What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Come for what I call a looky-see trip first before committing to come live in this area to make sure you can find a decent home for you and your family. Get a good relocation company to help you look and negotiate for you. Everything in china is up for negotiation! Make sure your company is allowing you enough housing money per month to get you a good place to live and make sure you detail and negotiate EVERYTHING you want the place to have BEFORE you seal the deal and move into the place. *** When your contract for the house is up for renewal that is the time the owner will make other changes you need or forgot to ask for intitally to keep you in the place for another go round. (Continue)
What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?
It's a relatively small English-speaking expat community. There are clubs to join, but to meet others all you have to do is go to The Broadway, a Western restaurant in town. Every expat in the city ends up there at some time or another. For lack of another, it is our community center. (Continue)
What advice would you offer others about banking abroad?
Keep at least one bank account in the US functioning while you are on assignment. Make sure you have access to it by online means. Make sure you have the options of making transfers within that account to do online payments of any regular bills you might still have to have paid back home while you are on assignment.
*** If you have college aged kids, or even adult kids on their own you might serious consider establishing a linking account for them to your account just in case of that, "Hey Mom an Dad, I need some help" situation arises then even from thousands of miles away you can simply transfer some funds from your primary bank account into theirs. This has been a life saver for our kids several times since we have been living on assignment.
Make sure you have a bank in which your paycheck is deposited (if that is what you normally do) that you will be able to access from an ATM in the country that you are moving to. DO NOT ASSUME that there will be one there without checking first!!
Try and pick a bank or credit union that with each time you use the ATM abroad you are not dinged with a high fee for doing so. Those little $$$ dings can add up very quickly. If there is a fee make sure you know up front just what it will be for every use.
Check on what kind of financial situation you are getting into in the country you are moving to before you move. By that, I mean, are you moving to a country that does not use checks and credit cards for you to pay for things? Is it mostly a cash on the barrel society? Even in the 21st century there are still many third world countries that still do not have a clue about using checks or credit cards as currency to pay for goods. In those countries to quickly learn to accumulate the country's currency and your national currency (for a possible emergency) and keep it stashed in your safe. To not do so would be indeed foolish. (Continue)
If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.
The people are fantastic when they aren't spitting and crowding onto elevators before letting you get off of one. The opportunities for travel and shopping are incredible. And it's about as exotic a place as there is. But it's lonely at times. And other than shopping and getting out of town, there's little else to do.