Moving to East Asia
One of the most densely populated areas in the world, traditionally much of East Asia has been heavily influenced by Chinese culture. However each country now has its own unique traditions, customs and ways of life.
So what can you expect if you’re thinking of moving to East Asia?
Wherever you move to you’re likely to find the culture to be vastly different to the one you’re currently used to. If you keep an open mind when you arrive, and embrace the differences rather than criticise them, then you’re more likely to have a richer experience while you’re there. Obviously these experiences will vary depending on where you’re living in East Asia; outlined below are just some of the places you might be thinking of relocating to.
Mainland China is the most populated country in the world, with around 1.3 billion people living there. It is a country which has developed rapidly over recent years and if you move to China you’ll notice stark contrasts between the cutting-edge skyscrapers and timeless traditional buildings. Depending of course on which city you’re moving to, you’re likely to notice the vastness, population density and general chaos of China, but you’ll also see the pace of development and the overall energy of the place.
The official language of China is Mandarin, although a number of regional dialects are also spoken. In the main cities you will probably be able to get by with only speaking English, however it is recommended you learn at least a limited amount of Mandarin to make the time you spend in China as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Although Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, it is classed as a self-governing country. Currently around seven million people call Hong Kong home, but due to the relatively small size of the country you’ll quickly see how densely populated it is. High rise buildings and skyscrapers dominate the skyline and the construction of these sleek buildings is set to continue.
Cantonese, English and Mandarin are the official languages of the country, with Cantonese being the most widely used in daily life. However, all three are taught in schools and you shouldn’t have a problem living here and just speaking English. It would be advisable to learn some Cantonese though – at least for giving directions to taxi drivers and when it comes to bargaining.
Located in the Pacific Ocean, Japan is made up of over 3,000 different islands however the main four – Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku - account for 97% of the total area. Tokyo, the financial and political capital of Japan, is really unlike any other city you’ll live in. There is a fascinating blend of high-technology and tradition and while it is a huge, heavily-populated place you’ll be pleased to discover the abundant greenery in some parts.
Cost of living in Japan can be very high and accommodation to suit foreign standards is expensive. However the people here are on the whole polite, quiet and helpful and there really is something for everyone. If you do decide to move to Japan you’ll have a truly enriching cultural experience.
South Korea (Republic of Korea)
With a population of nearly 50 million people, South Korea is well known for its technological advancements. The capital city, Seoul, in particular is big, modern, past-paced, dynamic and thriving. At first you may find the culture, food, language, traffic and smog to be challenges, however once you get to know the place you’ll start to overcome these barriers.
Koreans are an ‘extreme’ people with a huge amount of pride in their country. They work very hard, drink in excess, eat very spicy food and are very determined to finish what they started. Korea is not the easiest country to live in as an expat. But with an open mind, a good sense of humour and a good bit of patience, people can and do have wonderful experiences living and working here.
Taiwan is located off the southeast coast of China, with a population of around 23 million people. The official language of Taiwan is Mandarin, although Taiwanese is also spoken. Basic Mandarin classes are recommended for anyone who plans to live in the city for an extended period of time. Learning numbers, how to correctly pronounce addresses and how to pronounce the names of basic food items are all extremely useful and can help to avoid undue frustration.
The Taiwanese work hard and the concept of leisure time is still fairly new. However, this is changing rapidly and the number and types of entertainment venues are expanding to meet this burgeoning need.
Find out more about moving abroad
Continue exploring the rest of this site to find out more useful information about moving overseas. There are a number of guides and tips to help you begin to plan your relocation, but also make sure you do some research of your own and try to seek the views of others who have been before.
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