25. February 2021
China is completely different from Europe – in life, in culture and people. My personal experiences within the expatriation program showed me, that everything here is fast, huge and constantly changing!
Life is always unpredictable and you never know how it can turn around at any moment. In 2015 I was doing my University exchange semester in Beijing. That was the first time when I came to China. I enjoyed my time there so much, that I was wishing to come back once again in my life.
Some years later, thanks to TGW, dreams came true. So, along with my career and personal motivations, I was able to come again to the country, which left only good memories and emotions in my mind.
Actually, I got most of my China preparation way before I joined TGW. Nowadays, it is not a big problem to get some information in advance – via YouTube, Instagram, and travel blogs. Also my “look and feel” trip was very useful because I could meet my future colleagues, talk to them and get a first impression of the office, city and this vibe of life around.
I've always found it interesting that your hobbies can help you a lot to find new people in a new city, no matter which part of the world you are going to. In my case it was sports – I played ice hockey and football in Shanghai. There were hobby leagues which gather all foreigners and create very unique mixture of different culture and life experience.
Another time being in Shanghai was gathering with Russian-speaking community: we met each other to play table games, quizzes and also have dinners, where we got to know the latest news about Shanghai life.
Moreover, we traveled around a lot to see and learn more about this beautiful country. Currently, besides the challenging situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, this allowed me to get more time to explore China because other countries were closed. I believe that a lot of us had this thinking. The year 2021 opened many beautiful places to me such as Yunnan province with its wild nature, Chengdu city with its most famous inhabitants – the pandas, the green hills of the world heritage in Guilin, etc.
MY NEW LIFE
Another challenge for me was that even though I thought I was ready, I was not fully prepared to this new life. Student life was different to work life. It meant to go to new country, where you needed to set up your life from 0 by finding meaning in the life beyond work. Here in China, you need to be ready to jump into this “river”, where stream will push you really fast.
EXCITING EXPATRIATION PROGRAM
I believe that an expat program can be compared to a computer game with the option to start from a saved point – you get the chance to do your job and share the knowledge within a new culture and environment. In case you do not feel in your own "plate", you can go back to your home unit. That is why, in my opinion, the expatriation program is a good chance to learn for yourself and share it with other people.
BIG CITY LIFE
I will definitely miss the so-called “big city life” – those bright lights everywhere, futuristic skyscrapers and constant flows of electric bikes and cars! Moreover, China is one of the most convenient countries in the world as long as you have your handy with you. There is no need for cash, credit card – all can be done via the phone.
With my experiences as expat I would recommend everyone to take such a chance and be open-minded! Even if you don’t like this experience afterwards – “You will never know if you never try”. At the end of the day, this are still experiences and learnings, which you might not get back home and which might be helpful in the future. Another advice I would give to others, is to adapt and accept the local "ruels" when going on an exchange. You do not need to be 100% similar to the locals, but you should rather respect the culture and local habits and take the best out of it!
The following stories of our insights might also be interesting for you. Learn more about the personal experiences of our international employees...