The Quality of Life in China: How it is for Foreigners anyway . . .
[written by a teacher in China]
Okay, you may not be playing at Mission Hills Golf Course on a teacher’s wages – but . . . maybe you will!
The quality of life in China for the average foreigner is quite good.
Life in China will definitely be different from what a Westerner is used to. We all know the reasons for this: different country, language barrier, different culture, people, living standards and so on.
China always attracted me by its culture and modern infrastructure, but before seeing it in real life I couldn’t even imagine it was that fantastic, especially the modern, newly built cities. China though, is still full of its traditional old buildings and houses that are a part of this huge and mysterious culture.
Although China is a developing country, the living standards in China are pretty high. If you are an English teacher with an average income, you can live fairly good life here and even save good money.
If you don’t have to pay for your housing, spending 1200-1500+ yuan (depending on the place where you live and how you live, large cities are comparatively expensive) every month would be enough for food and buying the things that you need. Chinese food is very cheap and even if you go to “expensive” Western restaurants, they are still much cheaper than back home.
For the clothes and household goods, Chinese brands are very cheap, and that often means that the quality will not be very good. As the old Chinese proverb says “Nothing cheap can be good”, you have to be careful with cheap goods or your will waste your money.
You can easily find real or fake well known name brands with good quality for a little higher price but still cheaper than you would pay in the States or Europe. If you speak some Chinese (and you eventually would be able to do it after a few months of living in China without even studying it) or even if you speak Chinese at all, you can still bargain almost everywhere beginning from the market in the street and ending in a huge shopping mall of electronics. Chinese people enjoy foreigners, especially if they bargain, and often will reduce the price more for a foreigner than for another Chinese person (quite unusual in Asia!). Keep that in mind and sometimes it really helps.
There are many supermarkets and hypermarkets such as Carrefour, Wu-Mart, Chaoshifa, etc. where you can find almost everything you might need or want for reasonable prices. Although it can be hard to find certain cheeses, olives and a few other common Western grocery goods.
Prices for laptops, cameras and cell phones are cheaper than almost anywhere else, especially if you buy Chinese brands.
In large cities or small towns there is TV cable with English channels and Internet access. Internet access and wireless Internet are available everywhere across China for just 100 yuan a month for usual cable Internet at home and even less than 100 yuan for wireless Internet. Prices will usually depend on the speed of Internet that you want.
There are many bars, night clubs are everywhere; KTVs (karaoke singing rooms) are very popular in China. These places are especially popular among the local people, though many foreigners also enjoy going singing.
Internet cafes are spread out all around. You can get high-speed Internet access only for a few yuan per hour.