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China: Great Expectations

The popularity amongst young people considering living abroad continues to grow in our world, which conversely seems to be growing smaller and smaller by the year. As we move into a new age of diversity and freedom, young people are finding it more appealing than ever to leave their home countries behind and start an exciting life in a brand new culture.

Moving to live and work in a foreign country is all about gaining new experiences and learning a new way of life. It’s all too easy to become set in our ways and assume that what’s happening where we live is happening everywhere else. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The world is a vast and diverse place, and there’s no better time to leap head into it than when your mind is young and ready to absorb everything placed in front of it.

Up until recently, the majority of young people have looked to other western countries like America and Canada, or European giants like Germany, France and Spain for their move. Rarely do they look farther afield towards places like the fast East and China, where industry and economy are booming. Why is this?

It could well be that China feels too far away for a lot of westerners, but then Australia and New Zealand are also very popular destinations, and they are about as far away as you can get from the west, so that seems like an unlikely reason to not consider China. A lot of it probably comes down to a lack of exposure to the real Far East in western culture. Too many young people only know what they’ve seen in the news and movies. They don’t know the genuine benefits of living in a diverse and rewarding culture like China.

The language barrier may also be an issue, sure, but rather than letting something like that put you off, why not embrace it as a way of learning an interesting new language? Chinese is ancient and complex, but there’s no better way to learn a tongue than by completely immersing yourself in it. One doesn’t learn to swim by sitting on the edge of the pool.

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All things considered, China offers an appealing package of attractions for young people to consider.

Why study or work in China?

Economic growth

Thanks to its booming economic growth, the career prospects in China are at an all-time high. More and more companies from around the world are opening new offices, or even moving their head offices entirely to China, which increases the demand for skilled employees. Indeed, there is no denying the fact that China has been giving major world economies a run for their money, a fact which explains why young entrepreneurs are finding it feasible to invest in China.

It makes a welcome change from the perpetually imploding economies of the west. As a young skilled worker looking to study or complete an internship (or even go straight into full-time employment), China ought to look like an exciting prospect in times ahead.

Some internships require no foreign language skills

The aforementioned language barrier has the potential to discourage students before they even consider the benefits of interning abroad, but China is attempting to eliminate any such hurdles by offering an array of work placements which specifically cater to those people who don’t speak the language.

Not only that but completing an internship abroad, particularly in a booming country like China, gives one a distinct competitive advantage in the job market, whether that means traveling back to your home country or staying on to work in China.

The word internship in the west is usually a supplement slapped onto a job title which means the employer doesn’t have to pay you or pays little. In China, the range of internships offered to foreigners varies regarding pay. Some, like in the west, are unpaid, yet there are others which will pay adequately, even more than comparable to some of your Chinese coworker’s salaries. As a side not, this is one of the many reasons why you should never discuss your salary with your coworkers.

China is trying to gain more skilled workers with bilingual abilities, so it’s in their best interest to offer attractive routes to employment.

The educational system is great

One of the main reasons China has become such a popular place for international students is because it’s affordable, certainly compared with the majority of western cities like London, New York, and Paris.

But more than that, the actual quality of the education is exemplary and is set to continue improving as the Chinese government radically subsidizes its educational institutions. Just like in the job market, China is trying to become a superhub for international students, so there’s no better time for foreigners to get in on the action.

Working hours correlate to the west

In western countries, we’re used to working 9 to 6, Monday through Friday. China employs the same routine, so there won’t be too much of a culture shock when you arrive. While the Chinese culture is vastly different, there are small similarities which make life for an expat just a little bit easier.

It’s easier to land a job in China – especially if you’re already there

Unlike many Western countries, China’s economy is expanding, and more and more jobs are becoming available. In America and the UK, the competition for employment has reached astronomical levels of absurdity, where there can be as many as thousands of applicants for one opening. China prides itself of rapid expansion in nearly all the economic sectors.

Perhaps the most enthralling fact is that even if your desired company is based elsewhere in the world, you will stand a better chance of working for them in China if they’ve opened up shop there. If you’re already in the country, your attraction to a company rockets up even further.

Chinese employers prioritize jobs for locals with bilingual abilities, which means staying put in China after studying or interning gives you an instant advantage, not just over peers in more competitive countries, but over expats coming directly into the country to work.

Also worth bearing in mind is that the salaries for jobs with the same specifications can vary quite drastically depending on whether or not multiple languages are required (and if that’s not a good reason to embrace the language, what is?).

