Expat Exchange

Guangzhou, China

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 17, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Guangzhou, China: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

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What do I need to know about living in Guangzhou?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Guangzhou, they said:

"Be careful and try to make friends. Use Patience at all all times and do not have a temper," remarked another in Guangzhou.

"Take some Chinese classes. It is so frustrating to live here without speaking basic Chinese. And learning to speak is actually quite easy. It's the writing and reading that makes everyone thing Chinese is impossible -- so learn some verbal chinese," explained one expat.

How do I meet people in Guangzhou?

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When we asked people living in Guangzhou about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Make friends through the people your wife is associated with. Go to dances, go bowling and eat in some American Restaurants to meet other people from other countries," remarked another in Guangzhou.

""That's PRD" magazine has a quality list of organizations and community events for each month and is well worth getting. Community events with the American Chamber of Commerce as well as Summer camp for the kids at the Utahloy International Summer Camp in Zeng Cheng (www.utahloy.com) helped our family meet many other expat families in the area," explained one expat.

"GWIC-Guangzhou womens International Club, The Christian worship service (Sunday mornings at 10a.m.)," said another person in Guangzhou.

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Will I be able to find a job in Guangzhou?

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When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Guangzhou, they reponded:

"Guangzhou was the first city in China to open up to outside businesses. There are tons of foreign owned factories. everything really is made in China. Most of it made in Guangzhou. It's a really industrialized city -- polluted, crowded, and somewhat ugly. But along with that, comes a much larger variety of jobs and more job opporutnities and a much larger and more varied expat community. The smaller cities that are more quaint, are also more secluded," remarked another in Guangzhou.

What is life like in Guangzhou?

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When we asked people living in Guangzhou what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"The priority is to buy a house. To go out to eat with colleagues, friends and families. Work is the most important in their lives, and they will work all hours to support themselves -- and not take much time off," explained one expat living in Guangzhou.

"Work and Family. There is also a large sporting complex in Tien He that is well used by the citizens of Guangzhou," said another expat in Guangzhou.

"People here in China have a huge focus on school. Kids are in school for like 60 hours a week. but when school is out, everyone is outdoors at the park, restaurants, clubs, shopping, etc. The economy here is booming like crazy and most people are starting to work long hours. People are really starting to acquire wealth and property. something they have never known under communism," added another person living in Guangzhou.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Guangzhou accepting of differences?

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"So many different cultures are represented here, it is truly and international city," explained one expat living in Guangzhou.

"Guangzhou is very diverse. I have friends from South Africa, Nigeria, Scotland, Ecuador, Paraguay, Brazil, Australia, etc. The Chinese people are very very open and accepting of other people and other cultures. They are excited to talk to foreigners and become friends. They are very open and interested in religion, as it is still very controlled by the government. Western holidays are just becoming popular. The city always has operas, ballets, orchestras, plays, etc. most of which come from all parts of the world. As westernized as this city is quickly becoming, you can still see an abundance of traditional Chinese art and calligraphy and TaiChi and ancestor worship," said another expat in Guangzhou.

What are the schools in Guangzhou like?

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"All children need to be assessed before starting at school so it would be helpful to speak to the Admissions Dept. to see how they can help you arrange for this. A tour of the school would be recommended so that prospective parents can meet the heads of school and get to know the school better. The Admissions Dept. will also help with housing choices and bus routes so that you can plan further," said another parent with children at The British School of Guangzhou in Guangzhou.

"I would question the turnover of staff. Two excellent elementary administrators moving on in past two years. People in administration stay one contract or break it (the head of elementary is leaving after only just one year). Class room teachers very caring. Nice setting," commented one expat when asked about Utahloy International School in Guangzhou.

"Utahloy has a really good study environment especially with the Zengcheng campus. Both campuses have lakeside gardens. The teachers are very caring. My children enjoy their schooling in Utahloy a lot, they never have any complains about their studies, their teachers and nor the facilities. They love the school so much. Oh just to mention, Utahloy International School archieve very good IB results, and most of the time above the average of the world IB results," explained one expat in Guangzhou, China with kids at Utahloy International School Zengcheng.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

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Help others in China by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in China.

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