What is especially important when it comes to preparing for China? What should you not forget when moving there for work? We asked German expats in China and compiled a list with their best tips. Our survey was split into two parts: First we asked our visitors on the ICC portal which of the following aspects they considered most important in making the transition from Germany to China as seamless as possible.
Survey about preparing for China
The respondents were able to choose between: 1. Preparing mentally and emotionally for the time abroad. 2. Informing yourself about living and working conditions. 3. Organizational measures for the moving process and initial phase. The following diagram shows the opinion of 117 of our readers:
Even though the margin is not too large, it is apparent that the majority considers mental and emotional preparation as the most important thing. We wanted to find out what that means to them in particular.
Therefore in the next step we asked 75 people in an open survey what they think is the most important thing to prepare for China. Multiple answers were possible. The list with the most common recommendations is as follows.
Top 5 preparation tips for China
1. Attend an intercultural training seminar
Attending an intercultural training seminar to be prepared for your stint in China was recommended 36 times. These trainings cannot solve every problem but are effective in reducing insecurities at the beginning.
The importance of openness was mentioned 24 times, often in connection with curiosity and flexibility. You should take off your “German glasses” in order to have a “fresh start” in China.
3. Acquiring some skills in Chinese
The Chinese language can admittedly not be learned over night, however, many respondents thought this point was especially important. The importance of preparing in the language department was stressed by 18 of them. At least basic skills for everyday life should be present.
Patience is not only a virtue but a healthy dose of it is an absolute must when it comes to China, said 13 interviewees. This was considered true for both private and professional life. If you are too impatient in China, you are just making your own life harder than it needs to be.
5. Medical care
When going to China, it is imperative to get all necessary vaccinations ahead of time (this is more important for some regions than others). Special medication and toiletries should also not be forgotten. Some cremes and deodorants are hard to come by in China or very expensive. 9 people considered this point important.
There were also some quirky ideas. Those are not representative and probably not all serious but we felt we should not deprive you of them. We would also like to point out that they are not representing the opinion of the ICC team.
“Learn to drink a lot of alcohol” (2 x);”get a divorce” (1 x);”start smoking to get used to the air” (1 x);”licorice!” (1x).
This survey shows once again that German expatriates consider intercultural training in combination with the right attitude the best way to prepare for life in China. At the same time, services for intercultural education offered for Chinese citizens going abroad are also on the rise.
Do you agree with the abovementioned? Do you consider other factors more important? We would love to hear about your own experiences.
About the author
Jonas Polfuß is lecturer of China Studies, certified intercultural trainer, and blog author. He provides intercultural trainings for German-Chinese companies, is a consultant for tourism catered towards Chinese visitors to Germany, and has published numerous articles on the topic of intercultural training for China.