Higher salaries, ergo luxurious lifestyle

According to reports from HSBC Bank International Limited, nearly one-quarter of expats currently living in China earn as much as $200,000 per year for doing the same job as their contemporaries in the West. Money isn’t everything, but it’s a natural consideration for almost anyone thinking about moving to a new country.

Besides, who’s to argue with figures like this?

China is relatively cheap

To embellish those high salaries, which wouldn’t be much good if the cost of living was sky-high, goods and services are relatively cheap in China. From food and fuel to household luxuries and eating out, it’s possible to live quite a comfortable life while splashing out on luxuries every now and again.

Considering the rapid inflation of housing prices in western countries (let’s all just not think about the average house price in London, shall we?), for the more ambitious, money-savvy individuals out there, it’s also a great time to make some shrewd real estate investments.

Crime rates are low

As long as you stick to the main areas of the cities and don’t go wandering off into dodgy alleyways in the outskirts, you’ll feel very safe walking around China. The crime rate is surprisingly low for such a vastly populated country – and it is certainly less violence-prone than world cities like London and New York.

But what else does China have to offer?

Exploration

China is about more than just industry and prosperous career paths. While such factors may dictate your decision to immigrate there in the first place, there is simply so much more of the country to experience once you’ve arrived.

China is a vista of diverse, vast, and hauntingly beautiful landscapes to explore. The far east is often considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, so this is perfect for a young person with a desperate case of wanderlust. Don’t waste the opportunity when you are out there. Take some time off, even just a few days to explore the heart of this magical country.

Just taking some time to travel away from the big, bustling cities, away from the 1 billion people will do you a world of good. Let nature freshen your soul and gear you up for a new life. Also, because you’re already living and working in China, this will effectively cut the entire cost and travel time of a vacation. It’s win, win, and win again.

Immerse yourself in the culture

Just as there are more sights to explore in China than what you’ll find by remaining in the populated areas, there is also far more culture to experience. China has so much unused space with sporadically dotted tribes and villages of varying cultures. Once you’ve learned at least the basics of their complex language, try using it to speak to these locals and understand the history of the country you’ve decided to call home.

Even if it can be daunting to be a foreigner in a strange country, the Chinese are generally very welcoming people. They’re intrigued by new faces and ethnicities, and will often try to ask you questions. Take the chance to learn about a new culture while describing your own.

Even if it’s something as simple as trying an authentic Chinese meal cooked by a tribe member in a small Chinese village, you will have gained something. There is a high possibility you will have some rewarding experience which will stay with you throughout your life and perhaps even shape you as a person. This is the kind of soulful experience just not attainable in many other places.

Natural wonders

Some of China’s urban architecture is breathtaking in itself, but try swapping these modern gems for some natural wonders and start checking things off your bucket list. China is home to some of the most truly spectacular views in the world.

There’s the Great Wall of China, of course (which isn’t visible from space but is certainly impressive up-close), the epic Mount Everest, the spectacular and haunting Wulingyuan mountains, the Tiger Leaping Gorge…the list goes on, and the attractions only improve. China is one of the most naturally spectacular countries in the world, so even when there isn’t some famous park or mountain range in front of you, the landscape is always beautiful.

Why you should put China on the list

China is certainly an interesting and appealing prospect for young people considering where they might want to immigrate, even if its reach still isn’t quite long enough. But that lack of exposure shouldn’t result in young people missing out. Nobody’s saying you have to go and intern in China, but it’s at least worth putting it on the list because the prospects are so vast.

It also can’t be denied that China’s popularity with expats is growing – the figures don’t lie. Compared to even just a few years ago, the numbers are steadily increasing in line with the country’s economy. What’s important to remember if you’re considering going to China to study or carry out an internship and then work, is that the Chinese want you to come. They want to draw foreigners into the country who will help to continue driving their already bustling industry.

They may have a seventh of the world’s population, but they are still looking for skilled individuals.

One of the secret keys to employment is to create a demand and invaluableness, to make oneself an absolute necessity to the company. With that necessity practically guaranteed in the Chinese workplace, coupled with the chance to learn new languages, gain wildly unique experiences, and appreciate a whole new part of the world, there are virtually no better options.

Embrace a new way of life, a new challenge, a new world. Experience the magic of China!

China: Great Expectations
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