Today I am going to tell my story. A story that is common to many people that have left the “comfort” of their home country to go work in China, with the aim of using this opportunity to train and improve “like a pro” .
When you go and work in China as a foreigner, you will have to surpass many obstacles, especially in mainland. It goes from visa procedures to employment permit, renting the right apartment, paying taxes, everyday little struggles etc. But some other things are also easier to deal with than in the west
However, even if your Chinese is fluent, things won’t always be easy. But definitely easier than if you don’t speak a word of Chinese.
Thanks to my 10+ years of experience working and training in China and Taiwan, and to other training experiences I had there, I wanted to share with you the best solutions, so that you don’t go there unprepared !
Before going further, let’s take one option out right now : Working a day job and training like a pro.
This won’t happen.
When I say “day job”， I mean management-level job. Not teaching English or being a waiter in a western restaurant.
Being a teacher or a waiter is an option that can help earning some extra money when you can’t live on your savings anymore, but first you won’t have time to train like a pro, and it will just be very difficult to pay for daily training with a pro level team or teacher for a simple reason : Training in China is not cheap anymore.
With a management level job in a Chinese or western company, you should earn enough money to enjoy quality trainings AND life.
BUT, forget about free time. Being a manager, you won’t leave the office at 6pm sharp everyday, and you probably will have to travel a lot. At best you’ll be able to train on some evenings and weekends… But, is it really what you want? To train some evenings and weekends? Which is probably already the way you train in your home country?
Having been there myself, it is very fun at the beginning : You enjoy a good life in China, are able to train there, and being amazed by pro athletes’ level. It’s very cool in a way, especially for your friends staying in the west. But soon you’ll figure that, you are not improving as much as if you were really training all day every day for a month or two.
With that in mind, let’s have a look at the best options :
#3: Save Money and Study in a University
That is a great option for learning Chinese AND “easily” getting a 6 months to 1 year Chinese Visa. If you are really devoted to improve your Wushu, I will never repeat enough that at some point you must learn Chinese.
Also the language courses for foreigners are usually only a few hours per day. Therefore, you should have time to train when not learning in the university.
BUT universities cost extra money that you won’t spend on training. Also they might be located in places far from your training place, and finally, again you won’t be training 2 times a day, every day.
#2: Save Lots of Money and Go Train Like a Pro
This is what everyone dreams of. But it costs a lot of money. So you will have to work and save a lot while in your home country. But you can do it. I believe that when it comes to reaching one’s dream, people are capable of anything. If they can’t, then maybe it’s the wrong dream.
Good news is everything in China is negotiable at a certain point. The longer you stay, the more they see that you are serious with your training, and the more you will be able to negotiate and / or get extra trainings.
Review average training costs in China from our last article : Costs of Training in China.
#1: Save Money, Go for Holidays
From my personal experience, and seeing friends choosing this option, I truly believe it’s the best one.
If you plan on following this option, please consider going for more than 2 weeks. Of course, going to train in China for 2 weeks is fine, but definitely not enough if you want to really improve, and work on what you learned when you’ll be back home.
So plan on a minimum of 1 month, up to 2 months if that’s possible. Or go twice a year for 1 month.
With that said, save money, train everyday with your coach back home, then if you got 1 month holiday in summer for example, go and train like a pro.
When you’ll be back, you’ll feel depressed by the fact that you are back to your usual training in your home country. It is possible to avoid that by modifying your trainings home, using everything you learnt in China! So take notes, film, draw etc, while you’re training in China. Don’t spend your time in night clubs and bars but train diligently. Since you saved all that money to improve, you will be improving very fast.
Do that every year, and trust me, if you do things well, your level will increase like never before. Good luck !