Beijing is an incredible city to relocate to – it has a rich and detailed history going back 3000 years, it has a selection of parks and buildings which were literally built exclusively for an emperor, and it’s home to fascinating historical relics such as The Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. If you’re considering moving to Beijing, however there are a few things that you will want to know in advance if you want your relocation to go as smoothly as possible. Here are 5 things you should know before moving to Beijing.
Where you plan on living
Suffice it to say Beijing is a fairly large city. If you’re planning on relocating to Beijing, the first thing you’re going to want to know is where you’re planning on living. The city is divided into a set of concentric rings, with property prices increasing as you move further out from the heart of the city. Each ring has its own charms and appeals, with expat housing in Beijing being more common in some areas than others. By and large, however, you’re going to want to live somewhere where you’re close to work and close to an international school, if you’re relocating with kids.
You probably won’t be enrolling your kids in a local school
Unless your kids are fluent in Mandarin Chinese, you won’t be enrolling your kids in the local schooling system. As with all of mainland China, the local school system in Beijing doesn’t really cater to students who don’t speak the local language. Fortunately there are a fair few international schools in Beijing you can enrol your children into, but the waiting lists to get in can be quite extensive. With this in mind, there’s no point which is too early get your kids on the waiting list, which is usually around 6 months at a minimum.
The cost of living varies massively
As with many cities around the world, there are ways of living cheap and there are ways of spending your entire pay check in a single day. In Beijing you can live like a local, eating at local restaurants for as little as $2 a night, or you can hit some of the most impressive restaurants in Beijing and spend significantly more money. The choice, at the end of the day, is up to you.
Western customs aren’t polite in Beijing
Anyone who has travelled abroad for work will know that manners and political correctness mean different things in different countries. Given that there is a difference in this area between America and the UK, two very similar countries in many ways, it’s little surprise that there is a huge difference in what is considered normal in London and Beijing. If you need to brush up on your Chinese etiquette, or if you have any questions about workplace culture in the Chinese capital, feel free to contact a member of our Beijing team.
Your favourite cosmetics and deodorants aren’t as easy to get
On a final note, when relocating to Beijing you’re going to want to bring a decent supply of your favourite toiletries, deodorants and cosmetics. The local stores probably won’t carry the brands you know and love, and as with many countries in Asia, you’ll find antiperspirant a lot, lot quicker than you’ll find deodorant. Likewise, the makeup and cosmetics you’ll find are usually geared towards an Asian audience. If your complexion doesn’t match that of the locals and you plan on wearing makeup, you may want to bring a supply with you when you relocate.