What's your story? Discussions your reasons for going abroad.
This is my thread in which I'll post updates to my plan to move abroad.
At the moment this is all hypothetical and won't happen for a little while, not least because I'm on 3 months notice before I can quit my job, and 8 months before I can quit my rented house. There's also a lot of preparation to do, not least getting rid of most of my possessions. But these aren't real barriers, just excuses!
Anyway, my plan is to quit the UK and live in China for 1-2 years.
I've picked my destination because China has more beautiful women than anywhere else on the planet. I've dated a few Chinese women, but the whole "mail order brides" thing is just too difficult. I need to spend a lot more time meeting Chinese women, it's very tough to find a bride on a two week vacation to Asia.
I intend to live in Guangzhou. It's stupendously hot in Summer, but at the same time it doesn't get stupendously cold in Winter like most of the rest of China does. I'd rather be too hot than too cold.
I've visited there twice already, so it feels like a home from home. It's Westerner friendly and anyone with a white collar career will benefit enormously from time spent in the world's factory and import/export base.
I think my way of getting a Visa and residency is going to be through the student X visa route. To get this I'm gonna have to enrol on some sort of course. I haven't fully thought this through, but I think I will enrol on a 1 year Mandarin course, then maybe do a business related Masters in the second year (if I stick around). I'll also see if I can fit in an intensive CELTA English teaching course.
What will I do for money?
I've run my own online business for 10 years now. That should be enough to live on. But if anyone wants to follow me then teaching English is a good option, or you could find a Western company who wants a man on the ground in China. Failing that it's not exactly hard to start a business in a place like Guangzhou - the place is full of people exporting stuff to the USA and Western Europe.
You also might actually need less money than you think. If you want to study in China, Guangzhou University claim they can rent you a room for not much more than $150 a month, they'll also feed their students for $100 a month or something crazily cheap. Course fees are also very cheap - you can get a 2 year MBA for around $13,000 whereas in the UK you'll pay $24,000 for a 1 year course. Undergraduate fees are much cheaper.
Anyway, I'll post some updates if make any progress with my plans...
Good luck xiongmao, sounds like you really did your homework. Keep us informed of your whereabouts in the future.
"When I think about the idea of getting involved with an American woman, I don't know if I should laugh .............. or vomit!"
"Trying to meet women in America is like trying to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics."
That sounds like a good plan, Mr. Mao! Sichuan province also has a lot of beautiful women.
The only thing I would add is that you could start learning at learn some Mandarin now just to get your ears and brain more used to the language. There's tons of Mandarin courses and media available on the internet. Find some videos in Mandarin which are interesting to you and motivate you (interviews with beautiful women, kung fu movies, cartoons, news reports, etc.).
Imagine the moment of excitement when everything is arranged and you're heading to the airport with your suitcases! Such major turning points in life are special moments...
Here's a song for you!
I already did a Mandarin course - not that it would help much in Cantonese Guangzhou. Besides, everyone speaks Mandarin with different accents so it's all a shambles really. For this reason all TV in China is subtitled.
Being able to read Chinese characters is actually a more valuable skill as you can work your way round the metro and bus networks and have some sort of clue what you're ordering in the cheaper restaurants.
I've still not made any concrete plans for moving to China. My online businesses have been poor this year - this is like 2008 all over again.
I'm gradually selling all my possessions though and this morning I've been taking a look at apartment rentals. I'd say you could get a fairly decent apartment in Guangzhou for $300 a month but you can cut this down if you share with some expats, live in a crappy neighborhood, or you knock down the apartment owner on price. You can haggle if the apartment is tatty. Invest in a pot of paint and you might get an apartment for $100 a month.
Guangzhou is incidentally one of the more expensive places in China.
Of course if you go down the English teaching route then they usually give you a free apartment. I don't really want to do English teaching, because most Chinese girls think that English teachers are a bit suspect, and that a business man is a better prospect.
After 1-2 years? I'm not sure I'll be happier abroad. What if I don't like it? I guess I can come back home again. Maybe I'll bring a lady back with me ha ha ha.
I need to make some serious planning in the next month or two, or this plan ain't ever gonna happen. I've been a bit sidetracked recently as I built a free dating site (here) and it's needed a superhuman effort to get it off the ground, then even more of an effort to stop the scammers from destroying it. I think I've now got something that will keep me busy for a while and advising other dating sites on anti-fraud measures is going to be something that I can earn a living from while I'm in Asia.
And this is the problem all of us face. If you can think of a way of earning $1000+ a month in Asia, then you'll have all the hot women you could ever need, and a most excellent life. While I was in Hubei Province (central China) I saw perfect 10's everywhere. YOU can date them, because there are NO Western men there at all. I saw one Western woman at the 3 Gorges Dam visitor center. That was all.
