What exactly do you need when moving to China to work and live as a foreigner? What is the cost of living in China for a year? Are there any living in China tips for foreigners? If you are a foreigner and are planning to move for work, you have come to the right place. This page contains all the tips that will enable you to survive in China as a westerner. For instance, you will come across living in China pros and cons, how to find a job, and what foreigners moving to China need to bring.

Tips for Living in China

Most Americans moving to China for work have claimed that getting a job in China is easier than you think. The easiest job for foreigners is within the English teaching sector. Why? You don’t need to know how to speak Chinese to become an English teacher in China. However, moving to China to work and live as an engineer or manager, you should know to speak at least some Chinese. Without much ado, here are some living in China tips.

moving to China to work and live

Discover and Embrace the Culture

A wide number of foreigners living in China are aware that embracing the Chinese culture is one of the most important survival tips. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to adapt. The Chinese culture and traditions are just outstanding as they are over 5,000 years old. Therefore, you should accept all the living in China pros and cons.

Spare some time to learn Kung Fu, Calligraphy, Tai chi, Beijing Opera and more. Expect some little annoyances here and there such as squat toilets which are not fun to use. Get used to them and don’t complain. You should also know that many prices is negotiable in China. Don’t get exploited just because you’re a foreigner.

Read the Books

It’s a good idea to read some books before and after moving to China. However, you shouldn’t take everything seriously. For instance, some books will advise you to wear a suit for business meetings. As the reader, you wear your favourite suit to a business meeting during a 90-degree day while the big boss comes in flip-flops, a tank top and cutoff jeans. The point is that you should know your industry well before the meeting.

Eat the Food…and Love It!

When you go to China, eat what the Chinese are eating…but ask what it is. There are hundreds of stories about the Chinese food; some are mouth-watering while others are just disgusting. For example, you might go to an authentic Chinese restaurant, and the waiter tells you that they’re serving ‘Pangorin’. As an American, you’ll think that the restaurant is serving Penguins. Honestly, Pangolin is what you’ll be eating. A very rare and exotic animal which is very delicious.

Learn Mandarin

Westerners think that Mandarin is the most complicated language in the world. However, it’s not that bad. Learning the language will show that you respect the country of the Chinese people. In fact, learning a few mandarin words might win you that big business contract you’ve been struggling so hard to get.

moving to China to work and live

How to Move to China Without a Job

It’s always advisable to find a job before moving to China and live there as a westerner. However, not everyone is fortunate to get a job in China while in their home country. The good news is that its way is easier to find a job for foreigners while in China than when in your home country. A part-time job is smart if you are looking to start a business in China. The two keys to finding a part-time job in China is:

· It should provide just enough income that covers your expenses and requires the least amount of your time. The more time you have, the more time you’ll have to expand your own business in China.

· It should be simple and beneficial. Keep in mind that the main reason as to why you’re looking for a part-time job in China is to cover your secondary expenses.

So, how much can you earn from part-time jobs? This will depend on the type of job and hours spent. For instance, working for 3 hours, Monday-to-Friday as an English teacher will earn you about 8,000RMB per month.

What About the Job Applications?

Just like in western countries, you should submit:

· A cover letter stating your qualifications for the job you’re interested in. The letter shouldn’t be too long.

· A resume or CV which should include some personal information, education, work experience, skills and career objectives. It can be over a page.

· Copies of your degrees, diplomas and other certificates.

If you don’t want to be employed, you might work in China as a freelancer or be self-employed. However, you’ll be faced with some difficulties such as getting a work visa.

Pros and Cons of Living and Working in China as a Foreigner:


· You will get an opportunity to taste diverse Chinese, Japanese and Korean food.

· Offers you the best opportunity to polish your Mandarin.

· Exploring other Asian countries is way cheaper while in China.

· You’ll learn a lot from the Chinese culture such as how to handle money, hard work, respecting elders and more.

· If you’re a student, you’ll find that expenses in China are cheaper than those incurred in western countries.


· You might experience some racism here and there.

· Lower level of education in the population hence some people can be ignorant.

· Poor health care – western style healthcare is more expensive.

· Be ready to be stared at in public. Some people will talk about you in public.

Moving to China: What to Bring From Home

The amount of things to carry when moving to China will entirely depend on the amount of shipping space available. You might consider buying some of the things when in China but here are a few things that you should carry:

· Extra deodorant – It’s hard to find your deodorant in China.

· A laptop or smartphone with VPN.

· Ladies should carry their tampons since they can be hard to find outside of the big cities.

· Shoes if you have big feet

· Any special cosmetics

· Local products from home that you’ll miss.


Moving and living in China is not that hard. Expect minor obstacles due to cultural differences but be certain that you will enjoy living in China. A foreigner moving to China will appreciate the Chinese culture and traditions if they have an open mind.

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