Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in Beijing:
Be flexible. It will be tough at first and small victories, like going to the grocery store, will be exhausting. But give it time and it will become so rewarding. I adore living here now.
I didn’t have huge expectations of coming out. I’d never been to China at all before moving here, though I thought it would, quite rightly, be significantly different to Hong Kong. So was I fully prepared? No, of course not. Would I have changed anything? Not at all. If the little bumps and hiccoughs along the way hadn’t happened, it would probably have felt too sanitized for it to be fun.
I think you can never be fully prepared for moving to Beijing, or anywhere that different from your home country. My blog gives some food for thought on this topic, what things to consider or challenges to expect. But the most important thing is having a positive mindset.
I first came to Beijing as a tourist in 2006 – the largest surprise moving here in 2009 was how quickly the city had changed. Skyscrapers had appeared on the skyline and many hutongs had been gentrified into boutique shopping areas. Property prices had increased three- or fourfold, but beyond that the cost of living was still very cheap.
Ghent and Beijing could not be more difficult. The early eighties were pretty tough and pioneering. With China changing so much over 30 years, some difficulties go away, some new ones appear. For me the biggest challenge is still the language, I do my best to improve my Chinese.
I find expat life works better when you don’t prepare. Preparing only forms preconceptions when travelling.
The one thing I always say when people ask me "Why China?" is no day is the same and that's what I find so great about this country. Yes some days are a real challenge but it's exciting.