China is an amazing country full of wonderful opportunities, breathtaking scenery and incredible food. But living abroad can hold some challenging experiences if you’re unfamiliar with the territory. You can get the most from your experience with the following tips.
1. Do Your Research
Before you depart, research everything you can about the country. Through books, magazines and articles on the Internet you’ll find information about its history. You’ll also learn valuable tips on how to be respect the culture, dress code and traditions. Reading can prove helpful when deciding on a location to live, places to visit and items that may be hard to come by. To help make it an easier transition, try to absorb as much knowledge as you possibly can in advance of your move.
2. Embrace the Culture
A country’s culture can create difficult hurdles for a person when moving. Instead of focusing on the quirks, you want to savor its rich culture. Yoga, Taoism, Taichi, Wushu, Confucianism and Kung Fu are just a few of the many beautiful offerings. You can also integrate by speaking with the locals. Through their wisdom, you may learn valuable customs such as respecting elders and how to accept invitations. What was rude at home may not be poor manners in China, so you need to hone your soup slurping skills.
3. Explore the Country
Although you need to get settled when living abroad in a new country, you want to set aside time to see the amazing sights. You can begin by visiting must-see places such as the Great Wall, Leshan Giant Buddha, The Laojiashan National Forest, Yungang Grottoes, and the Forbidden City. You may also want to get-to-know the country’s complexity by visiting Tibet, Shenyang and Yunnan. To get a better grasp of its history and offerings, enlist the help of a guide. This expert can provide in-depth knowledge about the structures, artifacts and scenery.
4. Don't Be Afraid to Haggle
In certain cultures, haggling is an integral part of the negotiating process. Although a barber, shop owner or food vendor may dictate an amount, you shouldn’t pay full price. The art in haggling is best done by knowing when you should and shouldn’t negotiate. If you’re visiting a small shop, open air market or street vendor, this is a great time to work out a deal. Supermarkets, larger stores and establishments with a fixed price may be firm with the amount. To ensure you get fair value on an item, shop around. You should also be respectful and good humored during negotiations. If the amount is still too high, walk away from the deal. The vendor may have a change of heart as you take your leave.
5. Learn the Language
Learning the language of the country is a sign of respect. It also shows that you are willing to adapt to the country you reside in. While China is home to many languages, Mandarin is the commonly used language. Mandarin is not as difficult to learn as some make it out to be. Even simple phrases at the start can be enough to show the community residents that you are trying. When you need to negotiate, do business, travel or attend to your personal life, you’ll find that speaking the language can prove beneficial in getting ahead. To simplify the process, you want to decide on the simplified or traditional characters. You may pick up the language easier if you adopt an intensive learning program. Although this can take time and money, you’ll be amazed at your progress when you devote the hours. You may also want to enlist the help of non-English speaking residents to assist with your language learning skills.
6. Enjoy the Food
Chinese cuisine is different than the restaurants and carry-out options many have come to know in the United States. But the country has some amazingly delicious fare to try. When living abroad in China, don’t be afraid to try new dishes. Su Dongpo is a tasty dish that is made from pork belly that is braised and pan-fried. If you enjoy spicy food, la zi ji is a flavorful chicken option using peppercorns, chili and sesame. But beware, as it can set your mouth afire. Pork buns, dumplings and ramen soups are other regional foods you may want to start with. If you want to avoid eating foods that you may not find pleasing, it’s best to ask what the item is first.
About the Author: Ella Kim
Ella, Content Manager for trekbible, is a writer and content specialist with a predilection for learning and exploring new places and cultures around the world. With family scattered throughout the U.S. and South Korea, she loves to see cross-cultural influences around the world. Her favorite thing to do on her travels is to taste the local cuisine of each destination.
Bribie Island is a large, sandy island located near Brisbane, Australia. It is easily accessible by bridge and is perfect for a day trip filled with sun, swimming, fishing, adventure or relaxation. To best explore the island, you’ll need a 4WD vehicle. If you don’t have much time or money to visit the bigger sand islands like Moreton or Fraser, Bribie Island is an excellent choice. As with any adventurous trip, it’s important to be covered by great travel insurance.
Without a 4WD
If you don’t have a 4WD car, proceed to Woorim Beach. The beach is good for a swim and there is a nice barbecue area with showers and bathrooms located nearby. However, if you are visiting in the summer, be aware that bluebottle jellyfish are common at Woorim Beach and can leave you with a painful sting. We visited Woorim on Christmas Day this year and while we didn’t get stung, there were a few people screaming in pain that were quickly attended by lifeguards.
With a 4WD
If you are feeling adventurous, you’ll need to get a permit for the Bribie Island National Park. You can either get a week-long pass online or at a shop located on the road to the National Park for about $41 AUD. You must display the permit on your car while parked on the island.
Before driving along the “sand highway” you need to let some air out of your tires. This makes it easier to drive on the sand. Right before the access to the beach, you can find many people doing this. The next step is the most adventurous/difficult. The short drive to the beach is through VERY soft sand. It’s important not to stop driving at any point until you reach the harder, packed sand of the beach. Stopping will leave your car bogged. However, if this happens, don’t panic. There are usually many other drivers with cars and equipment willing to get you moving again.
Once you’ve beat the soft sand, especially at the beach entrance, the fun truly begins. Drive along the sand highway with turquoise waters on your right hand side. During the summer, you can find people swimming and enjoying the waves. All year round you’ll see people fishing and relaxing beside their vehicles.
Keep driving until you see a clearing on your left hand side. This is where a lagoon with an excellent rope swing is hidden. This is also where we saw the largest male kangaroo we’ve ever seen! Park near the lagoon (you will most likely see quite a few other people as well) and make your way into the water.
The lagoon is very peculiar in color due to the trees that surround it. When photographed, the mineral creates an ombré effect which is quite stunning. In real life, you’ll notice that your skin looks much darker under the water. Keep swimming to the right, avoiding the slimy ground if possible, until you find a rope swing. If you don’t want to swim, there is also a hiking path that brings you to the top of the swing in about 3 minutes.
If you prefer to play in the waves or fish, simply pull over on the left side at any point along the sand highway and set up camp. The last time we did this a HUGE lace monitor lizard (also called a goana) decided to pay us a visit. Make sure not to touch anything they have had in their mouth because they have toxic saliva.
Where to Go for Sunset
After a day at the beach, head to the opposite side of the island for a beautiful sunset with ex-volcanoes in the background. Pelicans gather near Sylvan Beach and the colors are magnificent! If you’re hungry, there are some restaurants and shops nearby.
Bribie Island, while not as famous as the other islands near Brisbane, is a great choice for those looking for a quick and inexpensive get-away. A bit of Aussie adventure and nature is the perfect cure to the monotony of the work week or as part of an epic East Coast roadtrip.
Coverage For ExPats Visiting Home
In 2017 I traveled to my home country, the United States of America, from Australia. I am a firm believer in getting travel insurance (it's covered an operation in Costa Rica, hospitalisation in Australia after visiting Thailand and a hotel stay in Hawaii after being re-routed). However, it is NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE for an expat to find coverage for visiting their hometown. Keep reading to find out which company covered my trip and WHY it is so difficult to get travel insurance coverage for an expat traveling home.
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