Living in a foreign country is always an exciting experience. There are many new places to explore, intriguing foods to taste, interesting people to meet, and a unique culture to learn and immerse yourself in. For a foreigner finding himself in the midst of the colorful and millennia-old culture of China, the stark contrasts to one’s own culture and society can be overwhelming and even very challenging. At the same time, for foreign men, there are also unique opportunities to meet Chinese women; this should be the icing on the cake! Before getting lost in the online Chinese dating scene and especially before facing the challenges of a cross-cultural relationship with a lovely Chinese lady, one must first adapt to the challenges a foreigner working and living in China usually has to face. Here are a few:
First and foremost are the living conditions. Most homes in China are utilitarian, only having the most basic necessities. Unless your housing was specifically chosen to meet your needs and the standards you are accustomed to by your employer who is also from the same culture as you, it is more than likely that your initial accommodations will only provide the essentials. The first thing you might want to arrange for is regular housekeeping. In time, you can redecorate and refurnish your new home to suit your tastes; or, perhaps, you can find more appropriate housing.
If you will be spending a fair amount of time at home when you’re not working, you might have to find other forms of entertainment aside from watching the television. China only has one English-speaking TV station and some cable companies do not offer this service in their basic package, if at all. You might be interested in filling your idle hours at home watching cheap DVDs, so it will be a good idea to invest in a DVD player. Another good idea is to bring books with you or buy them online. Of course, you can always learn the Chinese language so you can watch Chinese shows and movies. This will also come in very handy if you want to explore the online Chinese dating scene and meet Chinese women.
Needless to say, the social workings in China are worlds different from those that you are used to. Especially when dealing with colleagues, it is important to remember that the Chinese have an external-locus mindset. This means group norms and the group dynamic, being a team-player or fitting in, and luck determine success and hold more weight than any single individual’s hard work (which is the western mentality). When a mistake is made, it would be best to attribute this to a “misunderstanding” so as to let the Chinese save face. This would be a good way to earn relationship points and your action would be seen as something that would be repaid in the future.
You might find very frustrating the organizational bureaucracy that has the tendency to get in the way of work. For example, if you address a request to the wrong person, that person will not direct you to the right person because he/she would lose face, so you will be left with no response whatsoever to your request and not knowing the reason why. There are also times when an employer will simply choose to ignore you. It may take some time and a lot of patience to learn the idiosyncrasies of Chinese work ethics.
If you are determined to make it in China and are planning on making a life in this uniquely exciting society, and perhaps even find a Chinese woman to marry, you will have to make a lot of adjustments. As with any other culture, Chinese society has its positives and negatives. You will just have to learn to appreciate the former and accept and adapt to the latter. Whatever the case, make everything that comes your way work for you or, at the least, don’t let anything dishearten you.