Guest Post from Expat Explorer
For many, a move to China has always been a dream. The country is rich in mysterious history and culture and the sheer size of it makes for an explorer’s utopia.
Living in China, whether you are in Shanghai, Chengdu or a village on a mountain top, can be an eye opener which many expats do not truly prepare for. The culture shock or a sense of frustration when setting up could dishearten any expat. It’s true that the way of life in China creates a different world to what many are accustomed to in the West—but it’s fascinatingly different; enriched with energy, soul and beguiling traditions.
Most expats who move to China do not regret it. They embrace the changes that many fear and open themselves to their new Chinese life. The country is more welcoming to foreign business than ever before and with it, expats are gaining rapid career development.
The country is one of the oldest and largest in the world – which is great news from a cultural perspective. The size lends itself to a great amount of linguistic diversity and so if you do learn Mandarin, do not expect to be able to converse with local Chinese residents who speak Wu, Yue or Min. These four varieties of the language are not mutually intelligible. For lovers of language, this is paradise as you can explore how different words develop alongside geographical distance and it’s fun to see your Chinese friends lost in translation with other local residents. Of course, unless you are travelling in the countryside, the standardised and most widely spoken version—Mandarin—will usually allow you to get by.
Explore the Orient
For food fanatics, Beijing has out-of-this-world delicious roast duck and Chengdu is known for its fiery spices (the Sichuan pepper will leave your tongue feeling numb—drink a glass of sweetened soy, not water, to ease the burn!).
You can get out of the city at weekends and during the holidays to explore the vast natural wonders of this country. The Karst Mountains in Yangshuo at sunrise are breathtakingly beautiful and The Terracotta Warriors, found underground in 1974 as a farmer was digging a well, are an army of life-sized statues with individual intricate details such as hair and armor according to rank.
China is a beautiful place and enjoyed best when carefully prepared for! Take in the Chinese experience step by step, savour every moment and you will never be the same person again.
This guest blog post was written by Expat Explorer, brought to you by HSBC Expat.