Living and Working in China: What you need to know in a nutshell

By Ava Ming: My Oriental Life

First of all, don’t take it personally. Any of it. I’m talking about the experiences which you will definitely have. I guess you could categorize them as the good, the bad and the ugly.

Make sure your paperwork is in order including proof of qualifications, up to date passport, and anything else requested by your Chinese employer in order for them to secure you a work visa.
Bear in mind that you’re a visitor in China and must abide by the law at all times. Arm yourself with knowledge of relevant Chinese laws beforehand. Just like in the west, ignorance is no defence.
Ask your prospective employer to send you pictures of the school or center and your proposed accommodation as soon as you accept the position and before you arrive in China. That way you can negotiate your preferences into your contract.

Special dietary needs are hard to accommodate in China. For example vegetarianism is practised by a tiny minority of people, however halal food is becoming easier to obtain in the bigger cities.

Consider where you’d be more comfortable in terms of location. Large cities are more modern and may have a more active expat community. On the other hand smaller towns and some cities may give you a more authentic and immersive Chinese experience. Kindergartens, schools, universities and English training centres hire all year round so you can plan to go and to apply for jobs at any time.

Chinese internet is slow and many western websites are banned or severely restricted. If you can’t live without Google, YouTube or Facebook, install VPN software (which circumvents the firewall) onto your laptop before you come.

Finally, and perhaps, most importantly, become open-minded. You’ll be a in a different world which is rapidly developing in terms of infrastructure and relations with the west, however the mindset of the people can take a little longer to catch up. Applying your own beliefs about the way things should be is a good way to become frustrated.
Let China be China and just go with the flow.

1. Make sure your paperwork is in order including proof of qualifications, up to date passport, and anything else requested by your Chinese employer in order for them to secure you a work visa.
2. Bear in mind that you’re a visitor in China and must abide by the law at all times. Arm yourself with knowledge of relevant Chinese laws beforehand. Just like in the west, ignorance is no defence.
3. Ask your prospective employer to send you pictures of the school or center and your proposed accommodation as soon as you accept the position and before you arrive in China. That way you can negotiate your preferences into your contract.
4. Special dietary needs are hard to accommodate in China. For example vegetarianism is practised by a tiny minority of people, however halal food is becoming easier to obtain in the bigger cities.
5. Consider where you’d be more comfortable in terms of location. Large cities are more modern and may have a more active expat community. On the other hand smaller towns and some cities may give you a more authentic and immersive Chinese experience.
6. Kindergartens, schools, universities and English training centres hire all year round so you can plan to go and to apply for jobs at any time.
7. Chinese internet is slow and many western websites are banned or severely restricted. If you can’t live without Google, YouTube or Facebook, install VPN software (which circumvents the firewall) onto your laptop before you come.

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