7 Things We Wish We Knew Before Coming To China

Rachel Weiss
Career China Digital Marketing Manager
Oct 29, 2018

When you’re preparing to move to China, there are many things you have to plan and research – everything from visas and packing to culture and food are all important topics to think about. It can be a little overwhelming to sort through all the information out there!

After talking with many current ESL teachers in China, here's a list of 7 Important Things You Should Know Before Coming To China:


 1. Not Many People Speak English

People do not speak as much English as you might think. It is possible to live in China and not speak Chinese, but it is very beneficial if you immerse yourself in Chinese culture and make an effort to try. You will also have an advantage if you know some basic Chinese before arriving. Elementary Chinese is a great channel to look up if  you're interested in learning.

It's extremely helpful to download a translation APP – a lot of people say Google translate Pleco, or Waygo work really well.  If you're traveling in China and need help, it is always a good idea to find someone who looks like a student – many Chinese students will study English and might be able to assist you.

Click here to learn some Chinese words and phrases that will help you survive when you first come to China!

 2. Chinese Mannerisms

Living in a foreign culture, you'll witness and experience many Chinese mannerisms that are different or strange to you.  Just a few of the Chinese mannerisms that you might see:

 Here's a few other Chinese quirks that you might experience.


3. Culture Shock

 Culture shock is part of the experience of moving to a new country. It might surprise you though - China is actually very modern and developed, especially in bigger cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, and Chongqing. China is so big and can offer a variety of experiences, so if you want a more traditional Chinese experience, then think about moving to a smaller city or finding a more traditional area to live in.

Here are some other cultural quirks you might experience.


4. Chinese Food

Chinese food is definitely not the same as it is in your home country! China actually has 8 different kinds of cuisines, and the food will taste different depending on the region you're in. Generally, the regions are like this:

5. Have An Open Mind

Often times people will have prior Ideas and stereotypes in their mind of what China and Chinese people will be like. For instance, many believe that all Chinese students are very disciplined, only study, and don't play – but kids are kids, no matter where you are! Some are studious, and some are not. Let go of any expectations and come with an open mind so you won't get annoyed or disappointed.


6. Health Insurance

     This is a must in China! Hospitals work differently in China and you will need to pay everything upfront. You'll be glad you have this, whether its for smaller issues or any accidents that might happen.

Read more about Healthcare in China


7. Don't Bring Too Much

 Many people overpack when coming to China because they are worried they won't find certain items – but don't worry! There are actually plenty of shops to buy most items you need, and for everything else there is Taobao, the Chinese version of Amazon.

The most important things you should bring: beauty products if you require specific items. Another thing to note: If you are not the same build as a Chinese person, then bring more clothing and shoes

Read more on what to pack for China!


Important Things To Know Before You Come To China

While it's impossible to plan for everything, these are some things that are especially helpful to know before you arrive in China!

For more information about living and traveling in China, check out The Ultimate Guide for Moving to China



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