Living and Working in China By Tasha DeWitt
June 19, 2018
After traveling to several different countries, and now having spent a month living and working in China, I fully support the fact that Mandarin Chinese is the language to learn if you want to differentiate yourself in a pile of job applications. Here’s why:
1 billion people speak it.
14% of the global population speaks Chinese. English speakers are scientifically the minority!
Business is booming.
Chinese is also spoken in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Philippines and Mongolia, so if you’re doing business in any of these places it’s extremely beneficial to know the native language. Avoid getting lost in translation and fumbling with translation apps by learning the language yourself. Top CEOs are learning Chinese as a second language because it makes your resume stand out and increases your salary! Western businesses are looking for more native English speakers who can also speak Chinese.
It’s easier than you think.
I’ve taken French and Spanish, but Chinese is the easiest language I’ve learned! The language originates from pictures, there’s no masculine/feminine verbs, and no tenses, so it’s a more logical language. China also has a world of its own history and culture dating back thousands of years ago.
Make a Chinese friend, have a friend for life.
Chinese life is a collective one, so once you’re a part of someone’s ‘in-group,’ you’re in for the long haul. ‘Guanxi’ (the term for relationship building through authentic mutual favors) will give you new opportunities that you most likely couldn’t get on your own; i.e. that lucrative job position or tickets to that concert you were dying to see that sold out months ago. Of course, this is not the main objective, it’s a nice bonus; but also realize you must give to receive! Guanxi goes both ways. While foreigners can build guanxi with locals through some ‘Chinglish,’ as I have done so with my Airbnb host, it’s best to be able to speak the language confidently to meet new friends abroad and network successfully in professional international circles.
So how do you start?
Sign up for Chinese language courses with one of the top language schools in Xi’an, Faithful International Training Center. One of their experienced teachers will go over your language goals and help you plan action steps to achieve them on your schedule. Faithful also offers Chinese Culture courses to help you adjust to life and work in China, even if your stay is temporary.