Foreigner/Laowai

My 2nd Chinese word I know is Laowai, which means foreigner. During the interview process, I was often referred to as a foreigner. “As a foreigner… being a foreigner…” I am not one to be easily offend at all, so it didn’t bother me, it just sounded strange to my ears and made my HR alarms go off. After all growing up in the melting pot of the US and watching School House Rocks it would seem a little different, right?

During one of my interviews with HR in China, I mentioned how it is strange for me to so openly hear the word foreigner being used like you would use male or female. I was reminded about the history of China, not being open to the public until the mid 80s and the Great Wall being built to keep people out. So you are either Chinese or you are or you are a foreigner. I understand completely and only giggle a little inside when I am called a foreigner, which is what I am.

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