Do you like big, loud, crowded cities? If so, you’ve got plenty of options when choosing an Asian city to live in. Of course, size and intensity aren’t the only things you’ll want to consider when choosing a new home. Many people find it unbearable to live in a city that lacks a large, active expat community. Others–and they are an interesting bunch–feel that the presence of other foreigners ruins their experience. Whatever your opinion, you’ll want to consider the local expat community before packing your bags and jumping on a plane.
How adventurous are you? Some places, like Hong Kong, offer up lifestyles that, fundamentally, aren’t much different than the ones you’d get back home. Most services are available in English. You’ve got international banks, hospitals and schools, and you could spend a lifetime there, if you so desired, without ever eating a Chinese meal. Other, more out of the way places, don’t serve up such services, which means you’ll have to learn to fend for yourself. Some people love the experience—some hate it. So, before you make a final decision about where to hang your hat, consider how much of an adventure you are really up for.
Are you independently wealthy? Probably not, which means you’ll have to consider the job market. For some people, having an important and successful career is of the utmost importance. Others are aiming to create a simple, happy, stress-free existence. If you’re looking to climb the corporate ladder, your options will be limited. Start by researching what’s available in the biggest cities, like Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo, etc. If you’re willing to work for local companies, and for local wages, you’ve got tons of options, and you can base your decision on other factors. Start your search by checking out some of the big ESL teaching websites, like eslcafe.com, or choose a few cities you think you’d like to live in and search locally. Or, if you’ve got some cash saved up, hit the backpacker trails through Southeast Asia. It’s cheap. It’s fun. And when you find a place you like, you can just unload your pack and start looking for a job!
What do you look for in an Asian city? Tell us in the comments section below!