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An Expat Talks about Moving to Beijing, China

Oct 16, 2017


Wangfujing Street in Beijing

An expat in Beijing talks about moving to Beijing. She advised others to leave your high heels at home to avoid sprained ankles, consider living in a serviced apartment the first few months and get help from a local when choosing your location in Beijing.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Beijing

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

Three things I wish I had brought when moving to Beijing: My favorite hair products - American products are really expensive and sometimes impossible to find. Cocktail bitters - I come from a place where craft cocktails are all the rage. Finding anything but agnosta bitters is unheard of. My favorite chair - most everyone buys their furniture at IKEA, which is fine. But, if you want something different there aren't many places where you can walk in, try something and then go home with it any earlier than 6 weeks.

Three things I didn't need to bring Any of my kitchen appliances - I knew my hairdryer didn't work but didn't think about anything else. You will have to have a converter to use with anything. Way easier to just buy a new appliance. High heel shoes - I sprained my ankle within 2 weeks of arriving. The sidewalks are uneven and horrible to walk on. I won't wear high heels ever in Beijing. Hard luggage - I've converted everything to soft so I can pack it away. It's hard to move at the airport true, but better than it taking up your living space.

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Find a local from Beijing to help with location. Pay attention to what comes with the property, 24 hour hot water, elevator, heat, satellite tv, internet, and the maintenance. The sizes are in square meters which isn't always accurate because they describe construction size and not the living space.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

I live in a high rise apartment / hotel. Yes, to begin with most live in some sort of service apartment or they share a big apartment with several rooms. I prefer to live alone. My apartment is serviced which is nice because they help me care for my cat when I'm away. I've heard you can hire an aiyi and they can teach you to cook.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

I used a service called Ihouse. I did lots of research online for expat housing and knew what I wanted. I wanted a real bathroom with a toilet and shower stall and an apartment with lots of closets. I also wanted something close to a subway station. I live near jianguomen and the 2nd ring road.

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Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

The costs are much higher. I pay nearly double what I paid at home. You can find okay housing from 7500 to good housing around 20-25000 Rmb.

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