Hi Newbe. I think it's good that you're open minded about your search. Please don't take my subsequent, dramaturgical breakdown in a negative manner. I just want to offer my opinion on some points that, but virtue of you not being in China, you may be looking at the country from a well intentioned, upbeat perspective, without the sixth sense you'll develop about the country once you're on the ground.
I'd like to preface that I truly believe that there are relatively few books, movies and television programs in the west that have portrayed China in accurate terms when viewed through a foreign lens. Either they've got a propagandist agenda that is out to glorify or mystify the place, or they are armchair observations from people who spent a few weeks or months here. This is often complicated by the rapidly changing landscape here. As a foreigner, the China you'll observe on the ground is not the one you imagined.
lol Well it is not a hellbent want to work in Changchun, I mean the downside is I will not get away form the same type winters I have now.
I'm not sure where you are geographically, but I'll assume that the temperatures in Changchun will be the same as from where you are currently living, but there are things I feel confident in assuming that your current location does not experience that you will definitely experience in Changchun (with slight variables of severity).
Does your city have water rationing? Parts of Changchun still do this. A day here, a day there, or depending on the district you end up living in: most of the week. There likelihood of your employer not knowing where or possibly deliberately not informing you that your future domicile may fall into one of those areas where water rationing is a common occurrence. For the areas of Changchun still affected by this: it is year-round, too.
Water outages that have an effect on nearly everyone living in Changhun: during the month of October there are rolling water shut offs throughout the city. This happens all over the city. Every district and neighborhood experiences this. It's usually announced in the local newspapers, but your employer may not remember or simply care enough to inform you of this so you can make the proper preparations. At this time, water is shut off in different ways. Some areas will turn it off for all but a few hours per day as the municipal waterworks does what they have to do in order to insure the heating and hot water services for its citizens are ready for the long, brutal winter. Some neighborhoods shut off the water for several days. being in the dark about this is not only inconvenient, but it's made worse by the fact that there will be serious runs on potable water from the nearby shops. They do their best to keep up, but some shops jack up the water pricing at this time because it's a goldmine. Many Chinese are
unscrupulous, greedy and unethical
business savvy like that. Not all will, but I witnessed a few that did.
Then there's the matter of municipal ice melting, road salting, plowing, etc.
Forget about that. Changchun has road crews, but the city merely has street cleaners out there with awkwardly fashioned planks nailed to recycled wood. These things resemble what a child would put together as a facsimile of a shovel when playing "pretend." It is an inefficient way to clear snow, never thoroughly removes the problem where large sheets of potentially deadly ice consume walkways and roads.
Indoor heating is abundant in Changchun, but you have little to no control over when it can be turned on, nor off. Not every apartment had adequate standards of heating. Some friends had to bundle up and run numerous inefficient space heaters to make it through the winter, despite having "indoor heating." Chinese space heaters suck. Some of us were lucky: our air conditioners doubled as electric heaters and they made a difference.
Changchun's public transit is generally overtaxed as it is. Wall to wall people stuffed into a bus, the trolley, and the elevated train in a fashion you cannot truly comprehend until you see it. There's nary room to lift your hand to scratch your nose. Everybody's miserable. Rather than double up on the routes with additional buses and drivers: the city proceeds as usual, despite the doubled demand. Understandably, nobody wants to trek in the cold. That "smaller population" all of the sudden becomes mighty large. Taxis that were very easy to flag down every other point in the year suddenly become difficult to hire and very picky about where they take you. Don't expect them to sympathize as you freeze in the elements.
But upside is that It is a smaller population than some others, it is not in the heart of quake activity, and doesn't seem to have any of the shooting stories in that area.
Huh? SHOOTINGS? I have no idea what you mean by that, but gun related violence is relatively rare in China. Locals do not have the privilege to carry firearms. Could you elaborate?
Earthquakes: there were reports that parts of Changchun experienced tremors last year when nearby North Korea (8 hours by land) conducted underground nuclear testing. I have my doubts about anyone in the city proper feeling much of anything, though.
Smaller populations in China = hick towns. Really. Changchun isn't exactly a hick town (despite the abundance of mule-driven carts all over the city), nor is it the worst of provincial Chinese life (totally unilke any preconceived notion a western may have about provincialism. Chinese provincialism is truly western level hick with the added bonus
of being firmly entrenched in Maoist era commie corruption and utterly lacking anything to do, let alone many localized creature comforts), but be careful of assuming that "smaller" equals better quality of life in China. Smaller cities are usually the most polluted, underdeveloped, backwards, corrupt, inconvenient hell holes you could imagine. Unless a person is charmed by, "aw, these poor people are sooooooo cute in their abject poverty and underdevelopment"
faux liberalism, smaller isn't always better in China. Nor is necessarily safer or convenient to get into or out of.
I am new to this concept, and this Sino-A school has been very accommodating and kind to me in regards to the things I have been looking for.
That's great. Hopefully they are sincere. In China it is not uncommon to be given lip service and find that a school won't accommodate you beyond the barest minimum of token SAFEA guidelines. Changchun's foreign affairs police are not known for being particularly ethical, even by local standards. If you want to know more about that you can reach me through private message. Because of privacy concerns, I don't feel comfortable discussing the specifics of this matter in a public forum. As a disclaimer: they are not related to the school you're talking about, but the FAP is the FAP.
Newbe, you have a healthy perspective when it comes to being open to other's comments. Take them all in and formulate your own ideas. The more opinions you have the more you can develop some perspective, though nothing will compare to your own on-the-ground experiences once you arrive. Th reality is that no matter how much we write, and no matter how well we articulate the minutia, it can't completely sink in until you're on the ground here. I'm unsure if that makes sense, but I think you'll know of what I mean once you're here. Good luck with your hunt! Be vigilant and you'll likely find what you're looking for.