To foreigners freshly arriving to China, their adventures ahead can be different.
Some were there for a certain period of time, and some stayed.
CGTN’s Liu Yang spent a day with two foreign English teachers to find out why they make their home in the southwestern city of Chengdu.
Joshua France calls it a China experience – teaching English to kindergartners as a fun and good way to make a living in China.
With a bachelor’s degree in Classical Chinese in London, France first came to Beijing to continue his Chinese language studies at Beijing Normal University. Now, he’s made Chengdu his home.
He’s traveled to many places in Europe, but he’s chosen Chengdu for its safe environment, job opportunities, and a relatively reasonable cost of living.
“I learned not just Chinese culture and language, but about myself,” France said. “I think it is very important that as a person you spend time in an environment outside where you are used to. China gives me a lot of opportunity to do that with a very good standard of living, for me to stay in China right now.”
Andy McAuley is volunteering at a high-end kindergarten, and manages a soccer field in Chengdu with his wife for a living. He came to China out of curiosity and stayed because of love.
“Originally I was going to go one year, possibly two years, and now 13 years later…so I have obviously enjoyed it but too much maybe.”
Being a father himself, McAuley experienced more of the joy and frustration of educating children.
He said the trick of teaching children is knowing what they are interested in and enjoy doing. As a father, he wanted his kid grow up in a safe environment, and China is a good place to call home.
“I think there is less crime here,” said McAuley. “I think in general the streets are safer, and most Chinese cities that I have been to. I have never had any problems.”
“China is a very safe place, most foreigners would tell you that,” said France. “I feel infinitely safer here than I do back home. Not to say that back home is a dangerous place. I have never had problems here, in terms of security or safety. Whether it is 3 o’clock in the morning back from the bar, foreigners here are treated very well, very respectfully, very courteously.”
According to the China 2016 Crime & Safety Report, Chengdu is generally safe compared to urban areas of similar size. Gong Xiang, deputy director of the South Station police station in the Wuhou District, has years of experience managing public security in the area of the city where most foreigners live.
“We have deployed a great deal of personnel, financial support, and material in public security management,” said Gong Xiang. “By strengthening the fight against crime and improving the surrounding environment, the district’s crime rate has been decreasing year by year. We asked for residential properties to provide bilingual property management personnel to communicate with foreign residents, and the police station also created the position of foreign affairs police.”
For France and McAuley, and many other foreigners pursuing their dreams in China, the safe environment is undoubtedly an important reason for them to call China home, and continue their journey in this fast-growing country.
Tao Zhang on life in China vs. the West
For more on life in China, CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Tao Zhang. He’s the director of Dao Ventures.