You may not have heard of Nanjing before, but it is known as “The Southern Capital” of China, and it is steeped in history. One of the earliest established cities of the area we now call China, Nanjing is where you will find the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the tomb of Zhu Yuanzhang, who is better remembered as Emperor Hongwu, the first sovereign of the Ming Dynasty. Nanjing is also the final resting place of Dr Sun Yat-sen, the first president and founding father of the Republic of China. While these links with history are maintained through extensive gardens and intricate mausoleums, today’s Nanjing is a thoroughly modern city which heaves with life. Expats living in Nanjing can expect to experience China in all its forms – from ancient ruins and traditional architecture, to riverside markets and shimmering chrome skyscrapers. It is an assault on the senses, and a place which needs to really be seen to be believed.
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If you are thinking of moving to Nanjing, you are not the only one. Over the past few years as international trade has opened up, millions of expatriates have flocked to Chinese cities, including Nanjing. While the city’s population is still very much predominantly Chinese, you are likely to encounter expats from all over the world, whether they are sitting across from you in a high-rise boardroom or strolling through one of the city’s many gardens. But moving to Nanjing is more difficult for some expatriates than for others. Before setting off, make sure you have your visa and permits in order – China is fairly strict on who can live and work in its cities, so be sure that you are eligible for a visa before making any plans. You can use InterNations to speak to other expats about their experience of Chinese visas and expat life in China in general. As the biggest online expatriate community in the world, there are bound to be a few people available on InterNations for advice and tips when you need it.
Speaking at least a few words of Mandarin Chinese is essential if you are planning on working in Nanjing. Although the city attracts business from across the world, it is not quite at Beijing’s level just yet. English is frequently spoken in boardrooms, but it is considered a courtesy for expatriate workers to at least attempt to converse in the local language. Expatriates in Nanjing need not to worry, though. There are an abundance of language schools in Nanjing, catering to every type of expat in the city – sign up to a class, and practice your language skills as often as possible in your day to day life. For tips on learning languages quickly, and assimilating to Chinese culture, also check out the InterNations’ discussion boards and forums and get in touch with fellow expats living in Nanjing or other Chinese cities.