While growing up in India, particularly during my graduation course, we were constantly talking about the only other economy in the world that was growing faster than India – China. China had always fascinated me and I wanted more than anything else to get a first hand experience of working and living in China. So when given the opportunity, I was more than happy to come here with an open mind and soak in the different culture and experience.
I have been here for more than a year now and this country doesn’t cease to fascinate and amaze me. I have traveled to more than fifteen cities in China and have loved the scenic beauty, different cultures region wise, and most importantly the people – they are so nice, helpful, welcoming that I feel at home here. Traveling; both intra city and inter city is very convenient with excellent infrastructure in place. The public transport system in Shanghai is very efficient and I use the subway and buses frequently.
Work wise, it has been a great learning curve – the work environment here is extremely positive and buzzing with energy. Also it’s a very multicultural environment with a lot of respect for each other. I am learning the language and have fallen in love with it – though my Chinese is not very good – wo de zhongwen bu tai hao; wo hai zai xuexi. But whatever little of the language I can manage helps create a good bonding with the locals; specially the shopkeepers, taxi drivers, etc. Another difference for me was experiencing four different seasons and I must say I quite enjoyed it.
I have become an unofficial ambassador of China in India and vice versa. Most people in India are surprised and some even shocked to know I work in China and have a barrage of questions. Its amazing how in spite of being neighbors we know so little about each other. It was also a bit surprising for me initially to see how there are more than 30 Indian restaurants in Shanghai (I didn’t expect so many Indian restaurants here) and one can also get all Indian groceries here. But as I got to know Shanghai more, I realized how international and cosmopolitan the city is – It’s a true melting pot of different cultures.
Having said all these; the question which most people ask me is if I would like to stay longer in China – and my answer is “of course – wo hen xihuan zhongguo”!!