They negotiate.

A few people love negotiating, but most love to hate it. Successful China expats know when to bargain and how much they can bargain. They also know how to balance saving the face of the shop owner while at the same time getting a great deal.

They learn to let it go.

Did someone just elbow you on the subway? Did you spend 2 hours at the bank trying to do a simple international wire transfer? Did something break in your apartment for the 30th time? Did you spend 15 minutes trying to get someone to understand a simple sentence you were trying to say in Chinese? Did the taxi driver misunderstand you and take you to the other side of town? Did your bike get stolen again? Are you having visa problems? No matter what the issue is, a successful expat in China learns to just let it go. They don’t complain about the annoyances of life and sometimes are even able to find some humor in whatever the situation may be.

They don’t give up.

After dealing with all the frustrations and difficulties of living in a foreign country, many expats give up quite early and go home. However, successful China expats who have learned to let minor annoyances go are able to see the good in every situation. Staying positive is essential to lasting for more than two years in China.

They are respectful.

Expats are guests in China and as a guest you should be respectful to your host. Successful China expats follow local customs and laws and don’t generalize that all Chinese are a certain way. They try to improve the lives of those around them as well as the environment. They contribute and help to fix problems instead of simply comparing and complaining about how things were better back home.

They try to learn.

Living in China can be exhausting. However, successful China expats do two things very well. They try and they learn. They take the time to learn the language, learn local customs, learn Chinese history, learn Chinese hobbies, learn Chinese politics, learn how to make Chinese food, and learn the difficulties that Chinese people face. The best way to learn all of these things is by making many Chinese friends and asking questions.

Successful China expats may also follow the advice of the lyrics from a (slightly altered) old song, “Count your China blessings, name them one by one.”