Hmmm, my house lease expires in 1 December. I need to decide whether to quit the UK and go live somewhere else for a while.
I'm now a little unsure where I want to go. China was my preferred choice, but I think Japan is within my budget. Japan is great. Maybe I'll go there for a while.
I'm gonna talk to my only contact in Japan, and see if he wants me to work as his intern.
Plan B is to go to China and study Chinese. The only trouble is that if you do this at a University then you really need to start the catch of a semester, which in China is September or February.
I've also found out there's a TEFL course running in Zhuhai. I've already been to Zhuhai, so I can find my way there from Guangzhou. Maybe that's another option. A teaching qualification is always useful to have.
Oh well, if anyone has any ideas as to what I can do with my life then let me know!
If your lease is up in Dec, then go to the Phils or Los for a couple of months then head to China by late Jan to register for the Feb semester while also catching the Chinese new year? I'm also planning the same thing as you as I want to enroll in a university in China to really learn Mandarin. Was initially thinking of Kunmin but after more research, GZ would be also a great choice mainly for business opportunities and networking. I've also been hearing and reading lots of positive things about Zhuhai. Would love to hear your thoughts on Zhuhai and on GZ Xiongmao.
All the best my friend!
I spent two weeks in China, living in Zhuhai and Guangzhou. My former Milan employer had asked me to write a software interface for a CCTV recording system developed by a Zhuhai company and I was between jobs anyway, so I jumped at the chance. I haven't seen so much more of China than a two day trips to Shenzhen and Macao, but from what I have seen Zhuhai looks like a very decent place to live.
I was told it's one of the few cities in China where most of the recent urban planning and development was carried out with qualify of life in mind. This was partly due to an (over)ambitious Mayor who set out to transform Zhuhai into the preferred residential location of expats and well-off executives working in Macao (better overall but with much higher estate prices) and Guangzhou (more authentic and vibrant but also more polluted and chaotic). Legend has it that his plea was somehow facilitated by floods of expensive wine and beautiful girls offered to the local communist party top ranks
Whatever this mayor guy had in mind, it worked out pretty smoothly. The city is large yet not crowded, the residential areas are quite and pleasant. There are at least two large parks, a quite decent botanic garden and manicured green areas everywhere, even alongside highways. Commercial areas are a bit boring and somewhat lack the authenticity of Guangzhou old town. Luckily, this also means no funny smells on the streets, most venues have air conditioning and serve food in rather hygienic settings. From what I could see, nightlife doesn't amount to much more than a couple of "beer streets" dotted by restaurants, bars and clubs. I have only been to 3 or 4 of the bars, 2 restaurants (a decent Japanese and very nasty Frenchie) and no club. I had a "special friend" (Filipina, nonetheless) there and didn't have much interest in pursuing further nightly fun, yet from the impression I gathered going out with her, I didn't see much going on. My nights in Guangzhou were much more interesting and varied, in terms of the mix of sophisticated, English-speaking Chinese and expats old and young.
Zhuhai is a famous spot for middle and upper class prostitution. It is said that the same notorious mayor worked hard to shrug this image off his city, until they started to accuse him of being a big fat hypocrite, as he was routinely tapping the same pool of high-end escorts to woo whoever he needed favours from. Sounds a bit like somebody back in Italy I also heard of a big scandal happening a couple of years before (so 2007), where a Japanese travel operator had organised massive tours involving thousands of Japanese white collar men having mass parties (read, orgies) with prostitutes in Zhuhai hotels to celebrate some anniversary of China's fall under Japanese rule.
Curiously enough, I was convinced by an English expat to have a look at the property market, and set me up for a day of estate viewing with a couple of English-speaking agents of his know. I saw a bunch of apartments ranging from mid to high end. At least in 2009, Â£150,000 ($230,000) would buy you an amazing 200 square meter flat in a central residential condo with private security, gym, swimming pool and tennis courts. The sales pitch was, not unusually for the early times of credit crunch, that estate prices in that area were still rising and most properties still fetching more buyers than required. In fact when I met the English expat for a pizza 6 months later, he sighed as he confessed me all of his Zhuhai properties had lost an average 15/20% in value, with no uptick on the horizon.
I would say Zhuhai is an excellent destination for somebody with a good job in Guangzhou or Macao. The former can be reached via high speed train link in less than an hour. The latter is, well, a street crossing (and custom check) away. Living and working in Zhuhai is surely possible, although the city doesn't offer as much social colour as Macao and gets boring quickly. Office work in Macao/GZ, weekday life in Zhuhai and weekend fun back in Macao/GZ is probably a much better proposition. I have known this one company I worked for and another couple of hi-tech companies via the people I met there. I have no clue how far English teaching would take you there, as those jobs don't tend to pay much and Zhuhai is surely more pricey than the average Chinese big city. The only teacher I met was this American guy (black guy, for those who are interested) who didn't sound happy to live there, and that because he was trying to make it big as a DJ and complained that Chinese young people couldn't appreciate his flavour of hip-hop Fair enough. He didn't sound too unhappy about his status as a teacher, though.
