiences, and everyone will have their own opinions, which is cool.
Yes, I do have a very positive outlook on China, and no, not everything is perfect. China, like any other country has their fair share of problems. Pollution in China is a problem, but it's a developing country with so much potential to take over the world in terms of infrastructure influence, speed of getting things done quickly and having some of the best transportation systems that the world has ever seen. Look at cities like Shanghai, Chongqing and Chengdu. These cities were all grasslands about 20 years ago, and now they are the main economic hubs of what will soon be the strongest economic power in the world.
There are so many good things about China, and complaining about the little things that annoy you just makes you seem like someone who really doesn't know how to have fun and enjoy yourself. Even if you go to the most 1st world countries, you will find problems. It amazes me how I have read so many posts by Americans about how bad China is, but China's crime rate is so low that it's actually astonishing considering the population here vs America with some of the highest crime cities in the world.
Let's start by saying that with China, either you will love it, or hate it. In my opinion, China is the best place to live. Why?
1. Financial Freedom
I look at the fact that you can purchase housing for a very reasonable cost, and even if you have a teaching job, it is possible to save half of your earnings and use that to travel, go out to eat at nice restaurants, and just have a good time. Rent is usually low, unless you're in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, or Guangzhou, but even in these cities, you can still save money. There's no debt here, there's no financial burdens. You can save enough money to travel the world. Teaching jobs give you medical insurance, and utilities are low in cost as well. You can rent an apartment in China that is VERY nice and MUCH CHEAPER than you ever could imagine in the west. Food is good and yet very cheap too. I can buy a VERY nice dinner for about 20-30 kuai which is only 5 USD, but a good 10 kuai meal (1.6 USD) can fill you up as well. China is a great place to live!!
Quick fact: I bought 8 vegetable steamed buns for 4 kuai. (85¢) That's less than a dollar.
Unlike so many western countries, China has an extremely low crime rate. I would never be able to go out at 2am back home without making sure that my wallet, phone and other belongings were always with me. Not saying that you shouldn't be careful in China, because no matter where you go, you always need to be aware of your surroundings. The point is that, I'm not looking around to see if someone might mug me in China. It's a very safe place to live.
The food.........is amazing!!! China has so many styles of food to offer. Everyone knows about dumplings and noodles, but there is so much more. Each province/region in China is known for a certain style of food.
For example: Sichuan province, southwest (Chongqing & Chengdu) is known for having spicy hot pot. They say that this style of hot will numb your mouth, so get ready.
Shanxi province, northeast (Taiyuan) is known for having the best noodles in China and the best vinegar as well. Noodles are prepared in the style of a show. They make noodles by chopping up dough with chopsticks, and there's one style where there is one very long noodle that they coil for a while and when it's cooked, it looks awesome. There are many other ways that the Taiyuan people make noodles. It's pretty cool.
With cities on the east coast of China (Hangzhou, Qingdao, Xiamen, and others coastal cities) they are known for having amazing sea food. Crab, fish, squid, shrimp and other amazing fresh seafood delicacies are all in the coastal cities. I never liked shrimp until I went to Hangzhou. The Chinese coastal cities are the only places where I want to eat seafood.
There are many other reasons why China is a great place to live, but if you really want to know what you will like about China, then come here and see for yourself. Don't rely heavily on blogs because unfortunately, there is so much negativity that it is posted.
However, this is how I feel about China, and I have no plans on living in the west any time soon. I love China, and this is my home.
Tags:General Food Expat Rants & Advice Expat Tales Lifestyle
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Hey Hadley, we came around the same time, people kept responding to my positive feeling in the same manner "Just wait, you're here for a short time, ..." That was three months of being in China, they still say the same thing, I still choose to think like you. We are guests here and have to respect the customs and even bad habits of our hosts. I love your attitude, it makes you live a much richer life.
May 27, 2014 12:32 Report Abuse
Thank you. If you can see the positives and embrace the fact that you can live a good life here, then you can truly be happy. If you can't be happy, then what else is there to be? Thanks for your comment, it means a lot. Hope you continue to have a great life here.
May 27, 2014 13:31 Report Abuse
Hadley, what you're missing out on when talking about the high cost of health care in the US is that ITS REAL MEDICINE. I agree with you 100% it's outrageous the cost of health care and I support Obamacare 100%. Terrible roll-out but long overdue for the USA. But China's health care system is BS. Yes, you can see the doctor for $10 and get a random IV drip...BUT THATS NOT MODERN MEDICINE. Going to a real hospital and getting the same QUALITY of care is significantly more expensive than in the US. Most people are poor here, so there has to be a doctor they can afford to go to, but that doesn't make that doctor worth seeing.
May 27, 2014 12:22 Report Abuse
Thank you so much for this information about China. I have a lot of Chinese friends here in my country, most of them were my students before. They have encouraged me to experience working in China as an ESL teacher. Next week, I will be signing a contract with a university in Hebei. I'm pretty excited about this step that I'm gonna take. I'm putting all my hopes up.
May 23, 2014 12:55 Report Abuse
before you sign a contract, make sure EVERYTHING is spelled out clearly: hours, salary, accommodation (ask for photo's), responsibilities, what is included in the package (utilities and internet are usually included). If your questions are deflected or dismissed, persist until EVERYTHING is clearly written, in English. Otherwise when you arrive you will find 'promises' are not kept. Better to go with realistic expectations. Good luck!
