Living in a foreign country always starts off exciting, especially with the amount of new sights and experiences around. When the novelty has worn off and the adrenaline is running out, do you have enough support in your new life to keep you from breaking down in loneliness? Do you have the resources to live a happy, fuller life? Thus it is important to create a network system and to cultivate your life in a way that adds value to your experience. Here we present to you five things to enhance your life in China.
1. Socialize / Network
Join some social events in town. The easiest way would be to go to meetup.com and choose a group/activity that interests you. There are also some weekend markets, festivals, parties that you can attend and meet people.
There are so many wonderful non-profit organizations in Beijing/Shanghai that offer volunteering opportunities. Simply choose one that is in line with your purpose. For example, you can teach English to migrant children in the suburbs of Shanghai (check out Stepping Stones) or fundraise for the Baobei Foundation which provides medical care to Chinese orphans with birth defects.
Volunteering is a great way to help those in needs and make new friends.
3. Get to Know Your Neighbourhoods
Different districts in the city feed different needs of the local and foreign residents. Sanlitun in Beijing is known as the hub of the Beijingers’ nightlife, while Xintiandi in Shanghai is more popular with tourists and restaurants in this area tend to be overpriced. Each neighbourhood has its own vibe and you’d be able to find one that’s more to your liking.
Take time to explore all the neighbourhoods in your area to find out where to get your necessities from, be it a wet market, a pharmacy or even a wine supplier (we’re not judging!).
4. Online Shopping
One of the first Chinese words you’d learn, whether intentionally or coincidentally, would be “Taobao 淘宝”. It’s an online shopping haven where you can get just about anything, at a fraction of the price you’d pay in brick-and-mortar stores. So if you haven’t started yet, it’s time to explore this new world.
The downside is that this online shop is only in Chinese, which brings us to the next point: learn Chinese!
5. Learn Chinese
Nothing is more frustrating than needing something but not having the ability to ask for it. Worse, if you’re in a sticky situation but have no way to explain yourself out of it. Although Beijing and Shanghai are two modern, international cities, there are still people (especially the older generation or migrants) who can’t speak English.
If you’re too lazy to attend Chinese classes, you can always take online Chinese lessons or hire a Chinese home tutor. Currently, there is up to 10% off home tutoring lessons at That’s Mandarin Beijing.
That’s a lot of savings, especially since you won’t have to commute to the school. Plus you’ll be taught by qualified, experienced teachers, and not just by some Chinese recent graduates trying to make some bucks teaching Mandarin.
We hope the tips above can help you settle into your new life in China or enhance your already-fabulous Chinese life. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and remember that “everything is possible in China”.
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When in doubt, contact our Course Consultant and they’ll be able to give you advice on the best deal and course for you.