What is it like to live and work in China?

People who work and live in China have a wide variety of experiences, but if you're considering relocating to one of the world's most fascinating, puzzling, and difficult nations, there are a few common themes to keep in mind. Here are some pointers to help you adjust to life in China.

Getting settled in China: Tips for newcomers

There are a few things to think about before making the move to work in China if you're considering it. To begin, what is more, important to you: getting a job or living in a certain region of China?

If you want to work in politics, technology, or finance, your options are likely to be restricted to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou, which are all first-tier cities in China. While these cities provide an interesting glimpse into contemporary Chinese life, they lack the stunning landscape and distinct local customs that make China so beloved.

In order to better your Chinese language abilities or just to enjoy some of the world's most beautiful landscapes, you should search for rural possibilities that will allow you to immerse yourself in a different culture. Teaching English or working for an NGO are the most common options for those who aren't native English speakers.

Second, you should think about how Chinese workplace culture differs from yours in terms of expectations. Due to the widespread use of the messaging software WeChat, coworkers may have little respect for "personal time." Work-life balance, overtime, and availability may vary from Western standards, according to English Editor Simon Frank at Beijing's UCCA Center for Contemporary Art. "You may be reached on WeChat 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

This has the potential to be both good and bad. While the app increases the likelihood that a coworker may contact you at 11 pm on a Saturday, it also speeds up and streamlines workplace cooperation. According to Beijing-based travel firm Wild China employee Katie Cundale, "what shocked me is how much is done through WeChat" (Work). One system can transmit, book, and approve anything in the workplace."

Working in China has many additional advantages. A lot of individuals are establishing side companies in China due to the adage that the country is "the land of opportunity." This is accurate. With less red tape and a can-do mentality, China offers more interesting challenges in a month than the West does in a year. This is especially true for start-ups.

What to anticipate from China's workplace

If you choose to work in China, you can expect to work with people who are kind and inviting. In businesses where foreign employees are common, some locals nevertheless find it interesting to meet someone from a different country and are eager to discuss the contrasts between your cultures and experiences.

Long work hours are common in Chinese companies, although this may come off as painfully inefficient at times. People in many workplaces take a 90-minute lunch break and then go home for the day, but many return to work late at night to finish what they started. As a result, hierarchies in Chinese workplaces tend to be rigid and unyielding. It seems that the desire and capacity of companies to accept foreign workers varies considerably from one to the next, adds Mr. Frank. It has been a pleasure working at UCCA, and I believe that having a foreign supervisor has made all the difference.

As a last word of caution, Mr Frank urged international workers to be wary of companies that "drag their feet on visas and other permissions." The gray zones in China that used to allow foreigners to work are rapidly vanishing, so this is very hazardous. If you're thinking about working in China, make sure your prospective company is up to date on the documentation required to apply for a work visa.

Annual leave rules in China seem especially strict when compared to those in the West. It is customary for most employees to get five days of paid yearly vacation in addition to the ten national holidays that are observed each year. Working for a Chinese business means that western holidays like Christmas aren't celebrated, making it impossible to spend the holidays with family back home. Foreign employees may be eligible for businesses with more generous annual leave policies, however the trial period during which you are not eligible for any annual leave may last for a period of up to one year.

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