Expat clubs catching on in China

Published:  3 Jul at 6 PM
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If your idea of expat clubs is a dingy conference room in a mid-priced hotel crammed with doddery old guys who’d rather be in the pub, you’d be wrong – at least in Beijing.

Admittedly, expatriates in China tend more towards adventure, entrepreneurship and the China experience itself, with expat organisations focusing on having fun rather than mimicking the dismal over-organised clubs in several southeast Asian destinations which seem to specialise in topics such as ‘ making your will’, ‘preparing for death’ and the best places for assisted living. The Beijing version is based on expat community life and is far more suited to the roller coaster ride that’s the initial Chinese experience than it is to the boredom of sedentary existence in this fascinating megalopolis.

The aim of the expat community groups in Beijing is to encourage everyone to explore and enjoy the city’s myriad options. A good example is the International Newcomers’ Network, a long-established volunteer organisation offering meet-ups, info sessions and get-togethers as well as being there on a personal basis for confused new arrivals who can’t speak Standard Chinese as yet. Its president Juli Bradley told local media one of its main advantages is its diversification, with its members hailing from Malaysia, the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Iran and many other world countries. All newcomers are welcome and their input is appreciated.

Right now, the group is looking for new faces to help with expanding its services to new arrivals as well as organising fun events. One vacant position is that of Trekkie coordinator, although it’s not necessary for applicants to have a vast knowledge of Beijing as it’s all about finding interesting, fun new places to explore and sharing your discoveries with others. Note-taking and efficiency is required for the volunteer position of secretary, and those good with figures could help by becoming the next treasurer. If you just love talking and listening, Coffee Morning co-ordinator is perfect for you!
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