Catalans Abroad

When CHINA chooses you

THE best thing about living in China iS that i can afford certain privileges i can’t back home,LIKE AMAZING HOLIDAYS IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA, GETTING WEEKLY MASSAGES OR NOT HAVING A CAR AND USING TAXIS EVERYWHERE.

Why did you leave Catalonia?

I left Catalonia to study abroad a long time ago. I am still abroad because of better job opportunities.

Why did you choose Beijing, in China?

China chose me. In my job as an International School Teacher, jobs around the world are offered to candidates and a match has to happen. I chose China because it is an emerging country in international teaching, and schools are in demand. The pay and benefits are great and the cost of living is low.

How long have you lived there?

I have lived in Beijing for six months, in China for four and a half years, away from Catalonia for 15 years.

Are you happy with the job opportunities you found in your adoptive country?

I am very happy with the job opportunities here. I studied philology at the University of Barcelona and I did a Masters in Acquisition of Second Languages in Massachussets, in the US. I saw that better job opportunities where waiting for me away from Catalonia and I worked as a teacher in many countries before coming to China, such as United States, Venezuela, Brasil and Japan.

What do you think is the best thing about living in China?

The best thing about living in China is that I can afford certain privileges I can’t back home, like amazing holidays in South-east Asia, getting weekly massages or not having a car and using taxis everywhere. Another interesting thing is that everything here is payed with your personal phone. We use a system called WeChat and we don’t carry cash. Even people who beg money in the streets (not so many people) use that modern system.

What do you consider the highlights for any brief visit for the first time?

A highlight for a first time tourists is visiting the Forbidden City.

And if visitors have more time or make a return visit?

If they have more time, then experiencing the authentic, local Chinese food and personal care for a day at a spa maybe. If they have even more days, they can go to Ikea. It’s something amazing here. Chinese people go there to rest, they take off their shoes and get into beds and fall asleep. It’s really true!

What do you miss most from home?

I miss the food and Celebrations: Castanyada, Caga-tió or the Calçotada.

Do you plan to go back to Catalonia?

I plan to go back to Catalonia only for holidays. It is the best time anyway! At least until I am in my late 50’s and my children are in school. They could never adapt to the Catalan system now.

Laura Esteban Trave

Laura is from Les Corts, Barcelona. She has been living in Beijing for six months and works as an English International School Teacher.


Can you recommend a place to have lunch with friends?

Best place to eat with friends is a Hot Pot restaurant. Hot is a typical food like a fondue, but with vegetables, raw meat and raw fish. They put the food in a cooking pot and wait until it boils. When it’s ready, they take their food and they put it in sauce and eat it.

Where would you have a special dinner for two?

Dinner for two at a dumpling restaurant.

When is the best time of year to plan a visit?

I have been told the best time of the year is spring, with the cherry blossom. I have not experienced it here yet.

What is the best kept secret about the area?

Best kept secret is to find your own way to the Great Wall by public transport instead of hiring a ride. The journey in itself is an adventure.

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