China is rich in culture and history. It is a huge country, which offers exciting goals for life and discovery. However, it is also a place of challenges that can arise from language barriers and differences in cultural behaviour. Nonetheless, while living in China, you will be able to adapt and adjust by self-growth and learning to look at the aspects of life with a different angle. You will come to know things such as not expecting 100% accuracy from the craftsmen and expecting the metros and buses to be a little tightly packed.
We are happy to prepare you for this time and coach you tailor-made for your “China adventure” so that the culture shock has no chance.
Looking for a place to live in China is a challenge of its own and, from a distance, an almost impossible undertaking. The apartment search sites are, for the most part, heavily decorated or fictitious. Do not bother, because the best way to get an apartment or a suitable home in China is through an agent in the preferred district. The first four weeks you should book a hotel or service apartment to start your search for peace. The starting point of the search will be the workplace, and then you proceed with looking at the different neighbourhoods. Add your own needs and combine them with the metro and bus routes. The next step should be visiting the districts on your shortlist and getting in touch with the different agents on-site. It is advisable to have a Chinese colleague or one of our partners on your side.
In a personal interview, we will inform you about this particular topic and explain you the points with the deposit, the lease and how the furniture is handled in China.
The cost of living in China
The cost of living varies significantly in China. It depends very much on where you live and whether you want to continue the “western” lifestyle or if you want to adapt to a more “Chinese” way of living. Renting an apartment can quickly become expensive. In contrast, the costs of gas, electricity and water are relatively low. If you want to buy Western products, you will find them in the big cities – since import duties are relatively high in cost, imported goods will also always cost more. If you go to a Chinese restaurant or a food stall, then you can still eat very cheap (main course for 3-8 Euros). As soon as it is a bit “western”, the food will be more expensive.
We will gladly inform you about full details of the cost of living that you have to expect in China.
Anyone who thought that eating Chinese takeout at home in the West would be an authentic Chinese experience will be surprised how good, but different the food in China is. Many dishes, which one knows from the restaurants in their homeland, do not exist here or are very different. Also, there are no fortune cookies in China, as these are an invention of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco that became popular in the western world. Tofu can be found in such a diversity that is just not present in Europe. It is also served with meat, as it does not act as a meat substitute, but as a common ingredient. Also, there are plenty of regional cuisines: Sichuan, Yunnan, Beijing, Hunan, Xinjiang, DongBei, Mongolian and many more, and all of them are very different.
However, you do not have to live without pizza, pasta, burgers, German or international cuisine in China, but you have to keep in mind that these usually come with a very high price or as “Chinese” versions.
Although China is traditionally a country of tea drinkers, this preference is shifting more and more towards coffee enjoyment. Coffee is considered a luxury in China, and it is seen as “fancy” to have a Starbucks coffee mug in hand. That is why many coffee shops serve the drink at a high price. Price of a medium sized beverage at Starbucks starts from 5,40 euros and goes up.
Although China may look like a unified country, there are several different Chinese languages and countless dialects throughout; 70% of the population speak Mandarin (Putonghua, the High Chinese), while the rest speaks Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghai), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese) and other minority languages. Nevertheless, one should at least learn some Mandarin before and during their time in China, as this simplifies the everyday life immensely. English is becoming increasingly important as a business language, yet you have to expect that the majority of the population does not speak it or have just fundamental skills.
The international driver’s licenses are not recognized in China. If you still want to drive, you will need to do an additional theory test and a small medical exam. The test is done on a computer, and you can select different languages. Out of 100 questions, you will have to get 90 answers right.