How to get connected in Qingdao│Hey Folks! If you went looking for this blog post, that means you are either moving to Qingdao, considering moving here, OR you have already arrived and you are looking for ways to get connected in this city. First off, let me say: Well done on picking Qingdao! This is one of the greatest cities in China. In fact, Qingdao was voted “Most Livable City in China” again this year!
Moving to a new city – and even more so, a new country – can be a daunting step for many. We are always surprised how many people find this little blog of ours and email asking us questions. For that reason, we thought that we would provide a little guidance in these areas. If you want to know more about any of these groups, playgroups or gatherings, please feel free to contact us! We have a Facebook page where you can message us privately. Or you can simply add a comment at the end of this post, and we will get back to you as soon as possible!
Here are a number of things you can do to easily get connected and plugged in to the expat community which already exists in Qingdao. Although there are thousands of foreigners in this city, none of these groups are restricted to only expats. So whoever you are, and whoever you are from, please feel free to get involved with these groups!
Yahoo QINGDAO MAMAS Group:
This is not so much “a group” but rather a gathering of information, advice, questions, sale of goods, via email announcements. You will need to be a member of the Yahoo group in order to post a question, or ask for advice, but contact us if you want to know more and we can help you along. This is a great place to ask for guidance on where to say, where to buy foreign foods, what school to choose for your kids, and really ANYTHING ELSE you need/ want to know! The Expat community here is wonderful, and they are always ready and willing to help!
Join here: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/qingdaomamas/info
Qingdao Mama Lunch: Once we month, usually on a Tuesday, there is a Qingdao Mama Lunch. This lunch meeting is announced via email to those in the Qingdao Mama Yahoo group. A link is sent out, and you can RSVP for the lunch. Anyone is welcome but usually it is mostly moms and a few children. The lunches are usually located at one of the international hotels or a nice local restaurant. The group leaders organize a good deal, so we usually have a quality buffet lunch for about 100rmb ($14).
WE CHAT Groups:
If you are moving to Qingdao from another country, then there is a good chance that you don’t have the “WE CHAT” app yet. Listen closely, EVERYONE uses We Chat here. If you don’t have We Chat, you won’t easily make connections in Qingdao. Go ahead and download the app now. You can do that HERE. Seriously, we can’t stress this enough… You NEED We Chat if you are moving to any part of China!
Once you have have WE CHAT, and you have joined the Yahoo Qingdao Mama group. Feel free to send out an email, with your We Chat name included, saying that you are new to Qingdao and you want to make some friends. This is totally normal and acceptable here, and I guarantee that a few people will add you and begin chatting to you!
For those looking to join a church or even a small group, there are a few options for that here in Qingdao. There is a large International Fellowship that meets every Sunday morning for a message and worship. They meet downtown at The Crowne Plaza. In order to attend you have to hold an international passport (ie. not a Chinese one). You may have to show that passport as you enter fellowship, but as soon as they start recognizing you, they won’t ask to see your passport anymore.
If you like the sound of a smaller group, you can contact us for more details on that. There are moms that meet during the day, men that meet at night, and family groups that meet once a week. We are sure that you will find a form of fellowship that works for you and your family.
Please note: Even if you did not attend church in your home country, you might find that this is the perfect time to start. Not only are these very caring and inviting groups of people, but they really are a good way to find support and friendship. No matter what you believe, or don’t believe, a group like this might just be a good connecting point for you!
PLAYTIME: On Monday and Thursday mornings there are weekly playgroups at the ISQ Bright Start from 9.30-11am. This is a playgroup for Expat Parents and little ones (best for 1 to 3 year olds). It is a time to make a craft together, sing together, play together and make new friends! PLAYTIME is offered twice a week but we ask you to choose one of these days to come. They run the same schedule both days, but they ask that only one parent per child to attend, otherwise things can get a bit crowded! This is a wonderful time to bond with other moms and little ones.
Wednesday Rotating Playgroup: Every Wednesday a group of moms take turns hosting a playgroup in their homes. This is a great opportunity to spend personal time in each others homes, and to show love to those visiting. If you’d like to be added to this We Chat group, please drop us a message!
Qingdao Hash House Harriers: Most international cities in the world have their own version of “Hash House Harriers”. This group is also known as the “Drinkers with a running problem”. Hashing originated in December 1938 in Kuala Lumpur, when a group of British colonial officers and expatriates began meeting on Monday evenings to run, in a fashion patterned after the traditional British game of “Hare and Hounds” or paper chase, to rid themselves of the excesses of the previous weekend. If gathering with a group of friendly people to jog along a pre-set path, stopping for beers along the way, sounds like an interesting activity to you, check out their Facebook page here: Qingdao HHH.
IMPORTANT: Don’t let the “jogging” aspect put you off! There are many walkers in this group too. You don’t have to have any specific level of fitness to join. Just a willingness to hang out and meet new people while taking part in jogging/ walking as a group. No strollers or young children allowed – for safety, and other obvious reasons!
EXPAT COFFEE MORNING:
Looking for a relaxing environment in which you can grab a coffee and get to know some new people?
This might be just what you are looking for!
Every Wednesday there is a regular Expat Coffee Morning. If you are free in the mornings, and you want to meet some friendly faces, head to Maan Cafe, on Aomen Lu, near Hisense Yandao Guoji from 10.45 AM onwards.
Check out their Facebook page HERE: Qingdao Expat Group.
TRASH TO TREASURES:
Once a month a group of ladies meet to swap used goods that they no longer want. The group was started on Earth Day, by an Expat. The hosting is done by anyone who is willing to do so, and usually everyone attending brings a snack to share. The host provides drinks, a comfy place to meet and share, and often, some toys or an area of kids to play. Even if you don’t want to swap anything, this is still a fun way to meet new people. We have done swaps involving books & magazines, clothes, accessories and kitchen ware. Anything that remains is donated to Dongxi&More (Qingdao’s second hard store which donates it proceeds to charity).
Redstar magazine is a city guide for the city of Qingdao, promoting local events, restaurant reviews, culture and travel. You can pick up this magazine in many restaurants and some coffee stores. It contains informative articles about life in China, guidance to living in Qingdao, news on upcoming events, and a classified section at the back where you can find restaurants, hair dressers, schools, and numerous other services offered in Qingdao. If you can’t find an actual copy of this monthly magazine, you can also download the free digital copy which is available on the Redstar We chat subscription. Search “RedStar” on We Chat, and you can join and access all of this useful information.
Redstar Family: There is now another monthly magazine, also run by Redstar, which provides articles and information more suitable for families with children. This magazine is usually available alongside the normal RedStar, and again, you can search for it on We Chat. Just type in “Redstar Family”.
Welcome to Qingdao!
Getting connected could be the one act that changes your move from daunting to awesome. There are so many friendly people in this city, both foreign and local, and they are waiting for you to join this amazing group. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
Justin’s We Chat: JustinEsser
My We Chat: CatherineEsser
Our Facebook Page: Traveling with JC
Our YouTube Channel: Life with The Essers