Don't Worry, Be Happy: 6 Tips to Enjoy Your Stay in China

Don't Worry, Be Happy: 6 Tips to Enjoy Your Stay in China
Mar 16, 2016 By Amlan Aparajit

Soon I will be celebrating the 2nd anniversary of my love affair with China and its citizens. I was not born here, I have not fought battles for this nation, I have not had a hand in building this country, but I have a growing affinity for everything here.

On the other hand, I’ve seen many foreigners who are very unhappy with this country. I thought I could share some things that I have learned to love from being in this country for so long. I hope they work out for all of us to lead a happy life in China.

1) Discover the Culture
All cultures have their quirks, and if you are going to live in their country, either accept the good, the bad, and the ugly, or stay home. China has a wonderfully rich culture different from any other, and 5,000 years of it to learn about. Taichi, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Wushu, Kong Fu, Calligraphy, Beijing Opera are all part of that beautiful culture. Enjoy them, and accept the small annoyances that come from the parts of the culture that most foreigners shy away from.

2) Learn the Language
It’s not as hard as people make it out to be. It shows respect for the country you are living in or people you chose to live with. I’m not asking you to master the language. Not everyone could do that, including me. But learn the basics. Be able to ask the name of a road, buy a train ticket and such simple things. This is important because most of the unhappy foreigners I’ve come across are unhappy because they can't express simple things. They don’t know the language and most importantly, are not interested in learning it. They keep thinking the whole world should understand their language, which presumably is “English”. 

Don’t expect a migrant saleswomen to understand your English with your accent. Don't expect security guards, taxi drivers and municipality workers to understand your importance. People can survive without knowing the word “hello”. Face up to that fact. This will give you the motivation to quickly figure out simple dialogue, which will make your daily life easier, and it will make you much happier.

3) Get Grounded
Find an expat group to be a part of. There are some organizations that conduct weekend events for expats (like hellonanjing). Do not hesitate to be a part of it. There are baseball, football and even basketball leagues. Joining an expat group is critical if you want to stay longer than one year. There will be times when no matter how much you love China, you will need to hang out with fellow foreigners.

4) Understand Biases Towards Other Races
Whenever I run into a white guy, my friends and I will debate how long will it take him to date a beautiful Chinese girl. Perhaps less than one week. They easily win the affection of the beauties of this country. I really have no idea where they pick up these girls. However, this makes other foreigners with a different skin color unhappy. DO NOT BE.

We can’t change the collective attitude of the people towards other races, which have built up over decades. Rather than complaining and getting angry, we should try to find exceptions. Believe me, there are jewels of people in this country who care more about the person and his attitude/personality rather than the skin color or nationality. Try to find those gems. I found a lot after living in Nanjing, I’m loved by everyone. It is hard, but I’m sure there are many of them.

5) Escape from your Comfort Zone
I’ve seen many people here find their own country’s people and spend the whole of their days in China with their own people. They go out together, dine together and play together. They build their little town here in China (like the Chinatowns in US).What’s the point of being in a different country if you spend all of your life with your own people? You can do that back in your motherland. I agree this feels safe and comfortable at first. However, escape from this safe zone to experience the entire spectrum of experience China has to offer.

6) Eat the Food
I can't tell you how many stories I have involving Chinese food. Some of it surprisingly delicious, some of it disgusting, either way I have a story. Try not to think too much about the quality or the stomach ache you will get the next day, just go on your own foodie adventure and try new things. Some are amazing!!!

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Keywords: happiness China tips enjoy China


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I love china

Apr 15, 2017 15:56 Report Abuse



This may be helpful for new-comers.

Jan 12, 2017 23:21 Report Abuse



Awesome observations. Fine article!

Apr 30, 2016 14:15 Report Abuse



I would like to add one more tip to your list, one I believe to be the most important one: Accept China. I tell myself this every time I come across something weird, even to a point whereby most would call it unacceptable. But this is China, and you're a guest.

