AsianTalks Expat Interview: Adjusting to life in China as a foreigner


As doing business and starting a career in Asia becomes more prominent, we speak to Public Relations Extraordinaire, and Communication Coordinator at the China-Australia Chamber of Commerce Candice Lever, as she shares her insights on the valuable components of adjusting to life in China,  how to have a successful career in Asia and the key ingredients to having prosperous business relationships.

AsianTalks: What’s your background, and what brought you to China?

I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia — born and raised there. I went to the University of Melbourne, and spent some time studying in Canada too. When I graduated I was struggling to find a job, like many young people still now, and I needed a change! So I decided to come to China.

Originally, China was not very much on the radar. I knew that I wanted to shake things up. I knew I wanted to get out of my bubble, my comfort zone. And you don’t get much different than China from Melbourne. I’ve been here for almost a year and a half now.

But coming to China has showed me how big the world is. You know, you get so wrapped up in your own little life. Melbourne is such a great city, so for a lot of people there’s no reason to leave. It’s comfortable.

But the international scene in Beijing is so amazing. Much like online networking sites, the scene broadens your horizons even more, and connects you with people you couldn’t meet in the first place.

AsianTalks: What advice do you have for expatriates newly arrived in China?

One of the biggest things I would say to people is — be open-minded and embrace China. I think being culturally sensitive and able to adapt is really important. Especially if you’re like me, you come from the West. I didn’t have any family connections in China, and it was completely foreign. When you dive into a foreign culture the best way to survive and thrive is to enjoy the experience, try to adapt as much as you can, and embrace the cultural differences that might seem scary. Cultural sensitivity is important, wherever you go, but particularly going to such a foreign place, rather than going against the tide, you’ll enjoy China more if you go with the flow.

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