Dating and Social Interaction in China
[guest written by a teacher in China]
Once you are in China and you don’t know anybody in your new country and society, it might seem a bit difficult to meet good people or to make real friends.
This is just a first impression you could feel after you get in a new unfamiliar environment. But, it won’t take long to get to know few people, certainly first at your school.
I remember going to the party at the Belgium embassy, though I don’t really have any Belgium friends at the time. We met someone just 20 minutes before the party started. There were many people from different countries: France, Austria, Poland, etc. and we ended up having a good dinner there and meeting so many people. I always say, one should be open to everything new.
Many Chinese really enjoy foreigners, especially those who can speak some English and possesses at least some knowledge of Western culture. These people are usually open-minded and very sociable. They always look forward to meeting and communicating with foreigners. And I should admit that many foreigners, especially guys, find Chinese women exotic and beautiful. Many of my friends have been maintaining serious relationships with Chinese girls for a several years.
Some of them get married and live in China. Others move to the husband’s home country after marriage (USA, Canada and other places). I even know a few couples with the wife being from another country. It’s a common thing.
Nobody is going to gossip about whom you are dating. Of course it’s not actually permitted to date your students or other teaching staff at your school. Usually teaching institutions try to prevent any type of relationships between Chinese and foreigners, as well as between Chinese themselves. [workplace harmony is an important value in Chinese culture]
If you just try to keep friendly relationships with your students or colleagues at work, you will never break any rules. Sometimes you might want to go out for dinner on some special occasion or just go sightseeing, it’s quite common if you join you Chinese colleagues or students. Many foreigners do it, and actually Chinese people seem to enjoy having a foreigner around.
In smaller cities or towns, there are usually not so many foreigners, so these people try to establish kind of “local foreign community”, where everybody knows each other. They often get together after work. There are usually a few people dating each other. This small community is often closed, there no Chinese at all, only Western-oriented individuals. So when a newcomer arrives in the city /town, this community meets the person straight away. They show him/her around and help him/her to adjust. It’s a good thing, I’ve experienced this myself and should say that I’ve met so may good people and we had a great time together.