There is a large supply of jobs in China, and if you have the qualifications required by the Chinese labor market, it is relatively easy to find a well-paying job. The big problem is getting a visa. The pace of work is very stressful and the working hours are long. The biggest demand is for jobs as English teachers, and this is the job most expats start with. But living in China is not easy for foreigners.
There are currently nearly 700,000 foreigners living in China, which is nothing compared to China’s population of nearly 1.4 billion people. Suffice it to say that there are also 700,000 foreigners living in Portugal, whose population is about 10 million.
Integration in China is extremely difficult for a Westerner because of the cultural differences and the difficulty of learning the language. Chinese is very difficult, and until you master it, you will always be a stranger because hardly anyone speaks English. You will have to get used to a culture and customs that are very different from yours, for example in Chinese tradition, facial expressions represent a very important element of body communication, and contrary to what many people think, Chinese people are not naturally expressionless, but they are raised from an early age to control their body gestures and avoid grimacing of any kind.You will also have to get used to hygiene standards that are much lower than what you are used to.
In China, authoritarianism is a pervasive reality, from the family to the workplace, and corruption is present in many aspects of social life. Censorship is rampant, with Facebook, YouTube and other Western websites blocked. To avoid this, you need to have a good VPN.
The cost of living in China is generally cheaper than in a Western country if you live similarly to the Chinese population (shopping in local markets) and choose to live in the outskirts of major cities. On the other hand, it will be expensive if you want to maintain a Western lifestyle and live in the center.
Public transportation (subways and buses) is cheap and efficient, cabs are cheap. In addition, there are many bicycle lanes with bike sharing systems in all Chinese cities. Although you can get around very well using public transportation, it would be convenient to live near your workplace given the high traffic and crowded subways. There are many international schools. As a rule, international schools cost from $20,000 per year upwards. It is necessary to have private health insurance. Be careful, because many insurance companies require you to pay your medical expenses up front, which will be reimbursed later.
It is an extremely safe country, you can even walk around any part of the city at night with all your money and jewelry and no one will bother you but the country suffers from major pollution problems. Winter is usually the worst (damp cold, gray skies and lots of smog). Thank you to the measures taken by the government the situation is improving year by year.
Chinese cuisine is considered one of the best in the world. Chinese food is cheap, but if you want to eat foreign food, you have to pay dearly for it. Chinese food is the best choice.
China is such a big country that even the climate varies depending on the city you live in. In Beijing or Shanghai, the cities where most foreigners stay, the climate is cold in winter and very hot and humid in summer.
Living and working in China – pros and cons
Living in China, pros
- Good job opportunities
- Very low crime rate
- Excellent services and infrastructure
Living in China, cons
- Difficulties in obtaining a work visa
- Integration difficulties and difficult language
Living and working in China, conclusion
The opportunity to work in China is an experience that will enrich you greatly. This country is so different from Western countries, but at the same time so fascinating. Be open and receptive to this culture and try to make some Chinese friends.
If you want to have all the information about how to work in China, I recommend you to read the article: Working in China
If you want to move to China, you can read the article: How to move to China