Going native — getting to know the locals while living in China

To understand China you need to get to know the people and the culture. You can do this by frequenting holes-in-the-wall, making friends with locals, and traveling throughout the country. You’ll have opportunities to use the language and get even farther out of that expat bubble.

Now that you’ve popped the expat bubble and are starting to speak the language, it’s time to take the next step: getting to know the people and the culture. There are many ways to do this, but the best one is to spend more time with locals. It’s time to go native.

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6 tips for learning Mandarin Chinese (or any other foreign language)

Learning a new language requires putting in a little effort every day, and practicing whenever you have the opportunity. In this post, you’ll find six tips you can use to learn Mandarin, or any other foreign language, on your own.

When I first moved to Beijing in 2001, I didn’t want to spend hours in classes learning how to say “I have a red pencil,” so I chose self-study over formal classes. (I do have a red pencil, though, and I talk about it all the time.) In this, the second post in the “Getting the most out of living abroad” series, you’ll get advice for learning a new language on your own. Along the way, you might also earn a restraining order, but by the end you’ll hopefully know how to talk your way out of it.

Even if you’ve already been living in a different country for a year, but don’t yet speak the language, these tips will help you get out of that expat bubble so you can learn the language, and get to know the people and culture of your temporary home.

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How to get the most out of living in China (or any other foreign country)

When you move to China, or any country with a different language and culture than your own, you can choose to live in an expat bubble, or you can try to get the most out of your time in that country. If you want to live in the expat bubble and not learn the language or experience the culture, you might want to just go back to watching cat videos on YouTube; this post probably isn’t for you. But hey, enjoy those cat videos!

This post is the first of a four-part series on how to get the most out of living abroad, whether you’re in China or some other foreign country. Let’s start by looking at two different foreigners, Erica and Lily, who have each been living in China for two years.

Which one want do you want to be like?
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