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Luke_23

Shanghai VS Hong Kong

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Luke_23

To start off I'm 18 year old male looking to move to China at the end of 2011/ start of 2012. After researching a number of cities I have narrowed my search to Hong Kong & Shanghai.

I'm hoping to get some advice on:

Career Opportunities: Which has a broader range of openings for foreigners, career promotion opportunities.

Social: Which has the better nightlife for young people, more events & things to do.

Transport: As far as getting around the city which is more efficient.

Living: Rent, food, etc. the more managable choice.

Pollution: I've heard bad things about Hong Kong in comparison to Shanghai, this suprised me as the population in Shanghai is much larger. Can anyone elaberate on this?

Any extra advice or tips to enhance my overall experience?

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anonymoose

I have no idea about Hong Kong, but as an 18-year old, I think you'll find it difficult to get any legitimate kind of job in Shanghai, let alone a "career".

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skylee

Regarding HK,

Career : Why would people want to hire you? Do you have any special skills / talents / qualifications / experience? They would help. Or do you plan to start a business? It is easy to start a business in HK. But it is a very competitive place.

Transport : it is easy to get around in HK.

Living : it is expensive.

Pollution : there are good days and there are bad days. Not sure about your standards.

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WestTexas

If you are 18 I'm assuming you haven't gone to college, and don't have a lot of work experience. Considering it isn't even legal to hire you in some parts of China I would simply find any job I could and move there. You really can't be choosy.

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abcdefg

Oh to be 18 and full of naive self confidence again!

China has lots and lots of people qualified and overqualified for every single entry level job. College graduates are flipping burgers at McDonalds and washing dishes at KFC. You still might turn up something in which they are only looking for a foreign face.

For example, I was in Aomen (Macau) recently and the Wynn casino had hired some attractive European girls to stand at the entrance and just say a smiling "ni hao" to incoming guests.

The best sober parental advice would be to first acquire some occupational skills at home and then go east to market them if you are still so inclined at that point in time. But if you are set on going now, may the wind fill your sails and may you land on your feet.

Since you probably don't speak Chinese, Hong Kong might be the best city choice since there is plenty of English spoken there.

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Luke_23

Thanks for the straight up honest responses from everyone, it really is appreciated. With career opportunities I can see how I might have come across as cocky thinking I'll be hired with little effort but I truly am realistic. I'm prepared to face the challenges of it all & be out there on the grind if thats what it takes, overcoming obstacles is part of the appeal.

With that being said it is interesting to read contrasting opinions from different posters online, at one end of the spectrum there is the reaction that I got here that the job market is overflooded & tough to break into but at other forums I have read that speaking english & having a white face is the key to unlimited opportunites. I'd like to know this forums reaction to that, are they simply exaggerating?

Also what would be the minimum age before someone would be considered as an english teacher? Is it entirely necessary to obtain a TEFL?

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WestTexas

I know three British kids who started working here when they were 18. They didn't work in Beijing or Shanghai though, they worked in a small town in... Xinjiang. Oh, and they only got paid like 2000 yuan a month. Hope you don't like using the internet.

I know two other British kids who did a bit better. They worked in some small town in Shijiazhuang and made around 4k a month. They also worked for like 50 hours a week and complained that their boss was crazy.

Dude it's definitely possible to get a job here, but at what price? Do yourself a favor and go to college.

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imron
but at other forums I have read that speaking english & having a white face is the key to unlimited opportunites
Maybe 20 years ago. Nowadays this isn't even enough to get you a job teaching English at many institutions on the mainland (who are looking for a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and 2-years work experience), and I imagine in Hong Kong, the standard is only going to be higher.

I guess the key question is why do you want to go to China?

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anonymoose
speaking english & having a white face is the key to unlimited opportunites

"Unlimited opportunities" I think is probably somewhat of an exageration, but certainly there did use to be opportunities when foreigners were still fairly novel in China. However, over the last decade or so, the number of foreigners here has skyrocketed, especially in the larger cities such as Shanghai. It used to be the case that provided you had a white face, anyone could get a job teaching English. Even being able to speak English wasn't always a requisite. However, regulations have tightened up, and now one has to have a degree and 2 years of work experience before one is eligible to be employed as a teacher in China.

Of course, teaching is not the only occupation of expats here, but most other jobs require some kind of professional expertise or experience, and any job with a good income or good prospects is going to be highly competitive.

A career is not something you can just step into. It is something you have to build up over the long term. Therefore, if you are serious about developing a career, in China or otherwise, you should think about how you are going to make yourself marketable. Getting a degree would be a good start. OK, it may mean that you will have to put off coming to China for another 3 years, but in the long term, 3 years is nothing, and many more doors will be open to you after that. If you really have your mind set on coming to China in the near future, then maybe you could consider doing a degree at a university here, and you may be able to find inofficial teaching work on the side.

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Brian US

Have you ever been to China before? There is a good chance you move out here and realize it's not for you. Like WestTexas said, you will be lucky to get the same pay as a Chinese college graduate. You could take the safe route and start taking some Chinese language classes while getting a feel for the job market.

I suggest going to school.

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abcdefg
Meng Lelan

Those are all excellent articles. They reminded me how back in 1993, the class I was in started out with several students then six weeks later about two or three left because they started businesses or teaching jobs that required more and more their time and attention. And they were all in their early 20s, I remember.

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Pengyou

Most of the jobs that foreigners get in China require a degree to get the visa. The ones that do not require usually do not provide a visa. That is something you will have to take care of somehow. It used to be easy to do, but now is becoming increasingly more difficult/expensive to do. If you really want to try this, maybe one suggestion is to contact youth hostels in various parts of China and see if they can give you a job in their hostel. It would not pay much, as stated before, but it is one area that might pan out.

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skylee

That New York Times article makes it sound like Mandarin is quite easy to learn -

Two years later, after stints in the nonprofit sector and at a large public relations firm in Beijing, he is highly proficient in Mandarin
After two years of living and working in China, Ms. Berman is proficient in Mandarin.

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rezaf

2 years!!! That's so long. People started telling me that my Mandarin was perfect after a few weeks of learning Chinese. :rolleyes:

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abcdefg
That New York Times article makes it sound like Mandarin is quite easy to learn -

Yes, it did @Skylee. I noticed that too. Makes me doubt the truthfulness of some of the other parts of those amazing success stories.

Two years later, after stints in the nonprofit sector and at a large public relations firm in Beijing, he is highly proficient in Mandarin and works as a manager for XPD Media...

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gato
Makes me doubt the truthfulness of some of the other parts of those amazing success stories.

The students profiled in the article are from MIT, Harvard, Wesleyan and Barnard. Probably not very representative.

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rezaf

As I have heard Shanghai is full of young Americans who have graduated from very famous business schools and I have seen a few of them. I admit that they are very smart people but their 吹牛 is always bigger than what they can actually do. At least about the language part I have seen enough genius people to know how far they can get after 2 years. Having said that the author of the article might not be qualified enough to say whose Chinese is proficient but she might be qualified to know who has a successful career.

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abcdefg
The students profiled in the article are from MIT, Harvard, Wesleyan and Barnard. Probably not very representative.

Good point.

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