Life in China
The Chinese cultural experience would be incomplete, without living and traveling in China. Living in China is truly the rewarding experience of a lifetime.
As a Resident
The biggest difference between teachers and tourists, is residency. As a teacher working in China, you will become part of the community, taking an interest in everyday life, and conducting yourself much as you would back home. You will learn basic Chinese, shop in the markets, bargain in the stores, and take an interest in everyday life in the community in which you live. You will make friends in both the international and local communities in which you live.
Cost of Living in China
In recent years, China has become an increasingly popular destination for expats wanting to live and work abroad. The city of Shanghai, for example, has the most highly concentrated expat population in China with over 300,000 foreigners living in the city.
The cost of living varies by city and region, and is higher in the bigger cities, while smaller cities and more rural areas, can cost much less. The cost, for most commodities, food and transportation, and other day to day living expenses, is however, much lower in China than in Canada.
In larger cities, China also boasts of having the highest quality international goods available, particularly, in clothing, jewelry, higher end electronics, furniture and other items. You will recognize and can pay international prices for items found in major high end, European and North American shops.
The opportunity to save money then, will vary more according to lifestyle. As in any country, learning about the local customs and culture, and trying to live as local people do will result in an exceptional and very low cost experience. Living an international lifestyle, eating in restaurants, in internationally branded hotels and the extent of and style of travel will influence a higher cost for your stay in China.
Food in China
Chinese cuisine has a very high reputation worldwide, and represents the splendid culture of the Chinese nation’s almost five-thousand-year old glorious history. Chinese food is abundant and delicious. Prices vary from very expensive at luxurious hotel restaurants, to very cheap at local restaurants, and even cheaper at street stalls and markets. You will end up selecting your favourite restaurants, and amaze your friends and family back home with what you eat, and the chopstick dexterity that you develop.
Eating is a part of life in China. When eating out, you should usually expect Chinese menus with pictures. However, in most luxury restaurants, in the star-rated hotels, English can be used. It is also easy for expats to access western foods. Fast food restaurants like McDonalds, Pizza Hut and KFC have many locations in China’s major cities, though the menus may vary, and prices are about the same as in Canada. In addition, most star rated hotels have a restaurant providing western food.
The staple food in China is usually rice and noodles. The real traditional Chinese cuisine is quite different from “Chinese food” as experienced in Canada. Food also varies widely across different regions of China with some common elements, including dumplings, fried rice or noodles, steamed buns, and soups.
Local flavors and superb cooking form the present world-famous, Chinese Eight Cuisines from the eight provinces of Shandong, Sichuan, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Hunan and Anhui, each of which has its own characteristics, including the typical Beijing Cuisine and Shanghai Cuisine, which are also popular in China.
While most beverages are available, tea is the most common. Chinese people are believed to have enjoyed tea drinking for more than 4,000 years. Drinking tea is part of the culture and has an art form of its own. You will taste the world’s best tea in China.
Alcoholic beverages are an important component of Chinese cuisine and culture. it is enjoyed by all social classes. Drinking alcohol is quite common, especially Chinese white liqueur, with a high alcohol content. Beer is very common, and is served in most restaurants. Locally made grape wine is common and inexpensive, is very sweet and usually served over ice.
Safety and Security in China
China is generally regarded as a safe country to live in and travel for foreigners. You will find most local people are friendly, honest, and trustworthy. Many Chinese people are curious and eager to meet foreigners, and the younger generation is especially eager to practice their English skills with strangers.
You will find the police in China, generally don’t speak much English, but are friendly and happy to help. If you are lost, then ask for directions and they will usually be happy and find a way to help. Teachers will carry a card, with their home and work place’s name and address in Chinese, as well as English, to facilitate help should you get lost.