Reasons Why Foreigners Come Work in China

If you were to gather a group of random Westerners in China, you would find that everyone of them had a unique "China narrative." Some of the attractions of working in one of the world's quickest-growing economies have been discussed.

Effortless Cost Reduction

From the California gold rush to the Chinese market boom, individuals have always flocked to where their talents were most in demand. Even if the Chinese economy has slowed recently, there are still many ways to make money there. Maribel, a Spanish immigrant whose pals in their mid-twenties back home are "struggling on a thousand Euros a month, if that," adds, "There's certainly the notion that here is where the money is now." Even though the "unsociable hours" of her ESL employment might be difficult at times, she views China as an investment because of the high wages many ESL instructors earn in China. This, along with the time she has to devote to learning Mandarin, makes China "the best choice for now." Loubna, 24, from Morocco, who is also learning Chinese while working as an English language instructor, may relate.

Career Jumping

Yet going to China is about more than simply cutting costs; it also offers, for many, a plethora of employment prospects unavailable to all but the luckiest few in the West. Despite the corruption, more individuals now have access to better possibilities. The days of the unpaid internship to gain experience and get a foot in the door are over, and most individuals can expect to advance in their careers more quickly without having to undertake one. Some of this is cloaked in dubious assumptions; for example, many businesses see being a non-native speaker of English as an asset, which is unfair at best and prejudiced at worst, given that this benefit is mostly given to people of European ancestry. This is despite the fact that many workers in their twenties are given greater responsibility than they would in comparable enterprises in their native countries. Olivia, a 26-year-old business development, was promoted to manager six months into her employment in Shanghai after she refused a headhunting offer from a competitor. It was nerve-wracking to take on so much responsibility, but now I have valuable experience for future employment. Like Maribel, she hopes that her fluency in Mandarin and previous work with major international customers would help her get a job in Chicago upon her return. When asked about the difference between her old salary and her new one in Shanghai, Olivia said, "Management positions back home pay much higher than my job here, but the experience is the more valuable part of what I do." Maribel, on the other hand, said that her new salary was the main reason she was working in Shanghai.

Possibilities for Leisurely Employment and Travel with Minimal Stress

On the other hand, some individuals go to China in order to get away from the pressures of prominent positions at home. The quality of life is high, adds Terry. Teaching English in China is a convenient and inexpensive method to see the country and broaden one's horizons. Compared to my mundane existence back in Canada, this is quite thrilling.

A Good Opportunity for Business Owners

China is also a prime location for new enterprises right now. While it may be difficult and costly to establish a totally foreign-owned corporation in China, the country's vast consumer market presents a unique opportunity for new business owners.

Benefits of Learning Mandarin and Traveling Abroad

Learning Mandarin seems to be a must for every job in China. Although Chinese corporations are increasingly interested in recruiting Chinese students who have graduated from foreign colleges, fluency in Mandarin Chinese is becoming more valuable in the West. Candidate's with international work experience have the added benefit of cultural competency, which makes language abilities much more valuable. Possessing fluency in Chinese may set an applicant out from the pack, even if their resume is otherwise unremarkable. This is especially true for those seeking employment in countries that need a visa to enter and where a local worker with comparable qualifications would be given preference.

There are highs and lows in the expat life, and adapting to a new society with different values may be challenging. However, many people appear prepared to put up with China's ups and downs in exchange for the opportunity to get foreign experience and start saving for a return home or better future prospects.

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