OK, that's all that springs to mind. Feel free to ask if you have any more specific questions.
Thanks guys - it would be great to hook up if you're ever in the area.
I went to Zhuhai on the high speed train. Trouble is when I got to Zhuhai terminal station there wasn't actually anything there! Lol, they built the station in a field! Still, my mission of buying a train ticket in China by myself was very successful.
I have heard that Zhuhai is a nice place though. There is also a TEFL teaching place there (that's for taking the TEFL, not getting a teaching job).
JacarÃ© - we should collaborate on finding a good Chinese Uni to study at. I've heard good things about GDUFS (Guangdong Foreigner University). I've dated a lot of alumni!!!! In fact you'll find that just about every Chinese Love Links English speaking lady from Guangdong/Guangxi/Hunan went there lol. I dated two CLL ladies, they both knew each other through GDUFS. Big lol for that!!!! The English teaching there is OUTSTANDING. I've also looked round the campus, it's quite nice.
Another one on my shortlist is Sichuan University in Chengdu. They have a good reputation, and they'll also let you teach English for 3-4 hours a week (paid).
Guangzhou is an awesome city though. I went in some of the import/export showrooms - you could subsidise your time there by posting a container full of crap back to the USA/Europe/whereever you come from!
Xiongmao, I am planning to go to Beijing in November so if you are in the area I would love to hang out. Any advice or info would be very helpful.
The only thing worse than a man without options is a woman with them...
I've only been to Beijing airport (I caught a connecting flight on the way to Wuhan).
I did notice that the female security guards were all ex-models, maybe they were hired for the Olympics!
I've dated 1 lady from Beijing, my goodness she was smart. And also attractive! She's still on my QQ contacts list, and she's single if any of you guys are up for a challenge.
I'd never consider living there though, the weather is too hot or too cold. Shanghai in January was bad enough.
LOL my Filipina friend convinced me to take a coach from Zhuhai and Guangzhou and back. A 3 hour-ride compared to the 45/55-minutes for the high speed link, but now you tell me the station is in the middle of nowehere I understand why she was insisting. Coach ride was comfy though, air conditioning was turned on and so were we, tucked away in the last row
I agree, Guangzhou has all the colours and flavours of a metropolitan city, some places are so bustling with animated neon lights and young people you could easily think you're in Shibuya or Dotonbori (Osaka). The bars alongside Pearl River are first class. Eden took me to a pub inside an old ship anchored and to a massive two-building entertainment complex, called it a bar is way too diminutive, called Babyface. As a brand of riverside nightlife, I couldn't have gotten better in Kobe or Singapore.
Then in the morning everyone goes back to work and the streets get reclaimed by cars, trucks and buses...and a lot of associated fumes. The city definitely loses its charm. And that's where Zhuhai gets better marks.
Thank you very much for your very informative post on Zuhai, very much appreciated. How was the cost of living there? I have a book called "guide to living in China" and they are saying that Zuhai has the cheapest cost for appartments in the south of China. They claim that you can get a furnished 3 bedroom condo with a 180 degree view of the beach from your living room and a similar view of downtown from your dinning room. I know a bit far fetched but you never know...they also claim that 2-3 bedroom condos start at 2-300$/month. Is that true or BS? Do you or anyone in here can comment on that? That would be very much appreciated.
Good idea, we should join forces in finding a good university to learn Mandarin in the south of China. My initial research led me towards Kunming but since I plan on staying in GZ for business, it makes sense to look for an option in or near GZ. I'll check it out when I get there next month. I remember you saying you'd be back in China in September. Let me know if you'll be in GZ in early-mid september and would be awesome to meet for drinks. Anyone else in here that may be in China? Yo Winston, since you're in Taiwan, come and join us in GZ or HKG. Would be fun to meet, have drinks and go hunting together. Drinks on me Winston as a small token of appreciation for having created this great forum!:) So what do you say Winston?
No problem Jacare, happy to share whatever facts and impression I experienced first hand. Unfortunately my stint with the Zhuhai property market was oriented towards buying, rather than renting, a property. Zhuhai may well come up as the cheaper of the big Southern cities, considering you have ultra-developed locations like Macao and Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong itself. What I heard from the estate agent is that the premium on Zhuhai is mainly due to a quality of life factor. But then, I visited it at the onset of the credit crunch, so I don't know what the crisis has done to depress estate prices and, consequently, rental prices.
Xiongmao and Jacare, if you want I could put you in touch with the English expat who owns property in ZH and gave me some essential advice. Please PM if interested.
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