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Old 11-29-2016, 01:33 AM
22 posts, read 15,260 times
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I'm a Chinese-American, born in China but came to the US at age 4, so I grew up most of my life here in the US. I have conversational fluency in Mandarin but my reading and writing skills are very limited, though it's something that I hope to change in the next 2 years. However, I visit China roughly every year or 2 to see my grandparents, so I still feel emotionally connected to China and view my grandparents city in China as my 2nd home, and I have always wanted to live in China for at least a few years of my life. Right now, I'm about to finish my CS degree at a top CS school and I have a job lined up at a major silicon valley company after graduation. I know China requires a minimum of 2 years of work experience for foreigners so I'll obviously need to wait at least that long before I move back. For someone like me, what would you say life would be like in China as a software developer? Would 2 years of work experience be enough to make me employable, assuming that I'm also able to achieve written as well as spoken fluency in Chinese? What about life outside work, in terms of making friends, the dating scene, etc..?
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Old 11-29-2016, 10:16 AM
Location: Guangzhou, China
9,779 posts, read 13,359,093 times
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Truth be told, you don't actually need 2 years of experience to get a job... you can just pay an agent for an M (business) visa for about $1k USD. However, if you had 2 years working experience in Silicon Valley, I imagine you wouldn't have any problem nailing a good job.

I'd stick to a major urban center such as Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing, Guangzhou, or Shenzhen - this is likely where you would be hired anyways, but they also have large expat communities. I know a good number of Chinese-Americans who live here full-time... most of them, like you, spent a lot of their life travelling back and forth to China, and once they got here, they discovered that they are inextricably American in a lot of ways. People will pick up any accent, the fact that you lag in reading and writing, and any cultural differences, and they won't know what to think... to a Chinese person, if you are Chinese by blood, you are Chinese by culture. All those years in America shouldn't mean squat, you should immediately adapt totally to all things Chinese! Dating likely wouldn't be a problem, but, if you moved here around 24, then a lot of women who were thinking of you for the long term would expect you to own a flat and a car (keep in mind that real estate in these cities is about on par with American coastal metropolises because of speculation, an imported car in China costs about 1.5/2x the cost as in the US, and the license plate alone costs about $5k USD in these top four cities) as basic prerequisites for the future. If you don't have these things as an ethnic Chinese, the attitude is that you must come from a poor family. Yikes... because of stuff like this, a considerable number of Chinese-Americans/Canadians/Australians/etc end up seeking out other Western expats and joining that social circle.

All this said, the pay would probably be alright - less than back home, but more than enough for a comfortable life here. Spoken fluency is a big boon, as there are plenty of software developers who don't speak a lick of Chinese who are hired and assigned a translator, so long as they are valuable enough. You'd likely be living in a really nice apartment, eat and dress and generally live well, and would have plenty of money to play with as well as save up. Your coworkers would probably look up to you, if nothing else because you had the chance to develop software in Silicon Valley, and you would be invited out to go and have fun all the time. You would get to connect with your birth country as well as realize a lot of the bonds that you have with your adopted country and both would help you form a solid identity. I'd say, do it.
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