I know that there are tons of travel blogs out there that give different tips and tricks of going to different countries, so you might think what is so different about this one… I’ll let you be the judge of that! No matter where you plan on traveling to or moving to, you obviously need to be prepared! But how do you prepare for something that is so different? You can do all the research you want on the country you’re going to, but there is nothing like getting advice from someone who has done it or is currently doing it.
So, from moving to China, here are a few tips and tricks that I’ve learnt along the way that I want to share! Some may be obvious, but it may also be something so obvious you tend to forget!
1. Open Mind
No matter where you are going, you always need to come with an open mind. Coming to China I definitely needed an open mind! It was not anything I thought it would be, but this I don’t know if it was good or bad! Due to the culture being so different from home, I knew that this would be the biggest shock of anything! From walking down the streets in Beijing with men having their stomachs out on show (this is nothing compared to other situations) to walking around and they’re spitting on floors, to being in some of the most history filled cities in China.
Obviously each persons “open mind” is different especially when it depends on where you come from or how you see new things, but when I spoke to people from different countries, different ages to me, different up bringing you could see each person was going through a bit of shock! Yes, they all came with an open mind of what to expect, but sometimes it is better than you expected or worse than you expected leaving you both as shocked!
Once you realize the more your mind is open the better, the longer you can keep the open mind, then you’ll be fine! One thing for sure, make sure that you don’t let the little things get to you. I’m not saying that when your food doesn’t arrive don’t react, but just remember that it’s not the be all and end all of the day. Take each day day-by-day, you will survive!
2. Healthy Bank account!
No matter where you are coming from or where you plan on going, it may have a few stops on the way, you always need money! When I say you need a healthy bank account I mean that you need to have the money that you know you will need, but you also need to have some money, doesn’t have to be a crazy amount, but enough in case something happens and you need to get out or make alternative options.
If you think that nothing is going to happen that you will need extra cash for, then I hope so for you, but I would suggest that you plan for the unexpected! You never know what will happen, so rather be prepared!
When I moved to China, I made sure that I came with what I knew I had to, but luckily, I came with a bit extra! Simple things, you remember that you need money for rent and possibly maintenance fee, but do you remember the small things, you need money to start your house out from scratch if it’s not given! When we got to China, we were lucky enough to have furniture in our apartment (we had fingers crossed that it wasn’t just for staging for show) but there was nothing like pillows, sheets, blankets… nothing! So of course, that’s where it came into our little extra bit of money! Don’t get me started on the kitchen! A lovely little kitchen, but you never realize how much it costs to stock your kitchen, not even to the standard you would have at home, but enough to live for a few days with some everyday food! That definitely ate into that little extra funds!
Like I said, the things that you need the extra money for doesn’t mean they have to be the biggest or outrageous situations, but it’s making sure you’re prepared for even the smallest things!
3. Don’t be afraid!
I know that it’s easy to say it, anyone and everyone can say it, but can you do it? It’s easier said than done! Yes, it’s hard going from what you know and what makes you feel safe and comfortable, but the more that you put yourself into situations that push your comfort zone the more you will grow as a person! Sometimes you are in the situation and you start overthinking it – I know I do at least – but if you’re able to take the situation on, just think what you can get out of it!
No matter where you live, whether it is where you are from or where you are going, there will always be something that seems scary or daunting… but bite the bullet and do it! You may say that “I moved across the world and that’s a big enough change for me, I’m not afraid” I give you props, maybe you are that type of person, but maybe you’re like me, where I was never a fan of change. Although I was and am still not the biggest fan of change in life, I like being comfortable, I made the decision to pack up my life and move across the world to the unknown. Yes, you can do research and all, but nothing is ever the same from what you read to what you actually experience when you get there. Of course, I was afraid, but believe me, that fear helped me to deal with what I had just done, it helped me to realize that I need to take each moment as it comes and go with it.
So yes, it is definitely easier said than done, but you have to try though! At first it will be scary and you will question what you are doing and for what reason, but as time goes on you will see that you are no longer afraid but rather that you are on a new adventure. So, the adventure truly begins when you are pushed out of the comfort zone of yours… sometimes we need that someone else to give us that little nudge out – this brings me to my next point.
4. Good support system
No matter what you do, it always tends to be easier when you have someone or multiple people to talk to, help you with certain things or just listen to you vent. A good support system helps you with everything in mind! If you are having “the worst day ever” people are there to listen to you and help you figure out why or at least let you vent on about what has happened!
No matter if it is people from where you come from, the people you meet in your new adventure, or the people you are experiencing your adventure with, they can and all will be your support system. Sometimes you will see that you don’t need tons of people as your support system, but there will be a few people that are definitely needed! For me, coming to China was a big decision! I definitely would not have been able to do this on my own… luckily, I had my boyfriend on the adventure with me, but other than him, we had our wonderful families back home for each of us, cheering us on and believing in what we decided to do. If it wasn’t for them, I think the move would have a been a lot harder emotionally! Don’t get me wrong, it was hard moving across the world with just the two of us, but we said to each other, take it day by day and then see from there! Our families told us as well that we must just remember that if its unbearable, home is just a flight away.
As much as we had each other as well as our families back home, we were able to make friends here in China! It’s been a year and a half and those friends we made when we got here are still our friends today! As much as they didn’t move from their country, as they are from China, they understand what we talk about because a lot of them have left their home towns to move to Nanjing to either study or study and work. So, they do understand what it is like being away from their families and home, so they also have to find their support system! So, it is a strange little cycle that we’re in, but hey, it’s a strange little cycle that works for us. As much as they don’t always understand the culture shock and what we mean from that side, but all we do is explain what it’s like at home and then they see what we mean and why we are, yes still, sometimes shocked!
I have to say, no matter what, having that support here in China as well as our families back home, it makes it a lot better! It makes everything seem easier than normal.
So, no matter where you are planning on going, whether it’s traveling or deciding to move across the world, I hope that these are few things that you keep in mind. These are a few of the things that have helped me keep my sanity while I’ve been living in China. I understand that each person is different, so maybe these are things for you but I understand if they’re not. All that I hope is that you enjoy the adventure that you have ahead of yourselves.