China, Land of Opportunity for Downtrodden Americans

The way we live now: moving to China, where there are paying jobs, especially for people with "initiative" and English language skills! Even better, you don't have to know the language, so forget Rosetta Stone and just go man!

The New York Times' Hannah Seligson spoke to a few U.S. citizens who've moved to China seeking a better life, one of which was Sarabeth Berman, a recent Barnard graduate with a degree in Urban Studies. Berman moved to China at 23 not even knowing the damn language and now she's running a Beijing-based modern dance company, managing their worldwide tours and organizing the annual Beijing Dance Festival that they host! Wtf?! Oh, and she learned to speak Mandarin along the way, which probably helps, and her boss seems to like and respect her, which is always nice.

Willy Tsao, the artistic director of BeijingDance/LDTX, said he had hired Ms. Berman because of her ability to make connections beyond China. "I needed someone who was capable of communicating with the Western world."

Another dynamic in the hiring process, Mr. Tsao says, is that Westerners can often bring skills that are harder to find among the Chinese.

"Sarabeth is always taking initiative and thinking what we can do," he said, "while I think the more standard Chinese approach is to take orders." He says the difference is rooted in the educational system. "In Chinese schools students are encouraged to be quiet and less outspoken; it fosters a culture of listening more than initiating."

Wait, what? A young American (A freakin' Millennial!) who takes initiative? Who the hell is this Sarabeth Berman lady? She must come from a Canadian pod or something.

As for what she thinks she'd be doing if she'd remained in the U.S., Berman said this:

"There is no doubt that China is an awesome place to jump-start your career. Back in the U.S., I would be intern No. 3 at some company or selling tickets at Lincoln Center."

Yep, that certainly sounds about right.

Now, Seligson's piece makes no mention of the downside of moving to China, like possibly waking up one day kidney-less in a bathtub filled with ice, but whatever, even that beats interning for some random asshole, no?

Pic via Sarabeth Berman's Facebook