Living abroad is an exciting experience, but it’s not always glamorous. When you choose to live in China, for example, expat life can be a bit of a challenge. It’s certainly not a bad place to live, but knowing a bit about the challenges you can expect to face will make life as an expats in China much easier to handle.
Challenges for Expats in China
To live and work in China, you should prepare for these 5 challenges that you’ll be up against as a Expats in china.
1. You’ll have to work hard to find things you’re used to
Heading to the store to stock up on groceries? You’ll have to get used to the things you’re used to not being readily available. As an expat in China, depending on your location, it may be extremely difficult to get the things you loved from home. It could be something as simple as your favourite snacks to books and other things that make you feel at home.
Then again, you WILL find things that you can’t get back home. And when you those things, you’ll be thrilled. China has some very interesting snack foods, décor, and organizational items that will make your life as expats in China a bit better. Note that the food in China is fantastic. The architecture is also first class.
2. It’s sometimes hard to go anywhere without people fussing over you
Most Western countries are used to a variety of different faces. In China though, get ready for them to point, stare, or even come up to take your photo. You’ll feel like a movie star sometimes. Other times, you’re just trying to live your life as expats in China and don’t want to be bothered. But if you’ve always wanted to be famous, living in China will fulfil that dream for you. When I went to China in the 1980s, it was definitely a different country and we had 100s of people gathering around our bus and following us as there were not a lot of Westerners in China. Times have changed of course. You will find that the vast majority of the people in China will be very welcoming to you and sometimes a little fascinated by you at times – it’s all good.
3. Communication can easily break down
It’s not easy to speak Mandarin Chinese. It’s even more difficult to try to read it. Prepare to be exhausted when trying to do simple tasks from finding the aisle with the laundry detergent at the store to finding your way around town. Thankfully, there are many language apps such as Google Translate you can put on your phone to help you out. And not knowing the language gives you an excuse to take classes where you can meet other China expats and boost your resume with a new language.
4. Staying in touch is harder
Some communication apps will not work in China. For this reason, you’ll be limited in what you can access on the internet and social platforms to stay in touch with people back home. Internet in some locations in China can be slower too, but the good news is without so many distractions, you’ll be more inclined to get out and explore this beautiful country.
5. Medical care costs can shock you in China
Public health care isn’t something you’ll want in China as an expatriate. Some public Hospitals in China tend to be basic and medical care at these establishments might not be up to par with what you have in mind. For insights on healthcare system in China checkout our healthcare and region page. However, there are many private hospitals that are extremely modern and can rival what you will find in the USA, especially in the major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.
However, you can use some excellent private hospitals in China that are often found in the major cities. It’s far more expensive though the level of care is on par with what you’re used to. It’s for that reason you should get international health care insurance coverage. This way, you will have one less thing to stress you out while adjusting to your life as an expat in China.