Can you live in China without speaking Chinese?


It is possible to live in China and not speak the native language. Learning a few key phrases is a good idea when going to live in a new country. Learning common phrases like please or thank you can go a long way in everyday life abroad.

Many years of English taught to the Chinese in school doesn’t mean they will grasp speaking it to you easily. Making an effort to learn some Chinese will help you to integrate better in China culture.

Daily life in China

living in china

Food ordering

Most Chinese restaurants in China have a picture menus so ordering food becomes pretty easy with just one phrase this one with a hand gesture to help. Pointing can seem rude without key small phrases like; “this one please”.


Travel in China is very fascinating and rewarding but can also be very overwhelming. The region is quite large and most people you encounter won’t speak English regularly. To avoid large culture shocks try and learn their language slowly but surely.

Learning Chinese

China is becoming more open to westerns and they are slowly catching up on the international stage when it comes to world travellers. Private schools offer Mandarin lessons to students and teachers who choose to study abroad, mostly in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Learning the language at a smaller school can be another option, rather than studying at a Chinese university, giving you the chance to socialize with other international students of all ages, and participate in cultural events and activities.

If you’re new to the language, try to practice at least eight hours a week of study time to the language; this will increase your confidence when conversing with others abroad. After a month or so you’ll already start finding your Chinese skills useful in the culture. The more you c speak Chinese out in public with real people, the less time you’ll need in the classroom.

Learning the language is difficult but despite this many international students are signing up to learn. Foreign students are signing up to speak and learn Chinese; and student enrollment increases by the day. One of the most common activities within the university culture is language study, namely Chinese students who want to improve their English skills provide free classes to foreign students who enrolled to learn Mandarin.

China is a large region and there is an infinite number of ways to travel without knowing the entire language. Be aware that local dialects and accents can vary dramatically, and most people, particularly older citizens, speak their provincial dialect as a first language and Mandarin Chinese as a second language. Learning Chinese in Beijing is a safe bet, as that’s where standard Mandarin was originated.

It is possible to live in china even if you do not speak Chinese but it is a lot easier if you do speak Chinese. It is highly recommended that you learn some basic phrases. This will make your life in China a lot easier.  It also good if you learn the Chinese numbers. There are apps that can help you translate Chinese.  These apps can make your life easier but I still recommend that you take a Chinese course and try to learn some Chinese. It helps and the Chinese will appreciate your effort.