My husband and I are Beijing Expats and moved here in 2011 for his new job. But this is not our first Expat experience or move across continents. We are originally from Europe and moved to the US many years ago.
My husband was not sent by an international company on a three-year assignment with a full Expat package but was a so-called “local hire” at a Chinese company, expected to figure most things out by himself. While his company took care of our visa and arranged for a hotel for the first two weeks, the official help ended there.
His Chinese colleagues helped out where they could, especially in the beginning, but we needed to get self-sufficient quickly. Since we didn’t live in an Expat area, there were not many people around to ask the typical questions a foreign newcomer to this amazing and enormous city would have.
Over the course of two years here we learned a lot and gathered a great amount of valuable information from many different sources. Sometimes we had to search hard and deep for it, sometimes we stumbled upon it. We often found ourselves saying “Oh, I wish I had known this earlier. It would have … (insert the following: made life easier/saved some hassle/been fun to do earlier/…)”
We had moved across the world before and traveled extensively in South East Asia but coming to China was very different and more challenging. We learned a lot, about China, the people, the culture, and also about ourselves. I want to use this site to share our insights with other Expats and to help those new to Beijing to make the transition from West to East easier.