Finding Your Niche


by Monique Ting - HCE Mentor

How do you find your nook, your place, your little cluster of fun friends to nestle and destress with when the kids are getting to you and you don’t understand your host family, and the entire city of Shenzhen feels too massive?

Finding your niche in a new place is not always the easiest thing to do at first, but it’s important because it helps you feel more connected to your new environment and feel more comfortable and at home. It also keeps you sane, because no matter how comfortable you are with yourself, you will eventually get tired of your own voice and your own thoughts. You’ll want to hear English spoken to you and engage with intelligent adults that speak above a 5th grade level.

But how do I meet new people? The best way to do this in my opinion is to take your hobbies and passions and make them social activities—take classes, join teams, sign up for clubs, and just go outside.

But how do I meet new people? Where do expatriates hang out? Or do I want to hang out with local people? How do I find these people? The best way to do this in my opinion is to take your hobbies and passions and make them social activities—take classes, join teams, sign up for clubs, and just go outside.

Shenzhen is full of sports teams, both local and foreign, and the nature of “teams” themselves helps to quickly build and foster great and lasting friendships. There’s Gaelic football, and rugby, and American football. Then there’s also soccer and basketball, tennis, and badminton. There are running clubs, and yoga classes, and tai chi, and there’s ballroom dance. Like any other large city, Shenzhen has a lot to offer if you know where to look and what you’re looking for.

Bars are also a great place to meet new people, although not every one likes the bar scene. But sometimes you hear the best stories talking to strangers.

The expatriate community in Shenzhen is really great. They’re fun and inclusive and it’s pretty intimate group of people, despite such a large city. At some point you will discover that knowing one group means you know people from mostly all the groups. And they’re people, just like you, who just enjoy a good time.

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