Today we feature the capital city! We asked Jacob about why he loved living in Beijing, and this is what he had to say:
One of the qualities I appreciate most about Beijing is the combination of Chinese and international activities and pursuits it offers. Depending on one’s inclinations, in Beijing one can choose either to live the expat lifestyle, “go native” as it were, or a combination of the two. There is an idiom in Chinese I feel is an apt description of life in Beijing—中西合璧—that is, “a harmonious combination of Chinese and Western elements.”
As the age-old capital of the nation that comprises nearly a sixth of the world’s population, it could be argued that aspiring world citizens and travelers ought to get a sense of what makes this city tick. Additionally, if one is only going to visit one Chinese city, Beijing could make a claim for being fairly representative of the current Chinese zeitgeist. If nothing else, the city is full of super-friendly people and unforgettable food.
One of the things that can make the biggest difference upon initial arrival in China is being accompanied by a bilingual friend—preferably a Chinese native who knows the ins and outs of the city well. One’s first visit to a large Chinese city can be a bit overwhelming, and it helps to ease oneself into the rhythm of life there. A major example of this is the importance of buying a card for the transport system and getting used overall to travelling through the city.