For foreigners, China’s booming economy and lengthy history may be the most frequently heard phrases, however, what it will be if you decide to experience four-year study in this mysterious and most populous country?
The first few weeks you will find that China is really massive and huge. Also, China turns out to be a lot different from your country, which may cause you a little headache. However, after staying in China for a bit longer time, you will love this country and never regret living in this dynamic and vibrant country.
An Economy with Fast Growth
As for the economy of China, it is believed that during the previous 30 years, China has enjoyed the world’s quickest economic growth rate with annual average growth rate maintained at a level of 9%. Even during the global financial crisis in 2009, its economy was still among the first in the world to rebound, quickly returning to growth.
The promising domestic market and stable investment environment make China an attractive land for foreign companies. Most top 500 companies do business with China, with many choosing to base their Asia-Pacific headquarters in the bustling Chinese cities of Hong Kong, Shanghai or Beijing. For international students who are studying in China, it is possible for them to hunt a job in famous foreign companies.
Recently, the emergence of the economic and technical development zones not only demonstrates the economic strength of today’s China but also brings more opportunities to foreigners for investing and project researching. The most renowned ones are the Dalian Economic and Technical Development Zone, Shanghai Minhang Economic and Technological Development zone and Suzhou Industrial Park etc. These zones are all open for students to visit and study.
However, with no exception, the economy of China develops unevenly by region. For example, cities like Beijing, Shanghai have higher living costs and more pressure to find a job while smaller cities like Dalian, Qingdao and Shenyang have lower costs and less pressure to find a job. See Chinese Cities and living costs.
Splendid History and Culture
Known as the “giant dragon in the east’, China is the world’s most populous country with a lengthy culture stretching back nearly 5,000 years. Be abundant of tangible treasures like the Forbidden City and Great Wall as well as intellectual works including Chinese Calligraphy and various Local Operas, China is reputed for its cultural heritage. When China steps into the new century and begins to play a vital role in the world stage, there has been a revival of interest in ancient Chinese civilization: Confucian philosophy, the Four Great Inventions, the flourishing Tang dynasty, etc.
Still, how much does modern China inherit from its 5000 year-old civilization? As China focuses on economic development and modernization, this question may be a little contradictory to answer.
In China, many cities which are dotted with splendid traditional Chinese architecture are much modernized now. In Beijing, for instance, you are confused about the mixed city sights when first settling down. Beijing is a mix of tradition and modernization. Only when you are surrounded by Hutongs will you find the traces of old Beijing stories. Admittedly, Chinese cities with ancient cultural heritage are in fast changes, bringing people more convenient life and meanwhile vanishing lots of good old days.
But, luckily, the essential part of Chinese culture has never been changed. In line with Confucian teaching, Chinese culture still attaches great importance on education. Chinese government has put huge money on the career of higher education, to ensure the quality of universities, to elevate the level of faculty and to create more relaxed environment of education so that China can face all the challenges of the 21st century.
A Large Population Base
In the Chinese geography book for middle school students, China is often described as “a country with a vast territory and a large population base”. Indeed, 1.3 billion might sound like a “terrifying” number, whereas Chinese People are just like any nation in the world. They possess the same hope and deal with the same problem. You may hear that Chinese people are getting rich now and China is a paradise to foreigners. It is true that China has developed very well and living in China is rather comfortable especially in some coastal cities. However, Chinese people are answering the same questions as any other people in the world: Competitions are getting fierce for the college graduates. The price of apartments is rising and couples have to work hard to save money for it.Parents spend a considerable part on the education of their kids.
So how can a foreigner cope with the fitting-in issue? Is it easy for a foreigner to live with almost 1.3 billion people? Upon your arrival, you may encounter the locals who speak little English but want to communicate with you, just be patient and you will find actually Chinese people are very friendly and what they want is only to help you. Sometimes people may act too friendly so that you feel it difficult to cope with. However, this is exactly the way Chinese treat a foreign guests. Remember in China, accepting kindness is really important. Maybe, some other people may feel frustrated when dealing with a problem involved with a foreigner, and then you are advised to be patient enough or to bring a Chinese friend when you need to be understood.
A Country with Diversity and Mystery
Just browse the map of China, you will find China is very big and vast, which makes it a perfect place for travelling and studying. As the third largest nation in the world, China occupies a tremendous regional diversity ranging from terrain, weather to culture, language and food. Every year, many foreigners come to China to tour and explore this mysterious country. When you study in China, don’t forget to do a long trip during your summer and winter holidays, which is not only a good experience but also a great chance to explore this diversified, interesting country and appreciate featured sceneries along the trip.