Why You Should Go to China

Sandi Yu · July 10, 2018
In 1996, Princeton graduate Peter Hessler became one of the first pioneer volunteers of Peace Corps to go to China and teach English. After spending two years in a small town near the Yangtze River, he completed a 400-page manuscript, but was rejected by almost all the publishers, one of them saying "we don't think anybody wants to read a book about China".(1) He finally found a publisher in 2001, and the book, called "River Town", was named "A New York Times Notable Book" and won him the Kiriyama Prize.

In 2009, President Obama announced the "100,000 Strong Initiative", to send 100k American students to study in China by 2014. The goal was met by mid-2014. One year later, President Obama announced a new and more ambitious goal, "1 Million Strong", to bring the total number of Mandarin learners in the States to 1 million by 2020.(2)

In a study conducted by PWC(3), China will be the largest economy in the world before 2030, and share 20% of the world total GDP by 2050. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese study and work in western countries, but in the next decades, it may just be the other way round. The world goes to China for travel, education and business. Here are the four reasons why you should go to China, and join the big family of Expats in China.

The Development

For most cities in the US, chances are, they look the same as they did 10 years ago. That is almost never the case in China. When Peter Hessler first arrived in the small river town in 1996, it took him 2 days to get to the neighboring village. Five years later, the trip was a pleasant 3-hour drive along the newly built highway.

The Culture

You may have seen some Chinese students walking around campus while studying in college. You may have some Chinese co-workers sitting on the team next to you. You may even know some jokes about the Chinese and the culture. However, you can only understand them after you step on the land they grow up, dive into the bits and pieces of daily lives they have.


The Landscape

Whether you are a city gal, or a country boy, there is definitely a place in China that suits your appetite. From the tallest mountain on earth, to the biggest city in the world. From the busy shopping mall to the vast plateau. From the palace built hundreds of years ago, to the modern landmark in a brand new CBD (central business district). It is amazing that the landscapes are so different and yet so magically moulded together.


The Food

In China, vegetables are rarely just steamed, boiled, or baked. In fact, there were vegetarian restaurants in China way before the idea was popular in the western culture, and salad was not at all included. The fancy, sophisticated and tasteful cuisines only made with vegetables are just one example of how creative, elaborate and skillful the Chinese people are when it comes to cooking.

Different crops grown on different lands, harvested, selected and turned into different staple foods. Other ingredients also vary with the terrain, season and weather. There are Chinese restaurants all over the world, but the most authentic ones, with the most authentic ingredients, prepared by local hands, are made in China. 


The world is flat. Some choose to close their eyes and deny the changes, while others embrace the new challenges. Some say foreigners come and take jobs from locals, others find new ways of making a living by entering into the foreign lands themselves. Just like the former Peace Corp Peter Hessler, you can take a closer look at this big country, and make a portrait of it yourself.

1. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2013/03/fuling-china/
2. https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/25/china-us-obamas-one-million-students-chinese-language-mandarin/
3. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/issues/economy/the-world-in-2050.html

Want to know more about China from a foreigner's perspective? Here is a blog of an Australian expat who has spent over 10 years in China.

More tips for you from us. Check this one out: The Most Foreign Friendly Banks in China.
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