Linda: Linda Living in China
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Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to China, etc.
I’m German/American, born and raised in Germany (German mom) but spent quite some time in the US (American dad), specifically in San Diego, California. I studied Chinese for 2 years in Germany and went to Guangzhou for a 6 month internship after that. Then, I finished my Bachelor’s degree in San Diego and moved back to China (Changsha, Hunan) after I graduated.
During my time in at university in CA, I met my fiancé who happens to be Korean. That’s why I am now also focusing and writing about Korean culture and my intercultural relationship. I also started studying Korean.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging after I left Guangzhou and moved to California because I missed China very much. I wanted to share my experience and tried to keep myself up with Chinese news and the Chinese language.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
One of my most read blog posts include:
- The Hardest Chinese Characters 最难写的汉字
- Chinese Male Models: “China’s Most Striking Men”
- San Francisco – The Perfect Place for AMWF Couples?
- 5 Must-Have Chinese Apps For Expats in China
- The Perks of Traveling as an Intercultural Couple
Tell us about the ways your new life in China differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Life in China is completely different than back home. The culture is completely different obviously. However, since I had studied Chinese for 2 years before I came to China, I knew about the culture and what I was getting into. My culture shock wasn’t that huge. Still, there are some difficulties. For example that I will never “fit in” because I look completely different. But my Chinese is at a pretty good level now, so that I can talk to people and can get around easily by myself.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in China? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
Due to my studies and my previous travel to China (I visited Beijing for 1 week before moving to Guangzhou), I knew what I was getting into. I researched the cities I lived in very carefully and tried to get to know people before I arrived there. I wouldn’t change any of my decisions.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I remember when I lived in Guangzhou and me and my German friend went to McDonalds to get an ice-cream cone. We waited in line and one girl in front of us also bought a cone. However, when it was our turn and the waitress saw we were two foreign girls, she gave us twice the normal portion of the ice cream cone! That was really hilarious.
Another time, when my mom and grandma came to visit me in Guangzhou, we went sightseeing to a nearby temple. We took some stairs and landed on the roof of the temple where some poorer people lived. One man came out of his house and started talking to us. My Chinese wasn’t pretty good at the time and he spoke dialect but he invited us in his small shed and offered us some tea. That was a very cool experience!
Which tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in China?
Take some Chinese classes before or get involved in Chinese culture. It makes it much easier to overcome the culture shock! Try and find some people who live in the city where you want to move to and speak to them online!
How is the expat community in China? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
It’s very easy to find other expats in China. Even though I live in a rather “small Chinese city” (6 million people), it was quite easy to connect to other foreigners on Facebook. I also joined the local “Chinese Corner” where Chinese and foreigners meet for language exchange. That’s very useful to make friends.
How would you summarize your expat life in China in a single, catchy sentence?
Every day is an adventure.