This is a guest post by two of our favourite bloggers from eTramping. Looking nothing like their blog name suggests the cutesome twosome Agness and Cez travel the world setting themselves a budget of only $25 a day. Their blog is filled with warmth, budget tips, gorgeous photos and plenty of travel envy despite their limited budget. Here’s why they think you should consider living and working in China…
If you have been dreaming of living a permanent nomadic life, but you are afraid of losing control over your finance, one of the best ideas would be to go abroad, find a job and live like a local while still travelling around and experiencing different culture. Now the question arises – where? How about China? This country is growing faster than ever and people are getting richer by the minute. Huge skyscrapers are shooting up all over the place and vast expanses of land are being cleared for the boom in population and business. However, there are a lot more attractive reasons to live, teach and travel in China which I will show you now.
1. High standard of living
China is a very affordable place to live in. With a free apartment and food provided by most of the schools (if you are interested in teaching English), you can live a fairly luxurious life and still be able to save some money for your future plans, whatever they may be. Did you know you can save up to $18.000 a year teaching English in China while still travelling and enjoying yourself a lot?
2. Getting some work experience and learning new skills
Living in China gives you a great opportunity to figure out what you want to do in the future. Do you feel like being a teacher? Great! You will not have any problems finding a teaching position in any province you might want to go to. Do you want to be a full-time blogger? Why not!? With your part-time or full-time job in a factory or school, you will still have plenty of free time to invest into your blog. China gives you a great chance to develop your career as a teacher, blogger and photographer. You can learn a lot from Chinese teachers, get more teaching experience and try out various teaching methods before you decide which ones are the most effective, blog a lot and take a lot of pictures of spiritual temples and stunning scenery.
3. Learning a new language
I guess everyone will agree with saying that living in a country is the best way to learn a language. Although Chinese is considered to be one of the most difficult and challenging languages in the world, I can ensure you that it is going to be easy peasy for you to pick up some words and make some simple sentences within a couple of months. The reason being, Chinese language has probably the easiest grammar structure in the world is a blessing. In order to build a sentence, you simply place words in certain order. There are no tenses and no gender-specific verbs – just words.
With more and more reports and new stories on how China is becoming a major player on the world stage, maybe this is the time for you to start learning Mandarin.
The great news is that most of the schools offer Mandarin classes as part of your contract, so you can learn the language for free after your teaching sessions. If you not, there are plenty of Chinese people who will teach you Chinese and you can return the favour and practice some English with them. There are also a few local language classes where you can sign up to, not only to learn the language, but also to meet new people and get more familiar with Chinese customs.
4. Great social life
China is a place where many different cultures come together – from Taiwanese to Tibetan. Moreover, you will not be the only one foreigner here to live, work and travel. Think of how many different people you can meet on your way while being here – from Chinese teachers and locals to travellers from all over the world. You will certainly never feel bored or lonely with plenty of bars, shopping malls, karaokes, discos, National Parks and so on.
5. Amazing travel opportunities
When working in China, you will still have a lot of free time to travel as there are many holidays dotted around the Chinese calendar. Some holiday might last up to 2-3 weeks as, for example, the Spring Festival holiday. Whilst these tend to offer the longest period to travel in, they are notorious for being particularly busy. With a population of 1.3 billion all trying to visit family and friends, train stations, bus stations and airports get very busy. Not to mention the fact that ticket prices also soar during these so called “Golden Weeks”.
In terms of travel, China has a lot to offer – from floating Zhangjiajie mountains, stunning Tibet, glamorous Shanghai, traditional Beijing to ancient Fenghuang and hectic Hong Kong. You will have the opportunity to travel to breath-taking places you have seen only on TV like the Great Wall, or even somewhere you’ve never even heard of. Asia is also on your doorstep, with cheap flights, train and bus journeys!
6. Feeling safe
China has improved leaps and bounds over the years as a place for Westerners to visit and work. You can, without a doubt, always feel safe no matter where you go and what you do. Chinese are very protective people especially when it comes to foreigners who they treat like someone very special. The police will always make sure you get home safely and I have not heard of anyone complaining about the security system in the Land of Dragons.
7. Eating great and authentic food
From dumplings to noodles, sweet potatoes to corn on the cob and even scorpions and snakes on sticks, China has it all. You will finally experience the real Chinese street food combined with some traditional dishes such as Beijing duck, mooncakes, hot pot or famous Chinese noodles or dumplings (baozi). Chinese food is characterised by its unexpected taste and aroma and very province has its typical dishes, herbs and spices which you must taste!
8. Living like a local
What I consider to be the best reason to come live and teach in China though is the opportunity to experience another country as a local. You will make yourself a local by visiting places regularly and meeting people. You will quickly get familiar with your neighbourhood, pick up your favourite restaurant, hair salon, vegetable markets and locals will stop treating you like a tourist, but like one of them. Imagine no more haggling, paying local prices and meeting familiar faces when going for a walk.
9. Being respected and admired
Seeing a foreigner in the street might be a bit shocking for some Chinese. They will take pictures of you, ask for your phone or QQ number, invite you for a dinner you don’t have to pay for and some of them even take you home and introduce to their family members. Chinese people value pale skin and big eyes as a sign of beauty and wealth, so girls, you will soon become blasé about the word beautiful (piàoliang –漂亮) as you will hear it often. On the other side, men are seen as handsome (shuàigē –帅哥) because they are tall. Everyone will want to make you feel home and as much loved and respected as possible.
10. Discovering new things every day
Imagine your every day being special, unique and different from the previous one. You will always learn some new Chinese words, try some food you have never seen before, speak to people you don’t know and visit places you have never been familiar with. Every single day in China is a new adventure you will be curious about!
Would these 10 reasons convince you to leave your comfort zone and start a new chapter of your life in China?
All words and photos by the eTramping duo Agness and Cez. To read more about China, check out their excellent e-book Add your Brick to the Great Wall: Experience-based Advice for China from Expats which sums up their two-year experience of teaching, living and travelling in the Land of Dragons.