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Expatriate Mobility in China

Scenes from Chengdu and Shanghai – Two Popular Cities with Expats

Since China reopened its doors 30 years ago, the country has attracted a growing expatriate population. Foreigners (known as laowai in Chinese) choose to call China home for a variety of reasons. Many come for business opportunities while others arrive out of a desire to learn about the language and culture. Whatever the reason, the allure that has intrigued people from outside the Middle Kingdom’s borders for centuries is alive today.

American writer Sascha Matuszak, who has lived in China off and on for ten years, reflects on his own experience as a laowai in a piece for Chengdu Living. He recently moved from Chengdu to Shanghai to take a new job. Relocating from one city to another for opportunity is not uncommon, both for native Chinese and foreigners living in China.

What is intriguing about Matuszak’s piece is not only his comparison of the two very different Chinese cities, but his musings on expat culture in China. He makes the case that certain Chinese cities attract different types of laowai based on personality- or is it the particular city where  a foreigner lives that influences them to adapt to local culture? Probably, it’s a bit of both.

Chengdu Living: A Tale of Two Cities: Chengdu vs. Shanghai

  • Sascha - yer right, the city does a lot to influence the person and the person stays in the city that influence him to his liking … 😉 nice blog here my manReplyCancel

  • Adam Nathaniel Mayer - Sascha – thanks for being the first commenter on my new blog! I really enjoyed your descriptions of the different types of laowai across China. I’m no doubt a Beijing laowai at heart even though I have spent more time in Chengdu at this point. That being said, after learning how to avoid chomping into the explosive little hua jiao, the Dirty ‘Du has started rubbing off on me. I could get used to it out here. Sorry to see you go man but look forward to hearing more about your new adventure in Shanghai.ReplyCancel

  • Sascha - i’ll be back the food here sucks (cept for the western fare, which is probs the best in the countryReplyCancel

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