Currently in China, looking for a change

Discussion in 'Expat Life' started by Berek Halfhand, May 11, 2008.

  1. I've been in Shenzhen, China for almost a year now. While this is my first time exploring any part of the world beyond my home in America (Wisconsin, USA), I've come to find an exciting and rewarding experience here that I never thought was possible on this level... mostly. There are downsides here, a lot of them. The culture shock is a big one, but overall its been great (I have a good school, spacious enough apartment with no problems like "rodents", and my food is free in the school cafeteria, even the apartment is free since its IN the school).

    I'm looking for a change though, and having a hard time deciding what to do. I have a great family and friends I am desperate to get home to, even though I have a decent apartment and living conditions here, the "life" is more lively (my hometown is smaller and there isn't much to do or people to meet), yet I don't want to stay at home too long, so I may stay just for the summer and look for something this coming year, or the next. Home is very important to me, but I've realized by coming to China that building my portfolio can be done, and be exciting at the same time.

    I could stay here in China one more year and save several thousand dollars (the food and everything is cheap), or I was considering relaxing at home for a year (building my computer game industry projects on the Internet... which I can do here in China technically, but still...), or trying to teach somewhere in the Czech Republic.

    My ultimate goal I should mention is the computer game industry. Soon I want to move headlong into that industry. I already work at a prominent media site for computer games in the MMO genre, and have done many community related things in the game industry (such as visit press events), but I haven't been IN the industry yet you could say, development wise. That is my true career goal. I am using this teaching as a portfolio builder and personal builder more than anything else right now.

    So, what are the benefits and drawbacks of moving to Czech next year for a year or so? I know there are a lot of game studios in Europe, so I'd make an effort to see them. I don't want to move though if its extremely expensive and the pay and living conditions are abysmal. I am trying to figure out if there is a way to move with minimal hassle, especially considering I have a year of teaching experience already. I came to China with an official teaching group, and that seems to be a nice way to go about it. If I go to Czech Republic I'd like to do the same, or similar.

    Thoughts? I really need help deciding, and I'm having a hard time doing so. Right now my only real reason for staying in China next year is to save money, and I technically am OK in that regard right now (I'm not in debt...). Thanks for any feedback anyone. Again, if I move to Europe for a year (actually, if I can teach for just 3-6 months that would be ideal), I'd like to ensure its a worthwhile experience as much as I can, naturally.
  2. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Hi, Berek.

    Interesting post. Of course, answer to your questions isn't easy. I suggest you to read articles about Czech republic on this site. If you will move here, you will experience new cultural shock, no doubt :) But with open mind you will be rewarded, I believe.

    About games. In Czech republic was depeloped quite a few successful game titles, like Hidden & Dangerous 1,2 , Mafia, Operation Flashpoint, Vietcong, UFO: Aftershock etc...

    Look here:
  3. Thank you for responding! That was fast :).

    The most important direct feedback I guess I'm hoping to achieve here is what the Czech Republic is like... how expensive things are, how easy/difficult it will be for me to find a school to teach at (or find ANY job that pays well enough), if I can sustain myself well and still save money without working a lot of hours (I am looking for part time...), if its safe and the people are generally friendly, etc. etc.

    It's interesting to note that I heard a lot of "bad" things about China when I first came here, and almost all of them aren't true or the stories are "inflated"... that could be though because I'm living in larger city that is more "modern", although I'm not sure. I've had it fairly good here overall, so if I decide to go to the Czech Republic, I want to ensure the experience is at least as comfortable.

    I know, I have to risk it ultimately, but with your experiences I can make a more informed decision :p. Do you know if there are "programs" that I can sign up to that will give me 3, 6, 12 month teaching contracts and assign apartments, schools, etc., so I don't have to go there completely "naked" and take the risk AFTER arriving?

    On note of arriving, how hard is it for me as an American to get a visa and get over there? I heard on some other sites I perused earlier it can take a YEAR to get a working visa? :(.
  4. BMoody

    BMoody Well-Known Member

    Operation Flashpoint and Viet Cong were awesome games I might add. :D

    Just a little intrigue into China... how are they taking the Beijing games there? Is the internet there restricted like we hear on the news? What do they think of Tibet?

    Not on the Czech Republic but I'm interested in you :D.
  5. They are VERY serious about the Olympics here... its like god came down from the heavens and blessed them with the universal gift... the Olympics. Everyone is supportive in whatever way they can and really pay attention to any news about the Olympics.

    I can understand their enthusiasm though, considering their countries entry into the international scene, it "growing up", etc... and they are hosting the Olympics now. They want to show the world they are a major player (or will be soon anyway), so they are really trying not only to support the Olympics, but also grow up themselves as a people. The government is telling citizens to stand in lines, not spit, etc. etc.

    Nothing really about Tibet... I think they are trying to block that view from the publics eye as much as possible. As far as I know 99.9 percent of the people here probably don't even know whats happening over there in the slightest.

    To give you an example of the lack of "freedom" both in movement and in information here at times, Shenzhen is literally across the river from Hong Kong island... I can get to the heart of Hong Kong within two hours (and that is with border checks, train switches, and everything). Most of the people here cannot get a Visa to get into HK... or Macau, cities which are in their own country! They are so jealous of me that I've been all over Asia and can come and go as I please (more or less).

    It's an interesting experience here to see, especially during the Olympics, Tibet, Taiwan, etc. I sure picked the year to go! In fact, just two days ago the Olympic torch came through this city. I got a front row seat! Still, I'm spent... time to move on :p.
  6. Dana

    Dana Well-Known Member

    Hi Berek,

    The topics of moving to the Czech Republic, its pros and cons, Czech salary, living conditions, etc. have been discussed on these boards several times. I don't know if you've read some of the threads in the Expat Life forum, but if not, there are some interesting discussions that you might find very helpful. Here are a few:

    Moving to Europe
    To move or not to move...
    help - maybe moving /job offer in Prague
    Questions/Help! I'm disenchanted about moving to CR in 2006

    I hope you make the right decision for yourself!

  7. Thank you Dana for the links. I am definitely checking out the other threads here of course. I don't mean to create yet another "Help me" thread, but I think my situation is a bit unique, so I want to clarify it in a separate thread and see if I could get direct results that way.

    Either way, I hope to make the right decision! I am glad of everyone's inputs here so far. It is most appreciated. I hope to return the favor!

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