As with any change in location, there are costs and benefits associated with moving to China. The main benefits could include:
1. Cost of living: although prices have increased it is still possible to have a good standard of living for much less money than any western country. Staff who want to are able to save a substantial proportion of their salary. The RMB is gradually appreciating representing a rise in the value of salaries over time.
2. Food: For Chinese people food is a much more important part of life than many western (or at least Northern European) cultures. In and around the College are numerous restaurants offering many different types of cheap cuisine and throughout the city you can find restaurants of all types. Japanese and Korean food is particularly popular, as well as all the various types of Chinese food. In the markets food is very fresh (sometimes still alive!) and much more varied than in western supermarkets.
3. Travel: China is a very large country with lakes, coastlines, deserts and mountains, as well as big cities. Transport and accommodation in China are relatively cheap and easily accessible. Shenzhen is very close to South East Asian destinations such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines and well-connected with them. Travel to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and other Asian destinations is also easy.
4. Culture: China has an ancient and fascinating culture, which still permeates the daily lives of ordinary people. China has its own distinctive art forms in music, drama, calligraphy and painting.
5. Students: Chinese students are polite, respectful and hard-working and can renew the enthusiasm for teaching in even the most jaded teacher.
The main costs could include:
1. Noise: A festive Chinese gathering is described as hot and noisy. Life carries on in the streets late into the night. Noise is unavoidable in China and it is necessary to get used to it.
2. Crowds: China is full of people so you are unlikely to find yourself alone very much of the time. Transport can be crowded and pushing and shoving is not uncommon. Travelling on public holidays can be an agonising affair. A greater dose of patience is required than one may be used to.
3. Health Care: Is of a relatively basic standard. Our Health Insurance covers treatment in Hong Kong which is of equivalent to European/American standards.
4. Language: Although a lot of people now speak some English, it can still be very difficult to work out what is going on, especially in rural areas which fewer foreigners visit. Learning to speak Chinese is difficult due to the tonal nature of the language, and learning to read is a monumental task.