Hi, I am Caroline, and I have been living in Shenzhen for one year. In this article, I am going to share my personal concerns about moving to China. Before coming to china, I was very concerned and worried about the language barrier, because I have never spoken a word of Mandarin in my whole life. It makes feel nerved since the whole country speak their own language. But everything gets clear after coming here in China. Here are some advice for you if you are planing to move to China for the first time.
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1. No one in China can speak English
The Chinese government has attached great importance to English teaching for school-age children, so that lots of Chinese are able to speak English, especially people in the first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. When I first came to Beijing, I had met many Chinese who are able to speak English very fluently and are willing to help me get things done. Of course, I do not mean that every Chinese can speak in English. You may not communicate with many staff in local restaurants and grocery stores in English since they can only speak Mandarin or dialects.
2. It’s impossible to go about daily life in China if you do not know any Chinese
Even though you do not know any Chinese when you just come to China several days, there are useful translation software/APPs help you communicate with people and solve daily affairs. Just type in English words and show the Chinese and they will get what you need.
3. It’s very easy / difficult to learn Chinese (Mandarin)
For a majority of normal people in the world, it’s not that easy to learn any languages. There great differences between Chinese and English, and you are likely to be confused by polysemic and polysyllabic Chinese characters. But the best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in that language environment. Living and working in China is a great bonus to learn Chinese, so it’s also not that difficult to learn it. The Chinese around also will be willing to help you to learn Chinese, and once you master some basic Chinese expression, you will live a more interesting and pressure life in China.
If you are extremely worried about the language barriers you will meet in China, why not join a Chinese class before coming to China? Besides, if you plan to be an English teacher in China, lots of English teaching companies provide free Chinese learning class for expats who are interested in Chinese. There is a will, there is a way. Just believe in yourself, and there are always solutions to problems.