Auteur : Sam

Learn how the one-child policy may affect your life as a foreigner living in China. From names children may call you, to pregnant women at work

When most Westerners hear about Chinas famous (or infamous) One-Child policy, they are taken aback, disgusted, and wonder how a country could impose such a harsh control over its population. Before I came to China, I thought this way. Now, I support the policy, and many of my friends do as well. China currently has a 1.3 billion population, and if not for the one-child policy (introduced in 1978) the numbers would undoubtably be higher. Also, the current situation of the law isnt as strict as most uninformed people would believe. Urban residents are (more or less) strictly subjected to the one couple to have one child The exception here is if the mother and the father are both only children. In this case, they may have 2 children Rural residents may have a second child if the first born is a girl Members of ethnic minority groups (like Tibetans, Uyghurs) are either permitted to have more than 1 child, or are completely exempted from the rule. Today, the China government released a statement confirming the continuation of the One-Child policy, despite different types of criticism from various groups. They predict the population reaching 1.39 billion by 2015 and then stabilizing there. There are many articles talking about the impact the policy has on culture, healthcare, economics, etc., but Id like to touch on some issues foreigners may come...

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Why you need to have health insurance before you move to China. Also, a discussion on Western hospitals in Shanghai, Beijing & direct billing

A serious post here, about health insurance in China. Without mincing word too much, you need to have health insurance when you arrive in China, and if you dont have it when your plane lands, you should get it soon after. Ive found that medical problems can be unexpected in China, and healthcare costs at Western hospitals is very expensive. First, do some research on the hospitals in your city. One great Western hospital that has branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Tianjin is United Family Hospital. In Shanghai, there are also ParkwayHealth Clinics. Browse around the hospital websites, and locate their health insurance section. Once there, go to the individual insurance companies websites, and decide which insurance provider is best for you. If youre already in China, you can contact a insurance brokerage firm like Pacific Prime, which may have some good deals for you. One thing to take notice of is direct billing. If your financial situation isnt super secure, Id highly recommend getting insurance that direct bills with your hospital of choice. If you’re not familiar with direct billing, this means that the hospital charges your insurance company, without you having to pay for any costs up front (apart from copay or not covered items). If you have insurance which doesn’t direct bill, you have to pay the balance to the hospital first, and then mail...

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Get used to using a new currency by reading the Shanghai Guru’s budgeting rules. Get a free comprehensive budget sheet to help track your own expenses!

When dealing with a new currency, it can often be hard to get a handle on the relative price of things. This is true of Chinese RMB, where currently 1 USD is equal to 6.3 RMB. RMB can at first feel like fake Monopoly money. The bills are different colors (red, green, blue, yellow, purple, etc) and different sizes as well. Also, when you go to the ATM, the only bills dispensed are 100 RMB notes. It can make you feel rich, while at the same time giving you an unrealistic idea of what things are worth. Prices in China can vary tremendously. A meal of noodles or a individual rice dish can cost 8-15 RMB in Shanghai. A decent sandwich at a coffee shop can cost 45 RMB. Finally, a coffee from Starbucks will run you about 25 RMB. Once you start looking at the prices of alcoholic beverages, the difference becomes even more pronounced. A cold beer from the store is 3-5 RMB, a beer in a bar is 30-45 RMB, and good mixed drinks in bars can be anywhere from 50 to 80 RMB. To sum it up, you could eat over a weeks worth of noodle lunches for the same cost as one well mixed mojito. Everyones financial situation differs in China. Some people may be living off savings for their first few months, some...

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Do people tip in China? Find out where to tip, and the customer service situation in China.

In the United States, it seems like we are always tipping people. Eat out at a restaurant, leave a 15%-20% tip Get a drink at a bar, add $1 Take a taxi, give him a 15% tip Thats not even taking into account baggage carriers, baristas, newspaper boys, and delivery drivers. Its so complicated that theres even websites that can guide you through this morass. Oh, and not to mention special tip calculators on mobile phones, and cheat sheets you can get for your wallet. After living in China for two years, I find it extremely confusing when I come back home to Ohio and it seems everyone is wanting a tip. In China this is not the case. Tipping in China is actually not a thing. In China, there are no tips. You read right, no tips. This doesnt mean that in some cases a tip is expected, or that for exceptional services tips are usually given. In all cases, there is standard no tipping ever. Now, this is not to say that Ive never tipped anyone. Its just that tipping is never expected. So, when you do tip someone, youll be surprised at their reaction. Sometimes they are grateful, confused, and occasionally even taken aback. As youll soon notice after living in China for a few weeks, the service is notoriously poor. Servers at restaurants need to...

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You’ll want to know about Chinese custom before you go to any Chinese persons’ house.