May 25, 2014 00:44 Report Abuse
I don't know much about Hebei, but I hope everything goes well for you. This is a big, challenging and fun step in life and it's really fun. Please keep thinking positively and live the life you want to live. In China, you can live a great life. Have a great time. I just signed a contract to a great city that is unknown to most unless you live in China, but I am excited as well. My year year has been great and life changing. I love China. Be safe, and live your life to the fullest! :)
May 26, 2014 09:10 Report Abuse
Life is great in China? WTF? is this an advertisement? Do you like everyone staring at you calling you by your new found name "laowai"? The food sucks because they are too lazy to take the time to remove the bones from meats like chicken and fish. Then laugh at you because you are not using the 2 stupid sticks(chop sticks) like they do.Children walking around in crotchless pants squatting and urinating where they are standing whilst you step over a yellow river of piss. Grown men pissing on every wall in the area, and every time it's hot the smell of urine wafts up to your nostrils while you step over seemingly endless piles of trash. I live in rural China too, and there is no one to talk to here, no foreigners, no one that has our western point of view. Just lines of cars and trucks constantly honking, while they drive in the wrong lane ignoring all traffic laws. Financial freedom? Housing per square foot is some of the most expensive realestate in the world, and you only have an apartment,never a yard with grass.
Jul 02, 2014 01:22 Report Abuse
I have to agree with Hadley, living in China is quite rewarding in comparison to living in the USA. I also think it's important for us foreigners to see ourselves as guests here and minimize our complaints. Who knows, maybe more positive expats like Hadley might take the edge off of some of the anti-foreigner thinking Chinese?
May 20, 2014 11:30 Report Abuse
don't quite agree with the food. If you aren't slightly worried about food safety in China then there's something wrong. Coming from a guy slightly worried about what we are sold in American supermarkets as food, I know that China cuts many more corners. Remember, health is number 1 in a number such as one million, and all else in life is 0's. Without it, everything else (all those place holders)loses all value.
May 16, 2014 21:21 Report Abuse
In China the produce and meat sold in wet markets is the same quality as the same items sold in Wal-Mart here. Actually, Wal-Mart often edges out the wet markets by providing higher quality with lower prices! If you look at the items being sold, they are mostly the same in terms of color, shape, and even taste. It's not like an American farmer's market here, where those items are grown and produced more naturally, yet cost a bit more money. Here, they cost more money but don't carry the other perks. Just talking about Wal-mart here, not those Chinese chains. (those are actually quite horrific in terms of quality) Keep in mind I live in a second tier city so if you are living in the countryside you may actually have access to better meat.
May 23, 2014 22:42 Report Abuse
"the nationalist (coward) youth who will catcall foreigners when they are with their 20 buddies but look down on the ground when they are alone" Not exactly, even when they are with their "20 pinky friends" they won't do anything, they think they can laugh at the foreigner cos the foreigner won't step forward. It happened a lot to me, they start to want to play with me, I look at them like i want to kill them or ask them " 你们有什么问题" in a high tone, and one of friends will stand out and say "对不起对不起!!". A very few of times 2 or 3 of them stand out to start a fight. Also not only youth, grown men (is there is such in this country..) do it even more often than them, and much more aggressively. The food is good and cheap, except for the occasional swimming fly in the soup or the adventurous cockroach climbing out the bowl. "You will open your eyes soon or late, everyone does" And close them too, a little by little...
Jun 26, 2014 19:19 Report Abuse
Isn't this post pretty much the same as the last one? Your points on the good things of China are valid. But I don't think it helps new foreigners to China to focus only on the good and not on the bad. You should paint them a balanced view but you can't because you haven't been here quite long enough. Give it a few years and you will see things perhaps under a new perspective. The good and the bad.
May 16, 2014 01:32 Report Abuse
Maybe you're right and I know at this point I am bias, but compared to America where I would be in serious debt if I ever got hurt, or would have to spend most of my salary on everything I needed and not be able to really enjoy my life, I think China is a great place.
May 16, 2014 05:06 Report Abuse
JayKnox, not everyone is fortunate enough to buy health insurance, maybe you are, and good for you. However, it's expensive and many companies still won't pay for your full medical care like other countries will. There's no point in having the best hospitals when there are so many people who cant even afford them. Maybe you came from a nice suburban or city area, but it's not like that for everyone. Also, I live in rural China, there's almost no western food here. I love Chinese food, but that's just me.
May 16, 2014 20:37 Report Abuse
lol, I can see where you are coming from. However, Obamacare still doesn't do everything it says it does. There are still many people who have illnesses that insurance wont cover 100% of. I know you only get the news thats given to you, but it not the way it seems. At least healthcare for you is a right. For americans, its a privilege. I get free healthcare in China and the hospitals are pretty good. No, I don't live in a village, but it is more rural. I've been sick already and the hospital took good care of me. It was much different and a bit more long winded than I may have wanted, but it's better than not having any care at all. The food here is great and its cheap. The fruit here is delicious and so I can buy so much for so much less than in the states. I have pure economic freedom. I love it here.
May 17, 2014 11:25 Report Abuse
Very happy that u like here and think this is the best place to live ! As a Chinese, I am very proud of that ! Honestly there are lots of things unperfect in shanghai but shanghai city is trying and ppl are trying too! Anyway, hope ur enjoy your best life here!
May 15, 2014 21:24 Report Abuse