14 September 2016

Jeremy Carman - Expat in Tianjin, China

Jeremy Carman - Expat in Tianjin, China

We’ve had the chance to talk to Jeremy Carman, 35, an American expat who has moved to China with his family. Mr. Carman who has been living there for eight years, now works in education management.

Read more about his experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Chicago area of the United States.


Q: What made you move out of the USA?

A: Overseas Internship.


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

A: Tianjin, China. I’m working on the website we created, havingababyinchina.com.


Q: How long have you been living in China?

A: Eight years.


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

A: Family. They have adjusted nicely. 3 of 4 children were born in China.


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

A: We do miss home, but we’re very excited to be living in China. We are able to connect quite frequently to family and friends via various texting and video conferencing technologies.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Tianjin people are great. We find they’re much more laid back compared to Beijing.


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: At times we have found it difficult to connect with locals and other foreigners. However, we seem to have found joy in the constantly changing nature of saying goodbye and making new friends.


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

A: Much cheaper in China.

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: 8-10 RMB compared to $1-3

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

A: 15 RMB compared to $7.00

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

A: 100 RMB compared to $50

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

A: Not really sure. Don’t really drink wine and definitely, don’t smoke.


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

A: Go with a Chinese friend, get direct deposit and make sure you open it up to use with online purchasing via WeChat or AliPay


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

A: Fairly simple. We have a team of amazing people who deal with it.


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

A: Healthcare is scary… not so much because of their practices (though there is room for discussion on this as well), but because of the foreignness of going to a Chinese hospital. From lack of appointments to waiting in line, to lack of privacy to speaking to different levels of doctors to taking care of your own patient history, it’s can be quite intimidating. That’s why we created havingababyinchina.com. To help navigate through it all.


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

A: Yes, we have health coverage here. I would certainly recommend evacuation insurance, and if you’re going to be visiting “Western-style” hospitals, you’ll need something to help pay the way.


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: We did it ourselves. It was a long process. We ended up paying for extra baggage, which ending up being cheaper than trying to mail a package.


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

A: Having a baby.


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

A: Positive - Awesome adventure, learning Chinese, opening your world view, meeting new people.

Negative – Pollution – short and long term.


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

A: We have enjoyed the malls. There are tons of authentic Korean restaurants. Indoor play areas for the kids.


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

A: Not at this time.


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

A: Find a community.


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

A: Having A Baby In China; The Culture Blend