China is among the countries that have a historical depth of culture, a population that spreads far in all directions. It is attractive for the Westerners working and seeking experience to live in a foreign country. China attracts foreigners by both its present and past profile, through its history and economic opportunities, respectively.
Don’t be misled by the element of awful media mostly portrayed in the West. On the other hand, China isn’t simple. The different social constitution and expectations, lack of communicating capability in English, and the uneven levels of modernity and development, all come together and make it a difficult place to live for foreigners who do not speak Mandarin and who are not accustomed to living in foreign countries. For those who embrace the challenge that is living in China, their returns are undeniable. You get a chance to learn about various ways of viewing the world from a country that has historically produced so much innovative thought.
Study and Work in China
Work opportunities in China mostly relate with the expertise required in certain fields. Certain industries that need immigrant experts are the large hotels where you get to work as a chef, or mid-position manager, advanced industries who require scientists, and in marketing. For all these jobs you obviously require to possess a proficiency that is in small supply in China. In case you don’t, the available option is to teach English or intern. It is simple finding an English-teaching job where the demand often outdoes supply, and these coaching posts may be found mostly in China be it in small or big towns (or cities).
Much information has been covered in different areas about the speedily-available option to teach in English. There are issues that arise into play while either beeing a resident or an employer in China. It is important to know that salaries tend to vary from region to region, and school to school.
In some touristy areas, salaries can be comparatively lower relating to the cost incurred in living. But if you move to the interior to a small town or city, you can earn a salary that makes you one of the top earners in the town or city. In general, most places in China the incomes are usually high when contrasted to the cost of living.
For most people, English teaching is automatically a long lasting job career, and due to this, you can make English teaching in China as a way to earn a living. It can be a task you take to handle for a period to understand the country and its social and economic activities. And it might be a ladder to take you to other bigger international jobs: you get into the country coaching English, learn the culture and the language, make good friends, and then finally you get to discover other job opportunities through your network. Many have risen from teachers to move to the corporate world, while others have started their business ventures.
Obviously, anyone could move into a business venture on arrival to China assuming they have the know-how. The laws guiding how business is done in China are very promising, but this only one side of the story. Unless you are an individual with a lot of money or own a multi–national company that has the wealth to get in and be able to make successful moves happen in a large way, then business in China needs patience. To initiate a successful small business, you need to understand the countries culture, have a good working team, and identify an excellent niche.
Another chance for westerners to move to China is to study, mostly undertaking course dealing with Chinese culture and language. It is a perfect of learning and experiencing the country and the culture, but it also supposes that you have the finances to fund your living and tuition costs.
Internships in China offer another vast chance to explore the culture, know the language and learn about the countries business environment. You end up acquiring some personal learning and working experiences that help you build your resume for better jobs down the road.
China’s growth is not even ( coastal cities—particularly Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou—are modern and mostly westernized cities). In these cities, you will get western style bars and clubs, western ingredients in supermarkets, a relatively large amount of Chinese who can speak English, and many expats. For example, three hundred thousand emigrants stay in Shanghai, the city with the greatest concentration of foreigners. Hence, it is can be easier to move to the mentioned cities. One disadvantage is a comparatively higher cost of living.
One trap in living in one of China’s westernized cities is that you may easily get yourself caught up in the classical immigrant way of life—your social groups and friends would in most cases be other emigrants or Chinese natives who prefer to be like foreigners. Hence, you end up not learning as much about the more traditional Chinese way of life.
If you really want to experience the Chinese way of life that is more traditional and intact, then you should head east. You might choose to go to the second tier cities (Chengdu, Kunming, Xi’an, and others), or you may go more native and put your sight on the smaller cities where the locals have not yet had the opportunity to interact with foreigners. These are mostly cities in the interior provinces, as well as the small towns and cities in coastal provinces–cities that, regardless of their insularity, are also full of locals willing to learn English and public schools that require native English teachers. In these sorts of places, you have no choice but to merge in as there may not be other emigrants, and if there are there may be very few that you get to interact with.