In China, you soon notice that nobody wears their shoes inside their homes. The streets and sidewalks in China are really dirty. By wearing your shoes inside your house, you’re not only tracking in dirt and dust, but most likely remnants of garbage, food, spit, and other non-desirable human byproducts. So needless to say, people dont usually want to track all that into their homes. So, whenever people enter their houses, they kick off their shoes, and put on house slippers. In summer, these are slip on sandals, and in winter, they tend to be warmer, fuzzy slippers. Its a strange custom when you first get to China, but after a week, you find yourself taking off your shoes every time you get home, or go to a friends house. Another reason for wearing slippers is the the floors build up this phantom dust. Chinese air is dusty at times, and if your windows are open for long periods of time, this dust builds up on the floor. It only becomes noticeable when, after spending hours in the house in bare feet, you either feel the buildup of stuff on your feet, then look disappointingly at the soles of your feet, which are now black or brown. Finally, when you go over to someone’s house or apartment, always take your shoes off as soon as you enter the door....

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The best options for food delivery in Shanghai and Beijing. From Western to Asian options, to beer and fast food, these companies are your best option for food delivery.

Food delivery in China is freakin awesome. At first, delivery seems like an added convenience, but after a while, youll find yourself grudgingly leaving your apartment to go out to eat. From rainy evenings, to nights in with friends, to house parties, the variety of delivery services in Shanghai (and Beijing) are an incredible perk, one that youll wonder how you ever did without. There are several delivery companies that service a bunch of restaurants: Sherpas The major player in Shanghai delivery, Sherpas delivers from restaurants all over Shanghai and Beijing, Western food and Chinese food. Youll find that the items that Sherpas carries to be more expensive than the other options, but Sherpas is the most reliable, with the best selection of restaurants, and the best website, so you pay for what you get. Mealbay This delivery service is strictly in Shanghai, and comes in second place behind Sherpas. Mealbay has a lot of good restaurants too, and the prices are usually a bit less. KK Rabbit Ive never personally used this one, but Ive seen their delivery guys running all around the city. Their website is not as good as the above two, but give them a try for more variety of restaurants. JinShiSong This delivery company only operates out of Beijing, and charges based on how far you are away from the restaurant. Their website lists...

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These questions are essential for finding a great roommate or flatmate in China. From language to behavior, make sure to touch on these.

When considering a specific shared apartment in Shanghai, Beijing, or another Chinese city, the most important thing to focus on is your fellow roommates. Youll be living with these people for a while, and youve got to make sure that you can at least tolerate each other, and have somewhat similar ways of thinking. Deciding to live in a shared apartment isnt without risk, but it also can be extremely rewarding. I lived over 2 years in shared apartments, with a total of 7 different people. Luckily, I had two, 1 year periods living with the same people and got to know them extremely well and become very good friends. Below are some things to consider, and you should definitely touch on these when visiting an apartment. These questions work for those visiting places, and also for those finding a tenant to rent a room in their current apartment. Language skills. Language is the primary way we communicate, so if you cant understand what your potential roommates are saying, it might not be a good fit. My roommate and I were interviewing potential tenants, and we had a pretty nice French guy come and visit, but after chatting a bit, it was clear that he wasnt understanding our jokes, and not really even following our conversations. Im sure he was a great guy, but probably wouldnt have been a...

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4 reasons why you should buy a Kindle before you move to China, Shanghai or Beijing. Books are great, so make this purchase before you move.

If you enjoy reading, the Kindle is a must have when you move to China. Ive had my Kindle for over a year and a half, and its an amazing tool and resource, especially if you are living abroad. Maybe youre thinking, But I really like to read books, and hold them in my hand, and go to bookstores, etc. I can see where youre coming from, but below are some reasons why that way of thinking doesnt transfer to China. 1. Limited selection China has massive bookstores filled with books, but guess what, theyre almost all in Chinese, and are useless to most English speakers. Foreign book sections tend to be small, and filled with only the most popular fiction and business books. 2. Cost If you find a book to buy, it will probably be twice as much as its suggested US retail price. I bought a paperback book from a foreign bookstore for over $30. The same book retailed for $14 from Amazon. Note: There are book carts in China which sell pirated books for very affordable prices. But again, youll only find popular series and self-improvement books here. 3. Portability If youre like most expats, you dont really know how long youre going to be in China, and the airlines only allow for 1 or 2 carry on bags these days. The nice thing about...

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Make sure to pack these 3 things when you move to China. Beijing and Shanghai have a lot of amenities, but not everything.

When you pack for China, there are a couple things that you should make sure to bring. While you can get most everything in large Chinese cities, the following 3 items may not exist, or be the brand youre used to. Deodorant / Antiperspirant Most westerners I know use deodorant or antiperspirant every day, and hardly any Chinese do. Maybe its a genetic sweating issue, or maybe a cultural one, but youll be hard pressed to find your favorite brand in the Middle Kingdom. And, trust me, in the 95+ degree heat of the summer, youre gonna need it. 2. Stomach pills These are the pills you take when you have diarrhea, stomach cramps, or the like. In the US, Pepto Bismol and Imodium fall into this category. Being in any new country can play havoc on your stomach, and China is no different. You may find yourself being able to tell how clean a restaurant is solely based upon after affects. So, bring several bottles of varying strengths, and youll be able to conquer any problem faced. 3. Floss So, maybe you dont floss right now, but use your move as an opportunity to start. Flossing prevents gum disease and removes stuff stuck in between your teeth. Also, flossing is important for preventing bad breath, and whats more of a turn off when meeting new people in an...

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