Four Bad Habits You Should Avoid as A Foreigner in China

Live in China-Teacher Record


Developing bad habits is always worrying especially in foreign countries. If you are an expat who just came to China to work, please be careful not to fall into the trap of these bad habits.


1. Rely on local people to speak Chinese for you

The language barrier is the first big challenge you will encounter when you come to China for the first time. Learning a new language is not an easy task for anyone, especially when you learn more, the more confusing you would feel. Therefore, you always need a local friend to help you translate when you first come to China so that you can communicate with others, such as going to the Public Security Bureau to apply for a residence permit, renew a visa, call a taxi, order food in a restaurant, etc.

The need for help is understandable, but if you plan to live and work in China for a long time, you must prevent excessive dependence on your local friends. You can't always ask your friends for help every time you need to negotiate with your landlord or order takeaways at home, and in fact no one is available whenever you need a hand.

The best way to solve the language barrier is to learn to speak Mandarin by yourself, at least to enable yourself to talk to people in daily life, and to use Chinese to deal with trivial things in life. If you really have no talent for learning new languages, then learn to make good use of the translation software. It will be a great help.


2. Complain about life in China

When living abroad, foreigners will inevitably encounter various cultural differences. You may often feel incomprehensible and even angry about some certain "strange" behaviors or habits of Chinese people, such as queuing, calling, and the ways of treating animals. But in fact, these "strange things" are based on the subjective definition of your own values. Sitting in a bar and complaining to friends all day "I really don’t know how to queue in China" is useless. After all, no one will change something they think is commonplace just because of your complaint. Moreover, even if you complain to your family or friends a hundred times, it will not change the fact---you will encounter similar situations countless times later in your life.

So, stop complaining about your life in China, and don't bring your negative emotions to your private life and your friends’. If you think about the problem from a new perspective, you may change your view of some "strange" things in your eyes.


3. Eating out all the time

Whether it’s eating out or ordering takeout, you can easily taste a variety of food in China for there are a number of restaurants for you to choose from, and all kinds of applications for you to use. Moreover, the fast-paced and socially-active life in China leaves many foreigners without the energy or time to cook for themselves even though they get off work. However, the consequence of eating out all the time is that you spend a large portion of your budget on food, cause pollution to the environment, such as consuming a lot of disposable tableware, and even do harm to your body since you don’t know what you exactly eat after all. (maybe a lot of additives)

So, try to cook one or two meals at home a week. If you find it boring to cook alone in the kitchen, ask your friends to join you. Once you get used to cooking by yourself, you will find that eating at home can save so much money and bring lots of fun to your life in China.


4. Being addicted to shopping software

No one seems to be able to refuse the temptation to buy new things. Once you are addicted to shopping, this may be your most difficult bad habit.

Take the shopping software "Taobao" as an example. In China, when you ask the question "Where can I buy this item?", the answer you get the most will be "Taobao". Thanks to the developed network and logistics transportation system, you can always receive your parcel within a few days after placing an order on Taobao. It is undeniable that Taobao brings great convenience to our lives. But everything has two sides. It is easy for us to cultivate on Taobao to buy what we need or don't need at all unconsciously. What’s worse, you don’t even realize that you spend or even waste a lot of money on such a shopping application.

In order to avoid falling into the trap of shopping software, before buying something, ask yourself questions like "Do I really need it?" "Can I buy it in a nearby supermarket?", and set a monthly shopping budget.

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