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