Being an expat is an exciting prospect with daunting obstacles. A typical challenge is an assimilation into society and culture that may have a range of different dynamics and administrative minutia to the environment you were born in. Among captivating countries that have become a sort of haven for expats, China is probably the one that is talked about the most for a catalog of good reasons. If you are interested to find out what these reasons are, take a more in-depth look into the biggest challenges China expats face and look into the most reasonable ways to overcome them.
Culture and language
The undercurrent of egalitarianism in the western world, in spite of the established hierarchy in business and society, is something that you need to forget when you get to China. Chinese people are very mindful about hierarchical etiquette and, if you are about to have a native superior in the new workplace, you are expected to respect their authority with a sense of detachment that we rarely see in western societies.
This is only a small element that may impact your new life in different ways. Remember that losing face is one of the greatest fears of Chinese people, so you’d be well advised to make sure not to offend anyone and point out people’s mistakes in public. Since China has been exploited for centuries, someone who is deemed a westerner shall be scrutinized much more carefully, and the best starting point in overcoming faux pas is tolearn about etiquette in China before you even step onto the tarmac.
Preparing yourself legally for the prolonged visit to China with the intention of living and working there can turn into a crucible of administrative efforts. You should make your paperwork journey as easy as possible around every corner but ensure that it is paved with durable bricks. Thankfully, we live in a digitized world where comprehensible plans for a matter such as VISA applications and health insurance are just a few clicks away.
If you plan to get a quote onreliable health insurance for expats in China, it would be advisable to consult someone who has been through this experience already, so ask around through the channels of your profession for contact with a peer and a colleague who already lives there. Using online resources and real-time advising can make this initial administrative process infinitely quicker and smoother.
A matter of loneliness
If you plan to relocate to China you have to brace yourself for bouts of loneliness and wistfulness. This will happen even if a sizeable family is along for the ride, but it will not occur immediately. First, you will be utterly fascinated by the new experiences and a vibrant environment that engulfs all your senses. There are several ways to battle this and one of the most popular ones these days is to simply retain close and regular contact with friends and family back home through social networks and communication apps. You have probably overheard that internet access in China is rather restricted, and ubiquitous channels of communications such as Facebook and Gmail are completely blocked.
Many successful western businessmen that operate in China recommend using a VPN among other things to make your life easier. In order to battle nostalgia, you can also engage into the dynamic social environment of expats that have moved from your country to China as well and seek out familiar cultural hallmarks such as ‘homegrown’ films, music, books, and food.
Do not forget about the taxes
It is only reasonable that we tend to lose our heads once we are introduced to a different environment, but you should definitely not forget about filing taxes while you are living abroad. This is another matter you should pay extra attention to before you relocate, and it mostly concerns reading tax laws carefully and even hiring someone who can advise you and help you understand them better. Most foreign governments will require you to be transparent about your earnings and disclose all the necessary information. You may also want to consider using the services of an accountant when doing your taxes due to ‘Foreign Earned Income” tax credit, especially if your earnings are substantial.
Human nature reveals itself in all of its universal glory after you have gotten used to idiosyncrasies of any culture. The big secret of living in China lies in the fact that it is a place just like any other, and the difficulties that become apparent in an instant actually become interchangeable, in a way, with the obstacles you faced in your own country of origin. This is because, and let’s be perfectly honest about it, living anywhere as a responsible adult comes with a range of obstacles, so if you have an adventurous spirit, you should know that there is nothing you cannot overcome, and China is an exciting melting-pot of industry and culture.