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New Country, New Me: Foreigners Discuss How They’ve Changed in  China

Making China one’s permanent residence is by no means an easy task for foreigners who have wanted to do so. In the United States of America one million green cards are issued per year; in China the annual average is 248. Over time, China has come to be known as one of the hardest countries in the world to get a green card.

However, in recent years, the difficulty of obtaining “one of the hardest green cards to get in the world” has decreased. The Ministry of Public Security granted permanent residence to 1576 foreigners in 2016, 163 percent more than the year before.


Photo: QQ News

They came, they stayed, but how have the lives of these foreigners changed?

Just as one Quora user living in China puts it, one is bound to experience culture shock at first, but if you can hold out for two years, you’ll grow to love this country and it’s people.


Photo: Quora

Another girl had similar sentiments and summed up a few changes in habit that she picked up in the Middle Kingdom. The first one is being ‘overly polite’. Originally she was always apologizing for bumping into people and other mistakes, saying thank you all the time.  She says now, “[She] saves her thank-yous, sorries and excuse-mes for when [she] really means it, not just as a conversation filler.”

She also no longer takes the medicine as much as she used to. If her throat hurts, she drinks ginger-brown sugar tea, body aches, she sleeps on a traditional wooden bed. All of these traditional Chinese remedies are adequate to take care of basic aches and pains.

After living in China for a while, she even learned how important it was to keep healthy. In Australia, she rarely thought about the temperature of her food and drinks. Everyone drinks cold beverages there because of the heat. On the contrary, in China, even in the hotter parts, people drink their beverages and eat their foods warm, believing that cold drinks harm one’s energy

A foreign mother living in China said that once she took her four-month-old baby out for a walk and had someone from the ‘temperatur police’ run up to her and insist she wrapped her child in another layer to keep it warm. Only a few minutes later, another person chased her down with a fan and started trying to cool her baby off.

Not all foreigners are limited to merely criticizing China from an outsider’s perspective. Some with high-level Chinese even frequent Zhihu (China’s answer to Quora) and talk about their experience of China and how they’ve changed since living here.

One Polish exchange student studying in China even took at liking to the selfie culture so popular among Chinese girls.


QQ News

When she went back home to visit, she even set the table Chinese-style.

She said, sometimes when she runs into another foreigner the first words out of her mouth are in Mandarin.

A Quora user sums it all up in his response to the question, “Why do some foreigners come to China?”

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