Once you move abroad and change your status from being a citizen to being a foreigner very soon you come to realize that the most of your conversation topics revolve around the same scenario.- What’s your name?
– Where are you from?
– What do you do in here?
– Why did you come here?
– What’s your name again?
You don’t know anybody and no one knows you. So here is your chance to present yourself, make yourself important and blend in into this new environment. You will be judged and evaluated for everything and everywhere. Soon you’ll find that you have already been listed in a category, which people think describes you the best.
1. Hot/ so so/ nahhh
2. Funny/ smart/ Easy going/ weird/ avoid talking to
3. Party animal/ boring/ invite if nobody else is coming
1. Slacker/ hardworking
2. Fast learner/ explain-them-everything-again type
3. Self-motivated/ could do better/ not organized.
4. Good/ bad communication, language skills.
5. Appropriate/ inappropriate
6. And so on and so on and so on….
You will have to build the whole new reputation (the fact that you were very popular at school/uni doesn’t really count, nor the fact that you weren’t ) . Therefore, you will want to leave people a good first impression.
Every time I meet new people and talk to them, they always give me smart, standard answers. Everybody wants to look intelligent and motivated. When I ask why they’ve decided to come to China, they usually say:
A) I wanted to learn more about this fascinating culture!
B) I wanted to gain work experience in China, as I see it as a key player in the World’s economy.
C) I think learning Chinese is very beneficial nowadays.
I am not going to be a hypocrite and say that I haven’t said any of those things before, as I did it so many times I can’t even count. But if my friends would ask me why it’s worth buying those expensive tickets and coming all the way to China, this is what I would tell them:
– Easy to integrate. UK, France or EU generally has so many foreigners that their reaction to you will be a smiley face followed with a thought: gosh, another one immigrant… Plus if your English doesn’t sound like native they will find it difficult to see you as one of their own. Your accent might for some reason be seen as a lack of intelligence.
In China all the foreigners will see you as one of their own, as you’ve already came such a long way to China and so did they. They obviously think this was a really cool thing to do, so if you’re in China you must be cool too.
– Easy to be smart. Travelling, learning Chinese, working in a Chinese company will never let you look stupid in front of your friends. And if you will learn how to say: “hello, how are you, I’m very good, thank you ” in Chinese, all the locals will think that you’re very smart, as they’re not used to foreigners speaking their language.
– The status of local celebrity. People in Mainland China love foreigners. And that guarantees you plenty of attention in the street, including requests to take a photograph together. People will be more willing to make friends with you, clubs will serve you free booze from time to time.
– Hangover? Feel free to get a taxi to work: only 1 euro for 3 km.
– Broke? Teach English for 20 euros per hour.
– Can’t cook? Eat out, as it is cheaper than cooking at home.
– Afraid of serving a coffee instead of doing a real stuff? Come to China, you’ll see the real thing.
Many great things in here, I would say. Of course all the things in life come with a cost. In here we would be looking at the time without a family, long distance relationship, language barrier, squat toilets in the public places (hehe). But I think China is awesome and we all are having a great time in here.
My best wishes