Who are you?
I’m a father of a 7 year old. Husband to an International school teacher. A writer. A student at Shenzhen University. My U.S. work background was in sales and marketing, and I still do some consulting in those areas.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
We moved to Shekou (Shenzhen), China in 2011 from Portland, OR.We just decided we wanted to live abroad, and the school where my wife works was a good fit for our first move.
What challenges did you face during the move?
The language barrier in China is a real problem when you first get here. Most countries we visit the native populations know a bit of English, but in China not so much.
Are there many other expats in your area?
We live in Shekou which has more expats than any other part of Shenzhen.
What do you like about life where you are?
The expat community is great, I enjoy meeting people from around the world. We can find many western foods and restaurants. I can, and do, leave Shekou and experience modern China in Shenzhen. Shenzhen is a melting pot of Chinese, so you can meet people that come from all over China. It’s absolutely amazing to have a front row seat to watch the speed at which Shenzhen is changing, and it is fascinating to watch the Chinese people deal with these changes.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
Expats! Or at least the ones that constantly complain, and compare China to their home country. Also, the Chinese will never accept you as anything but a foreigner.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between
your new country and life back home?
So many differences, it’s 180 degrees from the USA.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Embrace where you live!
What are your plans for the future?
Probably 2 more years in Shekou then we will look for a new school.
Blue Heron shares more about his life as an expat in China on his blog, Free Bird.