12 Types of Foreigners You’ll Definitely Meet in China
This is little article I started when I first came to China a year-and-a-half ago. I am a student at Renmin Univesrity of China hoping to stay in China after I graduate.
1. The China Expert
The China Expert has probably been teaching in China for over a year they’re able to use the local language at a basic level and they respect China generally. However The China Expert takes pride in their knowledge of China and they’re more than ready to indulge themselves by talking any China newbie half to death. When meeting a foreigner whom they consider to be new to the country The China expert seizes the opportunity to regale hapless onlookers with everything they have learnt about China to date. Although they are well meaning and they may have a few interesting things to say it’s difficult to discern though the barrage of information which anyone can easily acquire on the internet.
2. I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here
I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is a British TV show in which minor celebrities are shipped off to the Australian outback to face trails, these include eating many dubious things while being deprived of their home luxuries. Similarly some foreigners in China struggle to adapt to China’s diet and lifestyle. The “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”-type foreigner is always complaining about this that or the other. It could be that they’ve just had a recent string of bad luck however it’s the way the deal with each challenge which demonstrates their strength of character. If they’re constantly giving of negative vibes and are unwilling to eat a chicken foot, they’re best avoided.
3. The Neo-colonialist
The neo-colonialist is Europe or America and is ready to exploit the China’s fascination with Western culture. In fact, they believe their warm reception in the Middle Kingdom is a direct product of their home countries genuine superiority over all others. The Neo-Colonialist has few financial worries at home however China is their opportunity to spend money outside of the watchful eye of Mummy and Daddy, it is their money after all!
4. Mr Perfect
Mr Perfect has perfectly assimilated into China, they speak Chinese at an advanced level and has amassed a vast network of Chinese and non-Chinese friends. They’re good looking and charismatic, and generally enjoyed popularity in their home country too. Mr Perfect is always being invited to do things and is seen as a model foreigner by all the Chinese people they meet. Despite being in China Mr Perfect also maintains strong family relations and has a stable and romantic love life. Mr Perfect has made a great life for themselves in China and could have done so anywhere if they put their wonderful mind to it. We can all agree when say FUCK YOU MR PERFECT!
5. Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever is a love for Asian women which is borders on obsession. Yellow Fever is unlikely to have been a hit with the ladies in back home but they’re come to China in the hope they can turn that around. The vast population and racial homogeny of China means that anyone from the outside can have their own exotic allure. The Yellow Fever can be a bit of a creep and sees all other men a competition. In China, if you look hard enough, you’ll find what you’re looking for and generally the Yellow Fever will find a willing mate who by the same token is equally desperate.
6. The Long Distance
The Long Distance has girlfriend/ boyfriend that didn’t come to China with them. Each event they encounter during their time in China brings to the surface a deep longing for their significant other in a land faraway. Although their sentiment is sweet for others around them it’s very annoying to be constantly reminded of how totally alone you are no matter where you go!
7. The Survivalist
Much from the same ilk of I’m a Celebrity (get me out of here) and The Neo-Colonialist, the survivalist hasn’t assimilated well into the Chinese population. However the Survivalist endures though a complete denial that they are in fact in China. The Survivalist sustains themselves though a diet of mock western food and at every opportunity seeks to surround themselves with home comforts. The Survivalists is entitled to live which ever lifestyle they want however they might not be the best person with whom to travel and experience the local culture.
Bro is probably a North American who has no idea why they are in China however they’re super psyched about it. Like, for Bro, it’s just awesome to be someplace new where there’s like tons of new people to meet and besides; the beer in China is crazy cheap! Whatever’s going on, Bro is totally down for it. Seriously, Bro’s lifestyle in China is totally chilling and includes a bunch of habits which are healthy yet bordering on with sporting activity. Bro will can sense a Brit from a mile off and when they meet you it will be totally awesome. By the way did I mention, your accent is totally awesome, you and Bro should totally hangout sometime! But be careful after a few drinks Bro’s zeal could quickly turn to aggression…
9. The Comrade
Comrade is a willing to anything it takes to be more Chinese than even the great chairman himself. Unlike Bro who thrives on the contrast between China and their home-world. Comrade has totally forsaken their home planet and gone full throttle China! This foreigner shuns the companionship of anyone who is not Chinese and ultimately China is their welcoming sanctuary from a place which didn’t understand them. Condemning with full contempt the hypocrites of a hostile Western World. They treasure the details of Chinese history and may have an interest in the Chinese arts such as Kung Fu or calligraphy. You can learn a lot from a conversation with The Comrade but don’t get too attached this friendship was never meant to be.
