Common Courtesy Isn’t So Common
Another top challenge of China expat living is that manners – as we understand them, anyway – don’t seem to exist. People openly gawk at foreigners in the streets. They push and shove to get to the front of any line, even if there’s assigned seating. They litter. They spit. They don’t hold doors open or say “please” and “thank you.” In business, they will often be blatantly dishonest about timelines, budgets, etc.
These things are all true, but not about everyone, and it’s not malicious. The trick is to avoid taking it personally. Chalk it up to a cultural difference and, when necessary, take time to yourself to recharge.
Complaining Expats Are The Worst
The response we received to our Facebook poll was shocking – most respondents said their biggest challenge living in China was dealing with OTHER expats complaining about China. Odd, at first glance. But expats in China do generally spend much of their time together, and if every gathering deteriorates into a China-bashing fest, it’s easy to get fed up with the negativity.
The solution? Surround yourself with positive people who understand and know how to deal with China. And check this out:
“Whenever I am about to grumble about something that I don’t like in China, I first remind myself that I am a guest in this country. I love China but I also get culture shock. I think its important to remember we are guests here, and that Chinese people should not be expected to cater to our western standards. Chinese people spit because its part of Zhong Yi (Chinese medicine), its kinda like how we cover our mouths when we cough. Except the Chinese people believe all mucus should be clear from the throat. In our western eyes hacking up a golden nugget and letting it fly isn’t legal (at least in Canada). But I am not in Canada right now. China doesn’t need to do anything for foreigners. Most of us are making a salary that is triple that of a professional local. Its hard for me to keep a positive prospective on China when I see foreigners rage hate. I usually have two questions for these kids: Are you happy here? (if the answer is no), then I ask why don’t you leave then?”