My working span in China was short. I was hired by a startup named biyixia.com as lead software engineer. I was already working with them offshore but due to long documentation process, I had to wait too long to apply for the visa. Chinese work visa process needs at least two years of work experience and I was 4 years experienced by that time so it was not a big deal.
First couple of weeks are always the toughest ones in any new culture so mine were no different. It’s really hard to adapt the life style especially food. I was used to Pakistani style food but my team only consists of chinese guys so expecting them to prepare Pakistani food for me was a big no no. I was living in Changping district in Beijing and there is hardly any Pakistani restaurant but I discovered some Muslim(Xinqiang) restaurants in the neighborhood where I usually used to eat. Otherwise I mostly rely on vegetables.
The team was so cooperative, I am always very thankful to them. They never made me realize that I am away from my family. Every evening I used to go to the Beijing Electrical Engineering University nearby for a walk. It was awesome.
Beijing is mostly hated by expats due to its bad air. The air pollution is a big issue in almost every city in China. I am from Lahore and it’s pretty much polluted but believe me Beijing is tougher than that. I always user to check pm2.5 before I go out.
Hovering around in Beijing can be complex for new comers but it has excellent public transportation especially the subway. It works just like any other subway in the world. You can travel between any two terminals for just 2 RMB. On the weekends, we used to go to the Olympic park for jogging and after that we used to go to Chaoyang to enjoy Pakistani food at Khanbaba.
It is always recommended that you should live close to your workplace if you are an expat as Subway is so crowdy in the mornings.
Chinese society is a capitalist society and you will feel that. Most of the people just have one objective, earn as much money as they can. Beijing has a lot of people coming from different regions of China so living cost is very high i.e. 3000RMB per month for a one room apartment in Changping. So most of the young guys share apartment with others to reduce the living cost.
Overall I feel very lucky that I got the chance to live in Beijing and worked with wonderful people. China, I miss you.