So you have arrived in China…The next thing is settling in China. You hopefully moved into your new house or apartment, your student’s dorm. If you haven’t found a place to live yet then it’s best to start looking as soon as possible, since having a place to call home will greatly help you to get settled in China. If you moved to China for work, or because you are a new teacher, then it is likely that the company you are working for will offer help with finding an apartment/house. Contact them and ask them for help, as I greatly recommend that you get help from people that are familiar with the area (that is, if you don’t speak any Chinese and don’t know about the Chinese way of finding an apartment). If you are working in China you will likely have a high enough salary to get a relatively comfortable place to live in, seen that the cost of living is low in China.
So how do you get settled in China?
If you’ve already started working then you will have the opportunity to meet new people at your job. Meeting new people is the first thing you should be doing, as you will have someone to talk to. At first you will probably feel a bit lost, so meeting new people will help you get settled a lot. Since the people that have been there longer (or their entire life) will be able to help you out with any questions you have.
Join the community
But if you haven’t started working yet and haven’t met any people yet then you might feel a bit lonely, irritated and frustrated. You need to be proactive, once you do this you will find that it is extremely easy to meet new people in China and get friends. A tip is to join local communities, whether it’s an expat community, a soccer club, a gym or anything else. Go to a place where people get together on a regular basis. You’ll find that when you join an expat community that there are people who have been through exactly what you are going through. Talking with these people will help you out a lot.
If you haven’t yet, start learning Chinese! Speaking Chinese will greatly help you to get settled and will just help you overall. You might have noticed that I keep on mentioning that you should learn Chinese, this is because I think this will do nothing but benefit you, both in the short and the long run. You will approach people a lot faster knowing that you can speak and understand some Chinese.
When you are walking around outside, or even in your local supermarket, you will find things that you would probably never have found back home. Try new things. Instead of thinking “Ugh, that looks disgusting” just buy it. You might find that it’s the most delicious thing you have ever eaten. Or you might find that is indeed as disgusting as it tasted, but then at least you know you shouldn’t buy that particular product again. Trying new things will introduce you to experiences that help you get settled. Getting into new situations will help you grow into the Chinese mindset. Just going around and doing basic daily things will help you get into the Chinese mindset, so try to get out as much as possible.
Finally, as I’ve said before, try and remember that you are in a different culture and that things in China are probably going to be done differently than you are used to. Just remain open minded and keep that thought in the back of your mind and you will be able to get settled a lot easier.