The Nanfang / Blog


Another Brit leaves comfortable expat life in Shenzhen for UK’s depressed job market

Posted: 08/3/2012 7:00 am

Have you seen the scene in Independence Day when all the traffic is leaving Washington except for one car which is going the other way? That seemed to be a fitting metaphor for Alastair Dickie who left Shenzhen for his native UK last month, but as we told you last week, this may be turning into a trend.

An alumnus of the prestigious Manchester Grammar School, Dickie graduated from university just as the recession was starting to affect the job market. Now youth unemployment in the country is at its highest in decades. Coming to China was a way of getting some work experience without having to do one of the unpaid internships which are the gatekeepers to many of the best careers in the UK

After initially enjoying English teaching and getting a promotion, Dickie soon realised that China’s ESL industry was no place for the upwardly mobile. But there were other factors involved in his decision not to stay in China long-term.

An English Literature graduate, most of Al’s humour is langauge-based, so there were limits to how much he could connect with even the most linguistically-gifted locals. For that reason, he decided early on not to enter a relationship with a Chinese girl.

Moreover, as a musician who regularly performed with The Nanfang’s own Rue Moyer, Alastair often had to suppress his desire to play the music he wanted in order to please bar owners and patrons. Manchester has one of the world’s great music scenes, and he observed how far this city has to go to have a grassroots music scene of its own, the deciding factor his demand, he told The Nanfang.


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