A Kiwi Expat in China

Meet Michelle. A Kiwi expat in China.


Where have you been living as a Kiwi expat?

Anqing (a small city in China, well small in China terms)


What took you there, what do you do?

Like many, it was the desire to travel and venture out, which took me to China. I had no mortgage, or any major commitments to stop me from going, so thought why not. I wanted to experience a whole new culture and be immersed in a country completely different to New Zealand. I had a limited budget, and was interested in learning Mandarin Chinese. So with that, I did a TEFL course and decided to teach English in China where I was able to live, earn and travel.

Was it difficult to get a visa etc?

Not in my case, as the school who offered me the teaching job takes care of all that for you. I did have to do a very thorough medical exam however.

How do you find living overseas on your own – have you ever lived alone before?

I’m doing all this with my boyfriend, so it’s not so bad. We were lucky enough to both score jobs at the same school and be put up in an apartment together. It made the transition a lot easier.

Now, China!

Your favourite spots?

I’ve yet to see so many other places in China, but I did enjoy Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) and Shanghai.


What do you miss most about home?

My family and friends. The beautiful beaches, mountains and the clean fresh air!
Oh and NZ dairy products like yoghurt and cheese!

Worst thing about living there?

The pollution, lack of hygiene and cleanliness (eg. People spitting on the floor, and smoking anywhere and everywhere)

Best thing about living there?

The friendly locals, cheap and yummy food, fresh fruit and vege markets available daily. China is also a really diverse country; every city or province is different to one another (eg. language, food) making it a very interesting country to visit!


Must-do’s for first time visitors?

In Anqing, you should visit Linghu Park, walk along the Yangtze River, climb up the Yingjiang Temple, and try out the delicious local dishes; beef noodles with herbs and spices is a favourite of mine!


Best China-related story?

It had only been three weeks into living in China, and my Mandarin was still quite poor. I was trying to buy some tea in a teashop that would help with sleeping. I could say the word ‘tea’ in Chinese (cha), and I left the rest up to charades. So after doing my best sleeping impression, the man’s eyes lit up as if showing sudden realisation of what I was after. ‘Yuss’, I thought, bingo! He gestured me to follow him, and instead of leading me to the tea, he led me to a bed store. He thought we wanted to buy a bed! What a debacle! Haha it’s sure a memorable moment in China.

To read more about Michelle’s adventure in China, check out her blog, One Way Tik


  1. Haha – that bed story made me laugh out loud. Must be difficult living somewhere where you don’t speak the language well.

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