Apr 21, 2016 10:28 Report Abuse



Love how you get someone who has only been here for 2 years talking out their ass. Everything written in this article is stupid and I have no doubt the writer will be gone in less than 5 years. It's idiots like this that make me avoid expats when I see them. Such an astounding degree of arrogance that's just mind boggling.

Mar 30, 2016 06:15 Report Abuse



Good advice. It's so easy to be negative. "When in CHINA, do as the CHINESE!" Pound for pound, despite the daily culture shock and extreme social backwardness of some residents, you'd be hard pressed to find a country with greater opportunities today for the average foreigner.

Mar 24, 2016 15:47 Report Abuse



Mar 21, 2016 13:27 Report Abuse



Why do certain groups of individuals have entitlement issues. It seems like the world owes them something.

Mar 21, 2016 13:47 Report Abuse



Well, this works to a certain level/time period and then you still get fed up with the differences in culture...

Mar 20, 2016 19:31 Report Abuse




Mar 19, 2016 16:25 Report Abuse



I agree, there are an awful lot of LBH expats in China. Most of them are LBH English teachers. I stay away from them as much as possible because they are here to F around and they have no goals in life. Most of the expat women are fat and ugly. It's interesting, I've seen many expat women come to China thin and somewhat good looking. After a couple of years here, they start to gain weight. I don't know why.

Mar 19, 2016 11:52 Report Abuse



Hahaha. I second that

Mar 19, 2016 14:03 Report Abuse



How did your non-loser ass end up in China then? Because you sound AMAZING! A real thrill!

Mar 18, 2016 13:31 Report Abuse



Your description of the 90% represents about 99% of the commenters on this web forum.

Mar 18, 2016 21:14 Report Abuse



You in turn sound like someone who cannot read English with understanding

Mar 18, 2016 22:04 Report Abuse



4) White skin is worshiped in China and the rest of Asia. Even in India white skin is prized. Add this -----------------> 7) Kiss Chinese peoples' butts. Treat them better than you would treat family.

Mar 17, 2016 17:37 Report Abuse



Even in India white skin is prized ? Are you high ? No one will hire on base of your nationality or white skin in India. no girl will give dam shit attention to white skin or nationality even. and yes have some gut to use your own account while comment.

Mar 20, 2016 12:25 Report Abuse



@Platelet, when was the last time you had contact with the real world. This is just fact, I don't agree with it.

Mar 20, 2016 13:59 Report Abuse



Mar 20, 2016 14:03 Report Abuse



@guest14480640 , Had you examine yourself for Dyslexia ? The way you write my name,you should. Wow,now see you are so connected to real world,i mean see you sent me links..bravo. smell the coffee man, plz don't die at some 网吧 ! Do u even have any friends from India? do u ever visited India? do u even have any friend who ever visited India? do u have any wikipedia kind any real source data to prove your point? come on .. . again, Don't be ashamed and insecure of being yourself,i know you need to but at least use your real account. And yes my name is Dr. Bhim Patel.

Mar 20, 2016 15:19 Report Abuse



Again, I don't agree with it but it is what it is.

Mar 20, 2016 16:57 Report Abuse



Do you know that it is a crime to impersonate a medical doctor? Do you have a sense of humor? Have you ever studied English grammar? I have female friends from India, I texted them and they confirmed what I said. They said they prefer Caucasian males.

Mar 20, 2016 17:01 Report Abuse



Well put buddy @bhimpatel

Mar 21, 2016 14:58 Report Abuse



@Guest14480640 / doejohn123 or dieJohn123 whatever tool you are.please teach me english grammar as i am dying without learning it. Next day i texted the queen of Britain(An island beside Europe somewhere?) as having indian DNA roots herself she confirmed with "the" point "that in India you do not get hired for a job or get a girl just for you being white or having xyz nationality. Neither you do get higher salary than your counterpart colleagues from India for same job or work.

Mar 21, 2016 14:59 Report Abuse



@bumplatelet, India also has a caste system, which means because of your socioeconomic status, you won't be able to get a good job or fit in. Indian women can marry whomever they want, it is their choice, if they don't want Indian men, that's fine, if they do want them that is okay.

Mar 22, 2016 08:39 Report Abuse