3 August 2017

Federico Pérez Vítola - Expat in Shenzhen, China

Federico Pérez Vítola - Expat in Shenzhen, China

We’ve had the chance to talk to Federico Pérez Vítola, 30, a Spanish expat who has moved to China alone. Mr.Vítola who has been living there for over two years and a half, now works as a video game translator. 

Read more about his experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I was born in Argentina but I moved to Spain when I was little. I hold both nationalities.


Q: What made you move out of Spain?

A: I left Argentina because of my family business. I came to China because I needed new challenges.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: I am living in Shenzhen, in Guangdong province. This is the best city in China if you wish to work with new technologies.


Q: How long have you been living in China?

A: Over two years and a half.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I am living with my Chinese girlfriend, who I met after several months living in Shenzhen.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Yes, of course.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Great people, mostly. Shenzhen is a city made by migrants and everyone is very welcoming to foreigners.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in China? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: Shenzhen has a huge expat community that hangs out almost every day. The locals are a bit different, tho. They usually hang out with their workmates or colleagues.


Q: How does the cost of living in China compare to your home?

A: Shenzhen is twice or thrice more expensive than Alicante, my home town.

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: Around 5 dollars in Starbucks (one of the only choices you have).

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: Around 1.5 dollars.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: Around 15 dollars.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: I never buy wine nor cigarettes, sorry.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in China?

A: Get yourself a Chinese friend to come with you or it´ll take you 2 or 3 hours to set up a bank account.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: It has always been very smooth for me. I hold a work permit and residence permit and I have never had any problems with it. However, I am aware that laws are more strict now.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in China is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: No, actually it´s one of the things I trust the least about China. If something bad ever happens to me I will try to get cured in Spain. Make sure you get an insurance before coming (if your company does not do it for you, specially).


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in Spain or China?  What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: I currently have a Chinese private insurance. I believe it´s important to have a cover in case of an emergency.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to China? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: The first month in China is always amazing. Every time you get into the country after a long time it’s one of the best experiences ever. I moved in by myself since I can speak fluent Chinese.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Homesickness.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in China?

A: You get to challenge yourself every day, you get to learn new things and you become stronger in every sense. On the downside, you feel blue from time to time.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Doing outdoors exercise. Shenzhen has arguably the best weather in China.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Nope, not so far.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Try to learn Chinese. You don’t need to be bilingual to enjoy some extra freedom in the country.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about China?

A: I have my own blog about China, www.perezvitola.com.