Q: What are some pros and cons of working/living in China?
My husband and I are considering moving to China for about 2 years to work. We want to experience living abroad and feel that China will be the most beneficial country to do so. We would be forced to learn the language, etc. We are both young (24/26 respectively) so this is the time to do it! However, what do you consider are the ups and downs or pros and cons of working/living in China?
Pros. Food, cost of living, excitement (just so different from what I am used to), Experiencing a different lifestyle and testing my ability
to cope with the challenges it presents. Ability to travel to see many new sights.
Cons. Health care (haven't needed any but would be a problem if an issue arose. Crowds (at times it can get to you). Hygiene (doesn't really bother me but if you are a clean freak or paranoid about food preparation it would do your head in). Coping with poor manners and many people who are inconsiderate to others.
There are probably many more cons than pros when you try and list them but there is just something intangible about the place and the extremes of what you feel, what you see etc. It is an experience that keeps you on the edge of your seat at times and while it is obviously not for everyone it's contrasts make me feel alive and ready for the next amazing occurrence (good or bad)
If you want to do something new, experience a different culture, then moving to another country is a good idea. Some pros for me are being able to save more money, being able to travel around Asia for less money (I want to go to Japan), having holidays off (Spring festival means a whole month off of work).
Some cons are of course how the food makes you feel for the first month or so, lack of conveniences (from food to no warm water in the sink, to the language barrier, the amount of time it takes China to process any paperwork, etc.), no food here is even remotely like food from home except some fast food (I live in a tier 3 city), if you show you have any talent in anything they will keep bugging you to do it out of "friendliness," the list could go on.
Woody is right, the cons will probably outweigh the pros. However, the pros and wtf moments are interesting enough to make it worth it.
Well, like the others were saying, the big pro is you get to experience a different culture - which is precisely what you want. But, as a bonus, if you're working here, you will most likely be able to do that on a great budget, as the pay-rate for foreigners is a lot better than most of the locals. You should be able to save up enough to go for trips across the country every so often - depending on your job. If, also, you happen to be in a good city near the mid-east of the country, you have fairly good access to everywhere - and there are enough planes and trains to get you there.
Cons - it's a different culture - so there are no 'cons' (other than ppl asking 650RMB for a water bill!!! oh, and the "taxi drivers" at the airports and train-stations - they're a big con... .and in most merchandise shops).
You will experience culture shock. And, at other times, incredible surrealism as you realise you're thousands of miles away from home, yet you're still doing the same stuff the same way.
I live in China for nearly 3 years now and am married to a Chinese woman.
Life for me is relaxing, but a bit boring.
I don't speak Chinese and at my age (60) it is nearly impossible to learn this language.
So the few friends that I have are ex pats from USA mainly.
I cannot use my drivers license here and I really miss my car and motorbike.
But even if I had a drivers license in China, I would not even consider driving here.
The Chinese traffic is a complete madhouse and would be very dangerous for me.
However, the people are very tolerant, especially in the traffic.
What irritates me the most about the traffic, is the constant honking everywhere. This seems to be necessary, because either no-one knows the traffic rules or nobody obeys them.
As for the Chinese food: I have been to many Chinese restaurants and personally I don't like 99% of all Chinese food. It is very different from the Chinese food that is served in Chinese restaurants in Europe. I am used to Indian curry, Indonesian- and Thai food and really like that, but Chinese food is very very different.
However my wife is a good cook and she can prepare anything that I like.
Another disadvantage is the pollution and especially the terrible air pollution in nearly all major cities.
On a positive note: biking is easy here, the bikes are cheap and it is the best way to get around in a big city, because of the terrible traffic jams.
As far as health care is concerned: I have no health care insurance here, as the fee would be very high for a foreigner of my age.
Last year I was in hospital here for minor heart problems. The health care quality is very good here, but hospitals look like central station at peak hour!
To give you some idea about the price: I stayed in a well known hospital (one of the best in China) for 7 days, they did all kinds of expensive tests (including MRI scan) and I ended up paying 10.000 RMB only. This is a lot less than in western countries.
To wrap it all up: China is a nice experience but after a few years most people want to go home again.
Chinese people are very friendly and much more tolerant than most people in western countries.
This is my personal experience and although everyone is different, most people agree with what I just wrote.
Pro you will probably save a ton of money because there is reliable public transportation. You don't have to buy a car and spend money on gas or insurance.
You get to learn a new language and also learn about a new culture. Depending where you are from originally you have access to travel to many bordering countries such as Thailand, Japan and Korea.
Con the pollution might make you want to return back to your home land since China is known for it's high pollution so you might not end up spending 2 years here like you planned and you might have to consider doing something else. It's always good to have a back up plan just in case the first one doesn't work out and in this case it's you coming to China for 2 years! s)
Coming to China for 2 years as a young couple sounds nice. I'd advise you to get a job teaching in a college together. If you decide to live on campus you will never be lonely as generally the college students are quite friendly and financially won't have to worry about much as long as you don't have big debt back home. There are many cons about living in China but this kind of life-style short term should be safe and enjoyable.