East vs West

Cultural Differences: Lifestyle Differences – China vs The West

The Australian Lifestyle

On a recent return airplane trip to Australia to apply for a new Chinese visa, I was able to settle back into the Australian lifestyle quite quickly.

I secured a casual job, commuted to work by car, worked eight hours a day, and ran all my errands after work.

In Australia, I found work made me too tired.  I had no energy after work to do anything other than to come home and sleep early.  This is the Australian lifestyle, to work, come home, relax indoors to conserve energy, and sleep early for work the following day.

A day in Australia consists of one bulk activity broken up by long periods of travel.  An Australian will travel for an hour, work for eight hours, and travel for another hour to return home.

The Chinese Lifestyle

The Chinese lifestyle I enjoyed a few days prior was in stark contrast to the Australian lifestyle.

A day in China becomes a string of activities that give energy to each other.

In China, I was able to wake up in the afternoon, head to a coffee shop to work on my business, and then walk a few hundred meters to work as an English teacher for three hours.

Work as an English teacher in China is so brief that it feels like a lunch break.

Chinese people also love to have lunch dates with their friends or associates, so work feels less like work when broken up by play periods.

Then I would return outdoors, meet and be social with friends, and then around 10pm I would finally return home.

Once home I would continue to burn the midnight oil to work on my business.  Then around 4am I would contemplate sleep.

That is a completely different lifestyle.

Commute Times In Australia


Australia is also a large country with people and property sprawled across the land.  It is necessary to have your own transportation to be able to commute between work, and leisure.

In Australia, once you leave your villa or two-storey house, you have to drive 10 minutes to get somewhere.  Then you have to park the car, only to walk a long distance before you are finally able to purchase the item you need.

In Australia, nothing is close together.

In Australia you spend most of your day driving from place to place running small errands, and it takes a long time.

Lifestyle Convenience In A Compact China

The city planning in China is incredibly convenient.

In China, high-rise apartment blocks are built alongside one another.  Across the road are more high-rise apartments, each twenty storeys high housing hundreds of people.

That condensed residential area in China is already home to thousands of Chinese.

Chinese streets are designed for these kinds of dense populations.

When I step out of my apartment, I walk two minutes and am already in one of the busiest places on earth.

The supermarket, convenience store, grocery store, and the mall are all within ten steps to a few streets away from my high-rise apartment.

Then there are all small businesses scattered across the commercial district.  Every single shop that you can think of is aligned under these apartment buildings.

That is how Chinese society is structured.

The Cultural Differences In Lifestyle Between China And Australia

China is like a concrete playground.  You can walk around a major city for months and still discover new shops, new places, and new things.  There is always something to do.  Life is not static.

Australia is a more predictable lifestyle.  People work, people travel, and people sleep.  On the weekends Australian people play.

It took me a few long sleeps to recover from jetlag to realize the cultural differences between Australian and Chinese societies.

Are you looking for suitable English-Chinese language exchange partners in China and Abroad?

Guangzhou One Day Love Cartoon

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