Information for English Speaking Expats in Beijing
Beijing is an amazing place to visit, and an extraordinary place to live - even if you aren't Chinese. But if you are a foreigner, you most likely will need to connect with other expats.
Beijing is a HUGE city. It encompasses something like 6,500 square miles or 16,800 square km, and there are as many as 22-million people living there at any one time. So when you move there from the US, Canada, the UK, Australia or anywhere else in the world, it could be tricky finding a way to fit in.
So how do you find other expats to connect with and interact with?
The best way to survive as a foreigner anywhere in the world, including Beijing, is to find people who come from wherever it is YOU come from. These are the best expats for you to connect with. So make this your priority. But if you don't know anyone in China (let alone Beijing), you are going to have to start from scratch when it comes to setting up a new support system.
Here are some tips for those either visiting Beijing, or moving there with an intention to stay. Don't be fazed; you can rest assured that there is a vibrant and friendly expat community that will welcome newcomers any day of the week.
Tips for English-speaking expats in Beijing
If you're connected to the Internet, find a good forum and meet new friends online. Do a search for "Beijing expats" and take it from there.
Alternatively you could link up through networking events organized by business and professional organizations like the FG Group. This is a particularly good option if you are going to be working in Beijing.
Another good idea is to look for a blog written by expats in Beijing... they tell it like it is!
Make it your mission to find out where expat meet-ups are held. Here are four bars where get-togethers have been held recently: Face Bar, the Ritz-Carlton, and the Loong Bar. Once you're in Beijing you'll find these places with ease.
Find someone who is running a book club in your area. If you can't, then start out with one of the more commercial possibilities. Bookworm, which is hosted by City Weekend, has monthly meeting. Smugglers, which is a bar located in the Chaoyang District, also has book club meetings. And there are quite a few more.
There are also several pubs that hold quiz evenings that appeal to expats. The Bookworm, already mentioned, is a good place to start. Another is Paddy O'Shea's, an Irish pub that makes many expats feel immediately at home. The Kro's Nest, also in the Chaoyang District, is a favorite with Americans.
If you aren't into pub-type fun, then perhaps you should head for one of the many international churches in Beijing where you will certainly meet other expats. The Beijing International Christian Fellowship is a good place to start. They have a large following, so if you would rather start making Christian friends in a smaller community, ask about their young adults groups and less publicized gatherings.
The International Newcomer's Network is another good avenue to follow if you want to meet expats in Beijing.
Just be assured that if you are an expat, there are a whole lot of expats who want to meet you and share time with you. Written by Travel Insurance Cover for Stuck in Beijing. Read tips for buying travel insurance online before arranging cover for your next trip.
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