Zhongshan City – My Experience Living in a Prefecture-Level City

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There are few things in life that are both as exciting and terrifying as moving to another country. Not only are you moving to a new place, but you are also opening yourself up to a culture that you are not familiar with. One of the things that makes the biggest difference during this transition process is where you live. When I applied to teach English in China, I was given the option of teaching in Shenzhen or Zhongshan, and I chose Zhongshan. While I am sure that Shenzhen is a great city to live in, I do not regret my decision to live in Zhongshan at all.

“Any time that I was feeling homesick, I could just take a walk in one of the parks and feel like I had a bit of home here in China.”

One of my favorite things about Zhongshan is that there are multiple reminders of home. One thing that I was happy to notice about Zhongshan when I first came to China was the abundance of parks in the surrounding area.

It might seem silly that parks are so important to me, but they had a big impact on my move. I had spent four years living in the mountains while I attended college back in America and I had grown accustomed to being surrounded by nature.

“Between the parks and Starbucks, there is plenty to make me feel like I am home.”

While I had plenty of access to the parks of Zhongshan, I also had access to a lot of malls. There are so many malls in Zhongshan that I could easily go to three different malls within the span of an afternoon. I have never needed to shop that much, but it is nice to have the option.

The best part is that many of these malls had stores and restaurants that I had back home. That meant that I did not have to give up Starbucks like I had feared.

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“The noise and the crowds were the two things that people warned me about the most when they heard that I was moving to Shenzhen. I was pleasantly surprised when my plans changed” 

One might wonder why I choose to stay in Zhongshan when I could easily move to Shenzhen. After all, Shenzhen has even more Starbucks stores. While it is true that Shenzhen has all of the things I listed above, it also has large and noisy crowds.

The noise and the crowds were the two things that people warned me about the most when they heard that I was moving to Shenzhen.

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“I can easily take a day trip to Shenzhen, along with other major cities, due to how close Zhongshan is to them.”

I was pleasantly surprised when my plans changed, and I found out that Zhongshan did not have those issues. There are some things that Shenzhen has that Zhongshan does not, but I have found that I do not really miss those things.

With that being said, I can easily take a day trip to Shenzhen, along with other major cities, due to how close Zhongshan is to them. It is not unusual for me to spend a weekend in Hong Kong or Guangzhou if I feel like shaking up my routine.

“Last February I took a pricey vacation to Japan, and it barely put a dent in the amount of money I had saved.”

Another thing that is so great about living in Zhongshan is that it is very easy to save money here. I do not even have to make sacrifices to save money. I eat out quite a bit, and the most expensive thing that I buy typically ends up being a Starbucks drink.

The fact that I can save money at all while I continue to fuel my caffeine addiction is mind-boggling. Moving to Zhongshan has allowed me to live more comfortably than I thought was even possible. I still have to put in the effort to use my money wisely, but that really is not that hard to do.

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“Zhongshan is a beautiful place that feels like home despite being on the other side of the world.”

In the end, I could not be happier with how things have turned out for me.  I have traveled and done more than I thought I ever would. The opportunities that I have here have opened up a new world of possibilities for me.

This adventure has been nothing less than a rollercoaster. There have been many ups and downs, but it has been the best ride of my life.

I can honestly say that I love living in Zhongshan.

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