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Anyone in Beijing?

(7 Posts)
FlorIxora Tue 19-Apr-11 02:25:10

Hi all,

It wouldn't be for a while but it could be on the cards in the next couple of years. (Partner loves his job and said job is expanding to all sorts of new territories).

I want to keep an open mind about it so starting my research early.

What do the mumsnetters who live there make of it?
Did you learn Mandarin?
Has anyone been pregnant and given birth there?
What do you do for jobs?
How is the social life?
What do you think the household income should be to live comfortably?(holidays, going out, leisures)


footyfan Tue 19-Apr-11 15:50:59

Hi - sorry but can't help directly - but I am currently living in Shanghai (and have lived in another major city in China as well).

I have been here for nearly 3 years, and have managed to learn some Mandarin. I know plenty of people that get by only knowing a few words (for taxi drivers) - but I wanted to learn a bit more.

There are plenty of things to do in the major cities - there are loads of expats in Beijing - so there will be plenty of clubs/associations. Try looking at for an idea of restaurants/clubs for social life.

Getting a job can be difficult - it depends what your background is. Engineers/teachers are in demand. There are also a lot of consulate/govt jobs in Beijing. There are lots of volunteering opportunities as well.

I'm currently pregnant (15 weeks) and have know plenty of people give birth here. You'll most likely have private health care via your husband's job (or your own) - so you'll get very good care.

I'm not sure what the household income would need to be in Beijing - I just know that Shanghai was a lot more expensive than I was expecting. We rent a 2-bed flat in the centre of Shanghai and it is £3,000 per month. It's pretty nice -but you'd get something much nicer in the UK for the same money. Of course there are cheaper places - but it depends what you want! Here is a link to a reputable real estate website for China:

Hope some of that helps!!

Good luck - China is a really exciting place to live...

FlorIxora Tue 19-Apr-11 20:05:58

Thank you so much for your answer FootyFan.

Are you in the same position as I am i.e. DH/DP's job moves him around and your career suffers a little for it?

I've decided I want to retrain since I have no real skills, but won't really be able to do so until we move back to the UK. I am willing to be patient if it means moving to China would:
- mean I speak Mandarin (how amazing!).
- DP's career gets another boost.
- I'm guaranteed to have my way afterwards. wink

Are you able to access most internet sites you need?

An acquaintance who was teaching English in China about 5 yrs ago had mentioned being followed by undercover officials a few times.
Do you find you are not limited in your personal liberties?

We're currently based in the Caribbean and whilst it's lovely and sunny, it's almost too much like home (but with rife corruption, silly rules and unfriendly stern locals), and I had a really bad bout of homesickness/rejection for the first 6 months.
However the idea of living in the Far East (though I have never been yet) appeals to me. I just have the feeling it would be worlds apart but still have creature's comfort.

I expect DP would make sure his pay package is adequate, we wouldn't move to be worse off. (neither of us are that adventurous)

You say living in China is very exciting. What are your favourite things about the country?

footyfan Wed 20-Apr-11 06:00:01

Hi FlorIxora

Yes - I am in the same position as you. I'm here because of my DHs career! Luckily when we started moving around I had already achieved a fair amount in my own career - so don't feel too hard done by! I've also been able to do some distance learning courses to make sure I don't feel I'm going brain dead.

You cannot access YouTube or Facebook at the moment (you could a few years ago - but they're blocked all the time now). You can pay for a VPN, which is pretty cheap - which means you can access everything.
I've never felt that I was being watched - and we've driven around the country on our own a lot.

I think the homesickness thing is pretty common anywhere - in fact, I volunteer at a helpline that is set up purely to provide emotional support to expats living in Shanghai.

I love how different and challenging it is to live in China. (Although Shanghai isn't as much of a challenge as where we were before). We also get to do a massive amount of travelling - there's no way we'd be able to go on holiday 5/6 times a year in the UK.

I just love that our lives are constantly changing. We went back to the UK for just under a year - and it was lovely to see friends/family for the first few months - but after that we were getting restless at how safe/routine our lives were becoming!

Feel free to contact me again if you need to know any more!

FlorIxora Wed 20-Apr-11 14:41:54

I have to say that is the great thing about being an expat, the amount of holidays is insane. We're making the most of it here too.

Is it your first pregnancy?

We don't have children yet but the "itch" is definitely there and I am concerned as to how I would feel if I was pregnant for the first time, far away from mum, sis and friends. I'm sure I'd survive but I wouldn't want to feel as though I was missing out. But then again it would be a shame to miss out on career/culture opportunities.

How is your Mandarin now? Can you go round the shops and haggle easily? Can you hold conversations? Are some of your friends Chinese with no English?

I normally have a knack for languages, DP was sweet he was training on the computer a few days ago.

footyfan Thu 21-Apr-11 11:47:32

Yes, it will be my first.

It is quite hard being away from friends/family, but I've been back to the UK once already, and my Mum is coming to stay soon - then I'll be back home twice before the birth. The benefits of not working! It means I can go back to see people all the time!

I really wouldn't trade the life we have for anything - I think the upsides definitely outweigh the downsides. I can't see us ever going back to the UK.

My Mandarin is still pretty basic - I really should have put in more time. I can have simple conversations - but certainly nowhere near good enough to speak to someone with no English. I wish I had done a really intensive course at the start of my time out here. A month full-time would really have helped.

Wish I had a knack for languages!!

HengshanRoad Wed 04-May-11 12:29:38


Sorry to come to the thread late - I only just discovered the Living Overseas thread.

I'm in Shanghai, but know a fair few expats up in Beijing, and I'm in the process of writing a guidebook about both cities!

I've been here for nearly three years now, and have picked up Mandarin. It's not as hard as people say, if you set aside some time to learn it. The social life in both Shanghai and Beijing is great, and there's a wide variety of "types" of people: students, entrepreneurs, SAHMs, freelancers, professionals.

I'm a travel writer and journalist, and work is great at the moment. I wouldn't consider going back to England any time soon.

I don't have children yet, but am almost ready to start adoption proceedings.

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