Certainly settling into the smaller cities or the second-tier is difficult because of difference in the way of life. You will probably not get any authentic western cafes in these cities aside from the ubiquitous McDonald’s, and it may be tricky to interact and make friends unless you can speak Mandarin. Hence, you require patience and perseverance, but ultimately the returns are higher. After a while you speak some Chinese, and making friends with Chinese will be much easier than in the modern bigger cities where migrants are common.
Mostly, young elite Chinese are willing to make foreign friends for different reasons: a chance to practice English, curiosity about foreigners and a desire to learn from them, and having someone who could be helpful if they have a chance to live or go to a foreign country.
Many young and educated Chinese would head to a Western country if given the opportunity, mostly because of better salaries and higher standards of living. Therefore making friends is relatively easy, but the rest of the things will be strange. Social interactions (more on this later), and day-to-day language barriers (you are unlikely to find anyone who can speak English when you might need to fix your telephone line, or install an internet service, or buy shoes, or in doing other daily chores of life) and the way people eat.
Settling in China
In case you are a new teacher employed by a Chinese school, then your employer may help you get an apartment. You require this help: on your own search, you may only be in a position to get an apartment in the three modern coastal cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing, and also this is very tricky getting without the help of the natives. A native person may also help you to assess the suitability of the area you want to rent and its accessibility to the public transport, shopping for food, the security status (whether safe or not). You should bear in mind that a comparatively good income and the low cost of living in China means that you can be able to afford a comfy apartment in a good region despite your position in China.
In the case that you are thinking of simply just getting a visa and going over there without any contacts, you should expect a few months of loneliness, frustrations and perhaps difficulties before you settle. You may easily settle by yourself in other countries but for China it a bit more complex. If you would prefer your transition to be as smooth as possible, keep the cost of living down and avoid hassles. You can do yourself a vast favor by disregarding the meaning of comfort food.
Western foodstuffs may only be found in large supermarkets located in the big cities in China, and they are very expensive by Western or Chinese standards—you can easily end up paying double or more the price you pay for the home ingredients like cheese and butter. Therefore, forget about such ingredients and adapt to cook and love Chinese food. It isn’t so difficult, and Chinese food is delicious.
Preparing and cooking are not so hard since all supermarkets have already packed sauces where you only require adding the core ingredient such as fish or chicken, water and cooking a tasty meal. It’s very crucial for you to adapt to the life here as its returns are good.
The Visa you Need to Get
In case you get employment in China, you should apply for a work visa–called Z Visa–and this is going to be arranged by your employer. In the case of studies, you acquire a study visa for the period your course will take. So far, so known, there is one kind of visa, a Business Visa or an F Visa, that is worth discussion. Officially, the visa is issued for persons who are in the country on short-term business trips: to sell or buy, to explore possibilities of doing business or developing business partnerships in China and to do some short assignment work in Chinese companies.
Recently the ease at which the visa is been issued in conjunction with the leniency of the paperwork it has made it the visa of choice for the many foreigners staying in China. There are employees in charities or organizations, English teachers, freelance writers, freelancers who work in a variety of industries, consultants in a variety of industries, as well as travel bums who have had their stay in China on the business visa.
These individuals don’t even have to reapply for the renewals of the visa themselves as there are specialized visa procurement agencies that deal with the paperwork. An F-visa given in a numerous entry format normally for one year can be applied for in the time you can do an internet search for companies who arrange the issuance of business visas.
The government made a decision pre-Olympics to make the rules strict and enforced the requirements for an F visa . It tightened the policies, and the paperwork done before one is issued the visa. It was a legal search that got many individuals who weren’t following the rules and regulations of the stated on the Visa in trouble. Renewal became very expensive that many had to leave China. Even individuals doing legitimate business were in a corner as rules become stricter.
The new policies and conditions actions were placed as temporary action, but an examination of this situation showed that the policies may not go back as they were; it seems that policies might be changed into a different thing that is still not defined, and the government doesn’t seem is in a rush to do this. For this reason, be warned that there are risks when agreeing to a business visa. It is not the legal option, therefore, you will not have the protection of a legal employee and could face heavy fines and deportation.
Experiencing China through living abroad will surely be a life-changing experience that you will never forget.