We are moving to China this summer. All three of us — two grown-ups (professors) and our kiddo, who will turn six soon after we arrive.
I don’t think we will be typical expats. It’s been a long time since we graduated from college, so we’re not traveling the world as young English teachers. We are not being moved there by our company. As a family, we haven’t lived out of the country before. But circumstances conspired to force a choice of what to do, and we decided, after much discussion, to take the opportunity to have an adventure as a family. We are lucky enough to have been offered the chance to move to Suzhou and teach architecture there to Chinese students (in English, which is a good thing, since we don’t speak Mandarin). So now we are working on our visas, viciously editing our possessions down to what will fit in our suitcases (and our storage locker), and getting our minds around this big move.
We don’t know how long we will be there. It could be for the rest of our lives, it could just be for a year or two. We think that schools in the U.S. will be interested in faculty with China experience if and when we decide to move on. Meanwhile, kiddo, whose favorite food is steamed dumplings, says that after three years, it will be enough dumplings.