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外派中国员工在异国的苦与乐  21英语网  佚名  2015-10-14    



Life as an expatriate can be challenging






Xue Rui, 24, an engineer for Jiangxi Jinko Solar Co Ltd, remembered that he cried when he sipped homemade soup.


“I’d been living in a hotel in Milan, Italy, for a week. I was sick of cold, tasteless omelet and bacon,” he explained, “So I was overjoyed when I cooked a warm meal in my rented place.”


Xue’s company supplies modules, cells and wafers for solar energy. It has business with distributors and the solar power station in Milan, Italy.


In February the company sent him to Italy for a year to help partners install equipment and to solve technical problems. It’s his first time living abroad.


Xue represents the growing number of young Chinese who benefit and suffer from working overseas. They are a group of expatriates who share similar living conditions.


As the Chinese economy booms and competition in the domestic market gets fiercer, more companies look overseas.


According to an industry report in July by, a leading employment website, opportunities to work overseas have increased.


Employees can boost their career prospects and experience different surroundings.


Xu Yiqiang, a brand manager of Shinco Electric Appliance Co Ltd in Jiangsu, said that the HRs often prefer to delegate staff under 30 to foreign projects.


“We target those who have a passion to work hard, can gain new knowledge and quickly integrate into local culture,” Xu said. “In the meantime, they don’t have problems at home.”


In April, Shinco advertised for two or three staff to work in Nigeria. They received more than 100 applications. According to Xu, salary is an important factor. “We offer an engineer 20,000 yuan per month in China, but 20,000 US dollars overseas - Young staff can make a fortune in two or three years,” Xu said.


For some, it may mean a path to quicker promotion or a pay rise. Yet the reality is far from rosy. Expat life often turns into a test of survival skills.


Unlike government agencies, companies’ overseas branches provide no arranged accommodation or catering. They also lack the ability to offer training, which helps employees to break down language and cultural barriers before they send them abroad.


Many employees have to fend for themselves. For instance, Xue said he never expected to face so many thorny issues involving his visa, tax, medical treatment and cultural taboos.


The difficulty for Xue was to rent an apartment, as local Italians were reluctant to lease their housing to foreigners.


“They’re worried we would use it to commit a crime, and could not keep it tidy,” Xue said.


Finally Xue found a cramped one-bedroom apartment downtown for 700 euros (6,027 yuan) per month. “It is extremely expensive, but at least I have a cozy bed,” he said.


The attraction of clean air wears off, and the higher salary is largely offset by the high living standards in foreign countries. Chinese salaries may only equal blue collar pay abroad.


Then loneliness strikes. For Zhang Haizhou, chief London correspondent of China Daily, one of the biggest challenges was to mix socially. “Some journalists look at us with fixed ideas and regard me as an outsider, ” said the 28-year-old who has worked in the UK for a year.


Xie Lin, 29, a product manager in Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, has worked in Germany for nine months. He agreed: “Foreigners separate work and life. They treat you well in the office, but never invite you to a family party.”


Zhang Haizhou engages with people well. “You go to bars, watch sports or go to the theater with people,” he said. “At first, you struggle for conversation, but soon you become friends.”







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