New Country, New Me: Foreigners Discuss How They’ve Changed in China

New Country, New Me: Foreigners Discuss How They’ve Changed in China
Feb 20, 2017 Translated by

Editors Note: Foreigners have various reasons for coming to stay in China. However many may not expect the move to change them so much. In the following article some foreigners discuss how they have changed since coming to live in the Middle Kingdom.

Making China one’s permanent residence is by no means an easy task for foreigners who have wanted to do so. In the United States of America one million green cards are issued per year; in China the annual average is 248. Over time, China has come to be known as one of the hardest countries in the world to get a green card.


However, in recent years, the difficulty of obtaining “one of the hardest green cards to get in the world” has decreased. The Ministry of Public Security granted permanent residence to 1576 foreigners in 2016, 163 percent more than the year before.


They came, they stayed, but how have the lives of these foreigners changed?

Just as one Quora user living in China puts it, one is bound to experience culture shock at first, but if you can hold out for two years, you’ll grow to love this country and it’s people.

Another girl had similar sentiments and summed up a few changes in habit that she picked up in the Middle Kingdom. The first one is being ‘overly polite’. Originally she was always apologizing for bumping into people and other mistakes, saying thank you all the time.  She says now, “[She] saves her thank-yous, sorries and excuse-mes for when [she] really means it, not just as a conversation filler.”

She also no longer takes the medicine as much as she used to. If her throat hurts, she drinks ginger-brown sugar tea, body aches, she sleeps on a traditional wooden bed. All of these traditional Chinese remedies are adequate to take care of basic aches and pains.

After living in China for a while, she even learned how important it was to keep healthy. In Australia, she rarely thought about the temperature of her food and drinks. Everyone drinks cold beverages there because of the heat. On the contrary, in China, even in the hotter parts, people drink their beverages and eat their foods warm, believing that cold drinks harm one’s energy

A foreign mother living in China said that once she took her four-month-old baby out for a walk and had someone from the ‘temperatur police’ run up to her and insist she wrapped her child in another layer to keep it warm. Only a few minutes later, another person chased her down with a fan and started trying to cool her baby off.

Not all foreigners are limited to merely criticizing China from an outsider’s perspective. Some with high-level Chinese even frequent Zhihu (China’s answer to Quora) and talk about their experience of China and how they’ve changed since living here.

One Polish exchange student studying in China even took at liking to the selfie culture so popular among Chinese girls.

QQ News

When she went back home to visit, she even set the table Chinese-style.

She said, sometimes when she runs into another foreigner the first words out of her mouth are in Mandarin.

A Quora user sums it all up in his response to the question, “Why do some foreigners come to China?”

Photo: Quora

Source: QQ News

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Keywords: China Foreigner change


All comments are subject to moderation by staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate.



I love the crap in these stories, like the girl whose first words are Mandarin when she sees another foreigner-bullshit!- and the person who sets their table Chinese-style at home-bullshit!-why do some foreigners try too hard to change?

Feb 25, 2017 12:54 Report Abuse



I also have been changed a lot during my stay in China.

Feb 20, 2017 17:27 Report Abuse



This is a piss poor example of journalism, shame on the writer and this website for putting this garbage on the internet. 1576 permanent residents in 1.3 billion people, how generous, and how many years and much language ability to have a Chinese passport, how many, what's that, no response, cat got your tongue, come on speak up, I can't hear you.

Feb 20, 2017 15:36 Report Abuse



So, just to make it quite clear, this article was translated from the Chinese article. It doesn't necessarily reflect the views of eChinacities staff and it was translated into English to provide our readers with a look at how life for foreigners is portrayed in foreign media. If you disagree with the article, if it makes you upset, angry, causes you to experience profound existential melancholy or ecstatic joy, please feel free to to engage with whatever range of emotions that you feel this article triggers. Just do so knowing that the article doesn't reflect our views at all and that we translate them to try to give you a better look at perceptions of foreigners from a Chinese perspective.

Feb 20, 2017 16:00 Report Abuse



translate with a little doctoring just for good measure (dont want to be closed down now, do we !!!!!!!

Mar 02, 2017 08:12 Report Abuse



Feel free to read the original article yourself and provide a translation.

Jul 22, 2017 08:51 Report Abuse



Actually that was 1575 PRs in ONE year. Seems pretty generous to me. And what's the matter? Were you denied PR? If not, why do you even care?

Jan 13, 2018 15:51 Report Abuse



my point was you will never get a passport, just the PR. No one married to a Chinese can get a PR on a family visa because you are not allowed to work to show proof of income and taxes to get a PR. I you do have a z visa married to Chinese spouse and you finally get the PR. If your spouse dies for any reason, auto accident, cancer, etc. your PR is revoked. It's just smoke and mirrors.

Mar 12, 2018 11:49 Report Abuse



Why would you WANT a Chinese passport in the first place? Yeah if you are from some poorer place...then maybe. But I would never trade in an American, Canadian, British or for that matter any 'Western' passport for a Chinese one.

Apr 10, 2018 11:37 Report Abuse