How to Leave China in 6 Easy Steps

How to Leave China in 6 Easy Steps
Dec 02, 2011 By Susie Gordon ,

There comes a time in the lives of (most) expats when you just gotta go home. Maybe your work contract is about to end, or perhaps you’ve had your fill of China and feel that it’s time to move on. Maybe our recent article about reasons to leave China struck a chord, and you’re ready to pack your bags. If so, check out our practical tips for leaving. Hasta la vista!

How to leave china and move back home

Photo: ♥ Jaye

1) Resign
If you’ve come to the natural end of your contract, this won’t be a problem. However, if you want to leave before it’s due for renewal, make sure you know the legal ins and outs, such as how much notice you have to give, and whether you’re entitled to take any leftover vacation time. Organize a meeting with the HR department or talk directly to your boss

2) Book your ticket
Actually getting home is the whole point of the exercise, so try and book a flight as soon as you know for sure that you’re leaving. That way you’ll be more likely to get a good deal. If you have some time to play with, think about doing something “crazy” like taking the Trans-Siberian, or going home via New Zealand or Mumbai.

3) Get your stuff home (or dump it)
Depending on how much stuff you’ve accumulated over your time in China, you may be able to make it home with just a rucksack. On the other hand, if you’re a hoarder, you may need to box up your life and ship it to your home country. There are relocation agencies that will take the mafan out of the process, and we’d definitely recommend using one unless your Mandarin is good enough (and you have the time) to deal with customs officials and removal companies. Have a clean out before you pack, and ask yourself if you really need that hand-carved Shaolin club/silk tapestry/three years’ worth of empty baijiu bottles. Sell anything of value, or pass it on to friends who are sticking around.

4) Get your pet home
If you’ve kept a dog or cat in China and can’t bear leaving it behind with a friend or fosterer, there’s a process you have to go through to get it back to your home country. (Some countries don’t accept animals coming from China, so check before you start relocation procedures.) To pass customs, your pet will need to have a microchip (which it should do if you’ve taken it for its yearly check-ups and licensing if it’s a dog). It will also need a government-issued rabies shot from the local customs bureau. It will need a further rabies check four to seven days before you leave China; if all is well, an Export Certificate will be issued. The next step is booking a plane ticket for your furry pal, and sorting out a suitable cage for the big journey. If this sounds like an absolute nightmare, get in touch with an agent who will do the elbow work. Visit or contact St. Anthony’s ( for advice.

5) Square it with your landlord
All landlords are different. Some may be fine with you upping sticks before your tenancy agreement has run out, while others will kick up a fuss and insist that you pay out the remainder of your contract. Be prepared to negotiate. If you’re living in a shared apartment, offer to find a replacement tenant for your room before you go. And don’t forget to ask for your deposit back.

6) Prepare for culture shock
Culture shock works both ways. Over time you’ll have gotten used to China’s quirks, and maybe even come to love them, so going home and realizing that pushing your way onto the subway just doesn’t cut it in London/New York/Sydney can be a nasty surprise. The same goes for sparking up a cigarette in a bar, not leaving a tip, or getting trashed on the equivalent of 100 RMB. It just can’t happen back home. Be prepared that friends will have moved on while you’ve been away, and things might not be the same socially. Adjusting shouldn’t be as hard as it was when you moved to China, but be prepared nevertheless.

Related Links
The Shipping Forecast: How to Send Stuff Home From China
Culture Shock: Rules and Tools
Leaving China and the Challenges of Returning "Home"

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kids in school are almost never interested in what they have to learn anywhere. In Italy where I grew up, all my classmates in high school would be just as unenthusiastic about english as about all the other subjects. That's just what teenagers are like.
It's absurd to claim Chinese people are not enthusiastic about learning English. They are far too enthusiastic.

Dec 02, 2011 18:38 Report Abuse



you are absolutely right Mr.Thomas, people in white skin think they are white collar professionals and go on cheating poor china students.
They might be good at oral English but not at the level to guide children how exactly English is learnt, i pity Chinese children and i pity the institutions who hire them at the cost of earning money.

Dec 03, 2011 20:54 Report Abuse



China is a god forsaken sh!t hole, grass mud horse china.

Oct 05, 2013 10:15 Report Abuse