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9 Reasons Not to Relocate to China
China isn't for everyone
After relocating to China in 2012, I've recently decided that perhaps after all this time, I'd gained enough know-how to assist others who were considering taking similar action. Consequently, I've now completed several articles detaling how to live and work here, hopefully, successfully.
However I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that relocating, especially to the East, may not be for everyone.
China is both wonderful and frustrating in turns. Over the last three years I've experienced many days of pure joy interspersed with periods of maddening frustration when all I wanted to do was catch the first plane home.
So, in the spirit of fairness, balance and, I guess, full disclosure, here are some ideas about why it may not be such a good idea for you to set-up that ESL interview with a Chinese employer....just yet.
China's not for you if.....Reason 1
1) You're a creature of habit who enjoys being surrounded by your personal comforts. In addition you have a regular routine which you're reluctant to change, or worse, leave behind. Maybe it's the TV schedules which have you wrapped around their virtual little finger. Or perhaps it's the gym, your social life and your circle of friends.
If you constanty find and use external reasons for maintaining the status quo, you're definitely not in the market for a life changing experience abroad.
Reasons 2, 3 and 4
2) You don't have the skills required to get a job here and feel like coming on the off-chance. You're a chancer or an optimist who's fine with leaping before you look. You thrive on running headfirst into the unexpected even though it could and sometimes does end badly. You've heard of the adventures of others who've done it and landed on their feet leading you to think that you could too.
The problem with doing this in a foreign country far away from everything and everyone whom you know is that there probably won't be a safety net. If you're really intent on shaking things up and see moving abroad as the key, calm your wild side long enough to make the move on the back of a solid plan complete with contingencies.
3) You're not really interested in being fully immersed in another culture. It's not that you aren't intrigued by how other people live, it's just that you've never felt a need to experience it up close and personal. Perhaps, deep down you're a little fearful of what you don't know, or maybe simply, you prefer to dip your toes into the exotic via a two week holiday every now and again, which of course, is fine.
4) You really dislike being the centre of attention and you don't make friends easily. You've heard stories of foreigners being unwittedly given almost celebrity status due to being a minority in certain countries, but you're a private person who wouldn't welcome being thrust into the spotlight on an almost daily basis. It bothers you when complete strangers ask you personal questions, (the culture in many eastern countries) and you would hate to have people trying to touch you or make conversation with you simply because they view you as a rare oddity.
Reasons 5, 6 and 7
5) No-one would describe you as resilient or adventurous and while you may not exactly be timid you prefer to follow rather than to lead. The problem with this particular personality trait is that if you were ever to live and work in a foreign country there may well rarely (if ever) be anyone else to pave the way for you. If you're not confident about getting your Star Trek mojo on and boldly going where no man or woman has gone before, maybe this isn't the right thing for you.
6) You don't like being away from home for more than a couple of weeks at a time which could be problematic as overseas job contracts are rarely offered for less than six months, with 9-12 months usually being the bare minimum. Again, your reluctance to live elsewhere could be that you simply like having your own things around you. It could be that you'd worry too much about your home's security or, the thought of a sitter or sub-letter is unappealing. Fair enough.
7) You don't trust the government or the politics of other countries. Reading any national or international news gives you the heebie-jeebies about the wisdom of living in a developing country with a seemingly less than stable administration. Doing your homework and thorough research can assail the worries somewhat, but if you prefer the maxim; 'better the Devil you know' as opposed to 'out of the frying pan, into the fire,' you'll probably be staying put.
Last but not least, reasons 8 and 9
8) It's not the right time for your family. Maybe you don't want to uproot your children. Perhaps you're looking after elderly relatives or you're a carer for other family members. Whatever the reason, right now their needs are your priority and you feel it would be selfish to fulfill your own dreams and put yourself first.
9) You think it could be the way to leave your problems behind but there's a voice in the back of your mind reminding you that whatever you're running away from will just come with you or be waiting when you get back. It's wise to realise that an extended stay abroad won't dissolve whatever difficulties you have in your home country, but it can certainly give you breathing space and allow you to put them into perspective. Stepping away could even be a way to gather strength to deal with them once and for all. But, be careful. Hopping aboard a plane and starting a new life in a new country is definitely not a panacea for all ills.
There's probably a myriad of reasons why living and working abroad is not a good choice for everyone, certainly more than I've covered here, but you don't need me to tell you everything. Some things you can work out quite well for yourself just by listening to your own common sense and following your heart.
Personally speaking, leaving the UK and living in another country was a dream which took about ten years to come true. Even though there were times when it seemed impossible I never gave up hope. What kept me going was the thought of looking back at my life in later years and wondering 'what if?' I couldn't bear the pain of regret. Consequently all the reasons why I shouldn't go paled into insignificance compared to the burning desire to have my wish fulfilled.
Whatever you ultimately decide, whether its to stay or to go, be well, be happy.