How to set up a bank account, find accommodation and make friends in China:

Setting up a new bank account and finding accommodation are undoubtedly going to be your first two worries when moving to China, followed by making friends during your time in China. This blog post aims to help you with setting up a bank account and gives tips on accommodation and ways to meet new people.

“我想开一个银行账户” – Wǒ xiǎng kāi yīgè yínháng zhànghù= I want to open a bank account:

As an expatriate in China, having a Chinese bank account will allow for cheaper and easier banking. Sometimes it may facilitate purchases of goods and services online which cannot be purchased with other credit or debit cards. The language barrier is likely to be the first issue when trying to set up a bank account, however, if you bring along all the right documentation, this will make life easier. Also setting up in one of the ‘big 4’ banks in China should facilitate this, as they have dealt with many expatriates. Call the bank in advance to make sure there is an English speaking worker on. Make sure to take your passport AND any other documentation you may have with you on the day. It is advised to get a Union Pay Card when you set up a bank account, as most places do not accept Visa or MasterCard.

Finding accommodation- 我想找一個地方租Wǒ xiǎng zhǎo yīgè dìfāng zū- I would like to find a place to stay:

You may initially be overwhelmed by the variety of accommodation that China has to offer. The price of accommodation varies widely according to size, amenities and location. Apartments may be furnished or unfurnished affecting price. There is no need to ship furniture as China has many furniture stores and even has IKEA. The most expensive accommodation is found in the major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing etc. House-sharing could be an option to cut costs- you can find people online or through NoonElite Recruitment, as there may be more expats going to the same school as you. It would be advised to enlist the services of a Chinese real estate agent to help them find a place to stay. Rental contracts are generally valid for one year and require a refundable two-month security deposit. Upon signing the lease, the tenant is expected to pay one month’s rent up front, often in cash. In most cases the tenant is expected to pay utility bills in China.

Making friends

If your wanting to make friends with fellow Expats; many cities have websites, MeetUp groups, WeChat groups so familiarise yourself with these, and it will be easy from there on. As for making Chinese friends, go down to your local KTV bar (karaoke) after work, it should be easier to pick up the language when your intoxicated and feeling more confident! Take classes in Tai-Chi or chess, or join a gym and meet people there. Learn mandarin- this should help you make more Chinese friends and help you with day to day essential phrases.

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