3 Good and Bad Reasons to Come to China
You know the most common saying about opinions? Yeah, that one. This post might make you think of me in that way. But read on for a view that might be true for you.
3 “Good” Reasons to Come to China
- Travel – There are too many places to go to and see in China – which makes traveling the number one (most enjoyable) reason to come to China. Plus, depending on where you end up living in China, a handful of other countries are just a stone’s throw away.
- Learn Chinese – Obviously a great reason to come to China is to learn Chinese. Just two pieces of quick advice, though: if you can, start taking classes before you get here. Also, don’t set yourself the goal of becoming truly fluent in Chinese, unless you can spend at least several years studying full time in a university, plan to stay for quite a few years, or are a masochist.
- Earn $$$ + Live it Up on an Expat Package – If you have a chance to come to China with a pay package similar to what you’re making back home, there are few reasons not to come. You will lead a comfortable life, should be able to save far more money than you could back home, will pay less in taxes, and can do all of the things that others come to China for (as long as you have or make a little spare time). What is certain is that having an expat package is better than being ‘poor’ in China.
3 “Bad” Reasons to Come to China
- Strike it Rich without Doing the Groundwork – Doing business in China and being an entrepreneur here is not the easy path to wealth it may seem. While a ton of legwork, a great business plan, a deep understanding of ‘the way things work’ in China, and a special talent for spotting sketchy situations should result in success, don’t come expecting easy money by doing business in China.
- Change China – There are plenty of Chinese people that want to see China change – but as a foreigner, don’t expect to be able to contribute much to such change. A notable exception to this are charities with a clear purpose that is approved of by the local and central government. If you don’t know what I mean by “change China”, just think about it for a bit. If your goal of changing China is to change the mind of one friend at a time, this is entirely within the realm of possibility.
- Impart English unto Middle and High School Aged Learners – This is a worthy goal. However, in most junior and senior high schools, where a large portion of English teaching opportunities in China lie, realities largely beyond your control will make achieving this goal an impossibility due to problems in China’s secondary education system. Of the 70+ people who were in the teaching program I came over to China on, maybe two or three thought they truly ‘made a difference’ in the learning of their students. If you come to China to teach English, try to get into a job where you are given the chance to really teach, not just entertain. Don’t assume you will be given this chance.
So What Do You Think?
What are some good and bad reasons to come to China? It’s obvious that everyone’s situation is different – good reasons for some are bad reasons for others, but the more opinions the easier it will be to make this distinction.
This is a follow up to the Why Come to China group writing project, and so in addition to leaving some comments below, you may also want to check out the project and write a post of your own giving advice on why to come to China.