No matter how prepared you think you are, moving to a foreign country is always going to be difficult. China is no exception, and there are many little things that can easily be overlooked. Here is a short list of things you should expect when you come to China.
WeChat is everything
WeChat is used by everybody in China, a combination of Whatsapp and Facebook all in one. Chinese people don’t even use their phones texting feature, they just send all their messages to each other over WeChat. WeChat even has voice messaging, voice and video calling, and the ability to send documents and files to your computer. WeChat is also used to pay for things, most Chinese people barely carry any cash, instead using WeChat pay all the time. Even the smallest, out of the way restaurants and shops will accept WeChat pay.
Many common items might be hard to find
You won’t always be able to buy common items from back home in China. For example, sunscreen. Most Chinese people don’t use sunscreen, so many stores don’t sell it. When you can find it, it’s usually a small, expensive bottle. Imported food and coffee is also much more expensive than you might expect. You should expect to pay two or even three times as much for things like cheese, coffee, peanut butter, etc. Other common items you might be missing are: tampons, fitted sheets, index cards, ibuprofen, and deodorant.
It’s very difficult to just “pick up” Chinese
Many people come to China and think they can just pick up the language while living in China without much effort. While maybe you’ll be able to pick up some survival Chinese, you won’t be able to actually speak the language if you don’t take any classes or put a real effort into learning. Grammar and pronunciation are particularly important in Chinese, and it’s almost impossible to learn just by yourself.