Today’s guest post comes from Prachi who writes The View From The Great Wall.
Beijing is one of the most happening capitals in the world today. People who’ve never been to China see coming here as an experience to witness and indulge in Chinese culture, but what most people don’t realize is that Beijing is one big multi ethnic society, where you are surely to come across the following kinds of people.
1. “I Want To Study In China”
This category includes student exchanges, university collaborations, or even gap years. Any way you somehow find yourself in China, it’s going to change your life most definitely- but doesn’t necessarily change yourself. More parts of you come out more while other parts stay behind.
Students come here for a specific period of time (from 6 months to 1 year) to learn the Mandarin language but often do end up staying behind, by either extending their education or even getting a job here.
The majority of students come from all countries; you’ll find everyone from Ireland to Kazakhstan to The United States, all with the intention of learning Mandarin and eventually taking out time to travel around China. Coming to study language in Beijing is a great opportunity to travel around the city, as well as adjoining provinces. Not only could you plan a quick day trip to The Great Wall, you can even manage to travel to Inner Mongolia (without a visa) or Hong Kong. There are numerous places worth checking out only in China, attracting tourists and also promoting students to travel by providing student discounts on entry tickets and such.
Many students come to Beijing Language and Culture University and Wudaokuo, the district this university is located in, because it works as a comfort pillow to foreigners- being home to many restaurants offering all kinds of cuisines; Indian, Italian, Korean, Continental to name a few. A lot of foreigners swear by this district, and religiously go to famous clubs and hangout spots like La Bamba, Sensation, Propaganda, WU club, Windows, and Lush. Peking University, Beijing Foreign Language School, Beijing Normal University, Tsinghua University, are among the many popular universities for foreigners here in the capital.
2. “I Never Want To Grow Old”
People who initially come here to study or travel are prone to staying in China longer. All for one reason- They never want to grow old. This magical land gives you the feeling that every day is a party. The Beijing night life is crazy amounts of fun, people from all over the world partying under one roof. The famous Sanlitun bar street is the place to be if you’re looking for a crazy night out. It’s all fun and games till the next morning you wake up to realize that the alcohol you might have had the other night was in fact, fake.
I have personally witnessed numerous people in their 30s that choose to stay in China, only to teach English as it provides a good pay per hour, especially if you’re a native speaker.
People make sure they have a job to pay for their rents, and then they are all set to live out the peak years of their lives partying away. It sounds like a great idea till the time realization sets in and they’re 45 years old, single, without any real work experience (so going back to their country doesn’t sound like a good plan) with the additional possibility of herpes.
The city offers a life without the stress of any relationships as the kind of relationships the city offers could tend to be short-lived as people are always leaving and new people are always coming to Beijing. So that leaves no room for attachment, only a convenient vicious circle of non-stop partying and meeting new people.
3. “I’m Looking For A Good Time”
Some reasons are more obvious than others and here’s one absolutely to the point. People come to China for a little mu-shu (as Chris Tucker) puts it. Whether you’re studying or working you will almost always bump into someone who wants to get in your pants. After day comes night, and you’ll probably find yourself in a date sooner or later- Beijing brings that to you. Foreigners find other foreigners and more than often you can find foreigners with the locals.
The search is constantly on, 24/7, all 365 days in a year and everywhere. QQ, Wechat, you name it. To add to that, even websites like TheBeijinger have a separate space for people seeking “companionship”.
You name it, everyone is enjoying this city’s nightlife and the straight forward culture of getting as much as possible.
4. Business with China
Not only is China the world’s second largest trading nation, it’s leading the world in export- coming in second for imports. China’s famous Import & Export Fair, a.k.a the Canton Fair- has the longest history, the highest level, the largest scale, the most complete exhibit variety, the broadest distribution of overseas buyers and the greatest business turnover in China.
China can bring out the businessman in you. There are dozens of people who I have met here, who have started their own companies and have become entrepreneurs. There are great opportunities in the form of starting your own school/classes for the purpose of teaching English.
Getting into business with the next big thing is a wise idea for your financial future.
5. When in China, Do as the Chinese do
Possibly the most sincere reason to stay back, this category of people enter China and never look back. As soon as they get a Chinese Visa they pack their bags and say goodbye to life as they knew it, looking forward to all the oriental adventures coming their way.
A small percentage of the foreigners that come here work in China and eventually get married to a local, have cute little half this and half that babies, enjoying the perks of being a laowai in China. [A fun YouTube video: Preferential Treatment to Laowais.]
Whatever it is that had brought us to this country in the first place is long forgotten and the Chinese culture is completely embraced. They are now complaining about the same issues that the locals face, getting their names in the car number lotto, not to mention folding their pants to their knees and confessing their undying love for Tsingtao!
So Ganbei to you, China!