Making the decision to move to China may sound terrifying and drastic to most people. It’s a different language, a different culture and such a diverse country that it almost seems like another world. But fortune favors the bold! There are hundreds of reasons to move to China to live and work, but here are seven to get you started.
The cost of living upon moving to China will depend on two things: the city you choose and yourself. Major cities along or close to the east coast, like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, tend to have pretty high prices when it comes to housing. Luckily, many jobs (notably English teaching) provide housing assistance either in the form of an apartment or an allowance.
If you live in a smaller city, particularly out west, the housing will be laughably cheap. Regardless of where you end up you can find yourself in pretty nice digs, especially if you don’t mind commuting to your job, as apartments farther away from the city centres tend to be cheaper.
Food is another major cost, but how much you spend will depend on your personal tastes. I’ve met many foreigners who spend large chunks of their salary buying imported food, because we all know traveling is about painstakingly recreating the experiences of your home environment. The bottom line is foreign food is taxed and tends to be at foreign prices. If you cannot change your eating habits, therefore, you might find yourself spending a lot of money on food.
Luckily, Chinese food is generally extraordinarily cheap, and a bowl of noodles, vegetables and a dusting of meat will typically cost you between 6 and 20 RMB, around 1-3 USD. You can easily feed yourself for 10 USD or under a day if Chinese food is up your alley. Basic groceries, like fruit, vegetables, bread and so on, are also generally cheap so long as you shop where the locals go and avoid big mall supermarkets.
A move to China tends to appeal to a younger transient crowd who are looking to explore the world on the cheap. Consequently, these people usually move on after a year or two. This, combined with China’s massive domestic job market, helps to create a pretty steady demand for foreign workers in a wide variety of fields, ranging from education to business, writing, translation and web/app development.
There’s always jobs for foreigners in China and the pay can often match or exceed what you’d make back home. Combined with the low day-to-day expenses, you can enjoy a fairly high standard of living with low levels of stress.
A common complaint of younger people is an inability to get the required experience to pursue a career in a field they’re interested in. This brings us to a second benefit of working in China: it’s easy to build work experience in almost any field. As long as you’re willing to relocate, you can likely find a position in China doing something related to a field you’re interested in.
A drawback of travel in general is that certain countries tend to favour certain flavours. That means if you’re in a smaller country it can be difficult to satisfy cravings for certain dishes. While this might not seem like a big deal before you move, if you’re a spice monster, living somewhere where the spiciest dish you can find is ketchup will start to wear on you over time.
Luckily, China is huge and Chinese cuisine is diverse. You can find pretty much any flavour you’re craving embodied in a type of Chinese food. Spicy, salty, savory, sour and sweet foods all have their place on the Chinese dinner table. With each province having several local delicacies to sample, you could spend years eating you way around China.
If you’re like me, you’re the type of person who people hate accompanying to museums because you read the plaque for everything from the antique bronze mirrors to the wagon axles. China has got people like us covered.
With the rapid expansion of the Chinese economy in the last three decades and the subsequent construction chewing up the landscape, almost every day produces amazing new archaeological finds that the Chinese have generally been quick to enshrine in excellent museums. Every major city in the country has ancient historical sites and a museum containing hundreds of artifacts from dynasties spanning thousands of years.
Although it sounds like an oxymoron, with so many recent finds, China offers the unique opportunity for visitors to be on the cutting edge of history. The pace of excavation of material artifacts here far outpaces the Western literature describing them.
If you hate museums and dry historical descriptions though, don’t worry! China has still got you covered. Even cursory wanderings through cities or provincial areas will see you stumble on amazing architecture, ancient temples, cool cultural activities, festivals and beautifully sculpted parks. Regardless of your disposition, China will culture you.
Places like Guilin, Jiu Zhai Gou and Wulingyuan, to name a few, are where words truly fail to convey the epic natural majesty on display. Throw in a whole series of holy Taoist, Confucian and Buddhist mountains and you have a staggering list of natural sites to visit, hike or bike in China.
If you want the natural experience without the pesky exercise, you’re still in luck. Most major natural attractions in China have cable cars or buses you can use to tour the sites without breaking a sweat. If you’re interested in seeing natural wonders unlike anything you’ll get at home, pretty much any city in China has a place nearby to blow your mind.
A move to China also provides obvious language learning opportunities. The Chinese language has a bad rap for being difficult to learn, but there are two facts you should be aware of:
- No-one speaks Mandarin as their first language. It was established at the dawn of the People’s Republic to facilitate communication among the provinces. While Mandarin is based on the northeast dialects, centered around Beijing, many people in China speak it with strong accents or the wrong tones. Since even Chinese people speak it differently, many are able to understand foreigners so long as they have context.
-Chinese characters are actually fairly simple to read once you memorize a few hundred component characters. Combined with the fact that no-one really writes characters anymore because everything is done on cell phones and computers, attaining basic literacy and the ability to communicate via text is not as daunting as it first appears. Consequently, learning Mandarin is not completely impossible, and it will definitely open up a whole new world of personal and professional opportunities.
The main reason to make a move to China outside of economic factors is that China is a fascinating place. Seeing how another group of people live and think automatically expands your perception.
There’s always someone doing something new, inexplicable or intriguing on the streets here. Recruiters like to use the cliché that living in China “is an adventure”, but in truth that’s exactly on the mark. China is a lot of things, but one thing it isn’t: boring.
So grab your passport, book your flight, and make the move to the Middle Kingdom!
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Keywords: move to China
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I always move to countries when the economies are slowing down, debt is exploding, and cameras watch everything I do, the good times are just around the corner. Don't forget to get a souvenir at the George Orwell museum while your here.
Jul 30, 2018 09:47 Report Abuse
I love China, I have heard lots of things about it and ready to relocate to China. So far I have taught English in Turkey, Thailand and my country Iran for more than a decade and I assume China will overwhelm me by its majesty and its friendly people. WECHAT ⏩ bahram_new
Jul 26, 2018 13:02 Report Abuse