Relocating to a new country comes with its challenges in today’s post I thought I would share my pro tips to conquering China like a boss.
A minor disclaimer I feel its bests to state that these are all my opinions and tips based on trial and error and the time I lived in Hangzhou China in 2014 to 2015.
I found China very challenging people don’t often speak English and won’t help you. Even if they can, they lack the confidence and will walk away.( This is location dependent like I have mentioned before bigger cities will have more English speakers.)
Pro Tip 1: Translator apps will be your holy grail especially in the beginning.
Peak traffic is a nightmare car. Buses bikes, e-bikes everywhere and you don’t want to get stuck in buses and taxis during this time.
Pro Tip 2: If you can avoid peek hours I would suggest you do. Also, lunchtime starts at 11, and many people buy food, so these places are hectic get your lunch order in before or after 12.
People smoke everywhere including in elevators not sure if much has changed. They are starting to have more nonsmoking areas. People also spit everywhere and then there is the pollution it can get awful. Get used to a grey day every day this is also location dependent. (Something to consider when looking for the right city to set up home.)
Pro Tip 3: Get a mask it will help with pollution and all the smoke. For the spitting watch your step.
Summers are scorching and winters bitterly cold. It didn’t snow in my city but who knows what’s possible these days.
Pro Tip 4: Be mindful of the weather and buy the correct clothing especially in the winter.
VPN is essential if you want to make it through the great firewall of China. Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram are all blocked.
Pro Tip 5: A good VPN is Express VPN FOR 8$ a month.
At work, you don’t get time off for being sick and often expected to come in when you are sick. If you stay out of work, you must have a doctors note, or they will deduct the day off your salary.
Pro Tip 6: Avoiding getting sick is a huge help so take as many immune booster and vitamins as you can get your hands on and what’s considered healthy of course. Get used to drinking hot water if you are hot, cold, sick or even on your deathbed this is the magical Chinese remedy.
One of the biggest reasons why I left my particular school was management. It was a constant battle between the foreign and Chinese way of doing things. You get worked hard during summer and winter camps; you do not get paid extra and only get one day off a week. I Mostly hated not being valued for my contribution to the school, and I wanted a better work environment. (This was my experience at my particular EF branch during the time I worked I don’t know if anything has changed.)
Pro Tip 7: Know your rights as a foreigner employed in China. If you are not happy, leave you may lose some money, but the quality of life outweighs cash in my opinion.
Racism is real in China and most of Asia they are not exposed to much of the western world but when they are; black people are often portrayed as dangerous and white good. So that’s what they know to be true.
Being a female of color, I often had students refer to me as a black teacher. I didn’t make a big deal about it and often told students not to say that without making a big scene about it.
Pro Tip 8: If you have issues with this, speak to your Headteacher or Director for advice before doing anything yourself.
Parents are paying customers especially if you are employed at a training school, what they want they will get. Often students are not allowed to fail so even if they are failing we have to pass them.
Pro Tip 9: For weaker students who are pushed up due to the system make sure that their parents and your co-teachers know they are weak and may struggle in said classes. You may suggest or provide extra materials to help them outside of their usual homework.
Chinese people, in general, don’t have tact if they think you fat they will tell you, if you look bad they will say it to you. Something to keep in mind.
Pro Tip 10: Grow a thick skin and don’t take these remarks too seriously.
Chinese people believe in building trustworthy relationships with one another once they accept you, they will do anything to help you and be a good friend it’s all about trust. They are also big on “saving face” and do not want to be seen as an embarrassment.
Pro Tip 11: Make good Chinese friends and connections. It will make your stay and make you understand the culture so much more.
Remember you are a visitor and represent your country and need to respect the country you are in too.
Pro Tip 12: Have fun, make friends, dive into the countries rich culture and explore China it is such a beautiful country. China is a fantastic hub of old meets new, filled with history from architecture to the most amazing skylines.
I hope all this information helps and if you have visited or lived in China, please let me know what you enjoyed and what you didn’t.