10. The Papillion
Papillion (1973) is a film telling the story of a wrongly accused convict. Similarly, some people have shipped themselves off to China as penance for something which was ultimately an injustice to them in their home country. A bad job, break up or otherwise unfortunate substance was their inspiration to seek their fortune in China. However instead of finding success, they’ve found a comfortable yet stagnating life-style which isn’t going anywhere. Lingering in academic institutions or working in unchallenging conditions. Their days in China pass by like a prison sentence all blurring into one. Papillion think success in China will prove their innocence but deep down these people know they need to just go home and start where they left off the China life has them in the perfect golden cage.
11. The Star Gazer
Unlike the China Expert the Star Gazer consistently focuses on that they don’t know about China. The Star Gazer has dreamed about China for a long time and how only just arrived they are full of expectations about what China and be like and the see every opportunity as a chance to learn. It’s likely that the star gazer has worked hard to get here and want to make the most of their time here. The Star Gazer will try to teach other foreigners Chinese and will spark basic conversations whenever they get the chance. The Star Gazer would make the perfect travel companion however at some point you may need to correct them because although they mean well they can be a little naive.
12. Chinese People
The largest and most diverse types of foreigners in China are the Chinese themselves. For many Chinese people, it will be very surprising news to learn that though the perspective of every visitor to China the Chinese are foreigners too. Visitors to China find themselves surrounded by 1.4 billion Chinese foreigners going about their daily lives.
Let me know what you think of my list. If I have left any types of foreigners out of the list, please comment below! Also if there are any spelling mistakes please let me know so I can correct them thanks!
I view the majority of expats in China as "broken". This is said not as a bad thing, but rather as people who felt that they needed more from life than what their home country was offering. Perhaps they could not find the right job to fit their life. Maybe they could not deal with authority over their life. Sometimes expats are running from something in their past, be it debt, relationships, or other skeletons in their closet. Most expats are much more liberal in their life philosophies and moralities than those back home. Seldom do I find expats to be uber conservative in lives. Even more rare are the expats who are moderate or in the middle. In summary, most expats find it difficult to exist in their home country's environment because they just can't seem to find a comfortable fit in the society (for whatever the reason).
Even if the descriptions are quite funny, it seems to me that all of them are negative. Maybe the writer has never sympathized with any of the (apparently many) foreigners he has known. It has to be hard to go to China and discover that, whatever your attitude, feelings, weaknesses, reasons or curiosity level may be, the way you behave will be just wrong. Even the eagerness to learn about the Chinese and the Chinese culture, or the joy of knowing a new country, or trying to adapt to the new environment are depicted as bad, too much, not enough. Stereotypes can be positive too. Just tell me how to be a "normal", "acceptable" foreigner.
Honestly, this just comes off as a judgemental and is really describing a dozen different bad habits, 'worst of' characteristics and more importantly, many of these are not personified in anyone but are really 'phases'. In this case the negative phases for the most part. Many foreigners will, at some point, go through most of these phases somewhere to some degree. And then the other angle is that some of these are just personality traits of what could be nearly anyone anywhere but are not necessarily relative to China in any special way. 'Gung Ho Bro' is just a common extrovert personality type that is fairly common across every country and culture and particularly among young folks. Some of these are directly related to China but I'd strongly suggest they are really just negative (rather judgy snippy ones) but negative traits many will go through in various phases, some for a minute, others locking into them hardcore but others will also pass through them with mitigating positive traits and so on. Not go go off on a rant but I find these beloved 'Types of Expats' things less true every year. Oh, I know there are some who are those categories. I met a China-Know-It-All recently who was almost a 'cartoon character' of the stereotype BUT more and more I have been meeting what I'd call normal or non-specific types. They are are self-aware, they have a sense of humor, they have all kinds of various reasons or purposes and I'd dare say that is now the most common 'type' aka the 'non-type'. Which I happen to enjoy.
All comments are subject to moderation by eChinacities.com staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate. Please use the Classifieds to advertise your business and unrelated posts made merely to advertise a company or service will be deleted.
Up to 500 words allowed. Words remaining: 500
New to eChinacities? Sign up