Opinion / Blog

Foreigners' 7 tips to be happy in China

By Sube ( Updated: 2015-05-13 15:33

I have been in China for 4.5 years now. Soon I will be celebrating my 5th anniversary of my love affair with China and its people. I really love this nation and land. This exceptional love does not mean I am doing well or I have realized all of my dreams here. However, I respect the opportunity that they have given me. My ancestors or I have not fought battles for this nation. We have never even touched a brick of the gigantic buildings, road networks or railroads that make up the landscape of this country. However, suddenly I have come to this blooming nation and am enjoying its system. Anyway, I have seen many foreigners who are very unhappy in this country. Some foreigners are doing well here while some are not. Surprisingly, I have seen people from both of these groups saying negative things about this wonderful nation and its people. Therefore, I thought to share some points that I learned from being in this land for so long. I hope these tips will help all of us to be happy.

1 You are in a very different country

Admit and be conscious about the fact that you are in a different, in fact very different country. The difference may be bigger than your previous experiences being abroad or your expectations.

2 Learn their language

Learn the basics. Be able to ask the name of a road, buy a train ticket and other such simple things. This is very important. Because most of the unhappy foreigners I have seen are unhappy because of this. They do not know the language, and more importantly, they are not interested in learning it. They keep thinking the whole world should understand their language, English. They expected migrant saleswomen to understand their English with their accent. They expect underpaid old security guards to understand their importance . This self-sufficient nation with a billion likeminded people can survive even without knowing the word “Hello”. Face up to that fact. This will give you the motivation to quickly figure out simple dialogue, which will make your daily life easier. And it will bring you more happiness than you ever expected.  

3 Be patient with your Chinese

Learning this language and getting better at it is difficult. Even some Chinese are struggling to distinguish some words, for example 4 and 10. Therefore, do not worry when someone does not understand you. Sometimes, even before you say the very first word they will say “women ting bu tong (We can not understand)”. This is heartbreaking or may even make us angry. However, we have to be tolerant because they are shy. Please respect their unwillingness to talk with you. Try another person. It is not hard to find someone patient enough to listen to you struggle with your Chinese. Humorously admit the proverb of Chinese people “Tian bu pa, di bu pa. Jiu pa wai guo ren shuo putong hua” (I am not afraid of heaven or earth, but am afraid of foreigners speaking mandarin)

4 Respect their biases towards the western world

Whenever a Western guy comes to our dormitory, I bet with my friends how long it will take him to take a beautiful Chinese girl to his room. I always win as I bet it to be less than one week. They easily win the affection of the beauties of this nation. I really do not know where they pick up these girls, however they are beauties who may easily be a star of a film or a television series. Whenever a western person comes to a table with lot of Chinese, we experience that awkward movement. All attention are on him/her and suddenly we disappear from the circle. In every aspect, love, sex, career, education or business they get preferential treatment. I have seen this phenomenon make many guys unhappy. Do not be. We cannot change a collective attitude of billions of people, which build up over centuries. Rather than complain and being angry, try to find exceptions. There are jewels of people in this country, who care more about the person and his attitude rather than your color or race. Try to find that gem. It is hard. But for sure, there are many of them.

5 Do not worry too much about the quality of food and beverage

Forget about history. Get behind the best and most popular brands of food and beverages. They are safe now. If you think too much about the quality of food and beverage, your happiness will be gone.

6 Escape from your safe zone

I have seen many people here find their own people and then spend the whole of their time in China with their own people. Go out together, dine together, and play together. They build their little town right here in China. Like the Chinatown in USA. This is to be avoided if you want happiness. What is the point of being in a different country if you spend all of your time with your own people? You can do it better back there in your motherland/fatherland. I admit this feels safe and comfortable at first. However, escape this safe zone to realize the nirvana of being in China.

7 Chinese holidays are not ours

Specially the Chinese New Year, May 1st and national day. If you go out for fun in these times, it is much about suffering among millions of them rather than enjoying the scenery. Talk to your boss, and arrange different vacations for you.

There is a lot more to say. But lengthy blogs may not be read by our CD fans. I wish you will too can add more tips to make our foreigners happy.

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