By Mathew Ward
When moving abroad it is important to build a sense of community around everyday life. To adjust to life abroad, foreigners in China come together around common interests and hobbies. In Tianjin, there are, naturally, communities that are formed across many different avenues. These avenues include playing and watching team sports, yoga, dinner clubs, skiing and snowboarding trips, hiking, poetry nights, sewing clubs, salsa dancing and billiards, just to name a few. Besides socializing, staying active can be very beneficial to any professional person’s well being. In addition having a few karaoke songs in your back-pocket ready to go will go a long way when socializing with locals.
Now let’s talk about getting around. Recently in Tianjin, renting public bikes and long boarding have emerged as alternative means to transport. Combine the bikes with reasonably priced taxis and an efficient public transportation system, and getting around becomes very easy. Tianjin is a flat city with spacious bike lanes – this means walking, cycling and long boarding is generally a breeze. The bottom line is staying active and commuting throughout the metropolitan area is easy. Once you’ve orientated yourself these factors make exploring fun and easy. When living in a new city, being adventurous can go a long way. Explore enough and you might find a few hidden gems.
So, you’re in a new city and you’re looking for something to compliment binge watching TV and running errands. There are quite a few communities in Tianjin for you to join. Sewing clubs, salsa dancing, yoga, poetry nights, and rock climbing. These are all effective ways to change things up and meet some new people that share similar interests. Of course, meeting people at events like these can lead to the creation of new social groups through networking and being proactive. All of this is made possible through Wechat, China’s most popular media platform.
Wechat makes it very easy to form chat rooms among friends, businesses and people with shared hobbies. Dinner clubs, table top board game groups and popular expat bars/restaurants use this platform to bring people together on a weekly basis. Wechat makes coordinating social events a seamless process. In addition to weekly events, holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, Christmas and major sporting events like the Super Bowl or the Champions League Final are well represented. One popular expat bar, TJ Tex Mex, even throws a Cinco de Mayo party with Mexican food and beverages. In Tianjin you can look forward to a multitude of events to contrast with their engaging professional development.
Finally, finding the right people and places will afford you the space for self-expression and stress relief that counteracts the regular work week. Within the expat community there are plenty of homes for your creative and physical energy. Take a chance and try something new or create a community for something that you’ve always felt passionate about. With the collective effort of like-minded people, some memorable moments can be forged. For me watching the English Premier League every weekend led to meeting some expats who have many interesting life experiences to share in between the chanting and celebrations.