Cultivate friendships with one or two key persons and they can help you more. Sometimes you have to pick your fights and focus on the major problem. Some complaints are simply TIC—“This is China”—and you are not going to change the system. Working within it brings more longer lasting results than recreating it. They are willing to listen but sometimes it is not their decision to make. Don’t complain constantly. Make it effective when something is serious and then stick to your guns.
You will quickly discover which people are good at getting problems solved for you and making friends with these people is important. I have found that department technicians play an important role in making sure your teaching goes smoothly and keeping them informed of your schedules is useful.
The Office of International Cooperation & Exchange is in charge of keeping you up to date with what is going on at the University. It is a good idea to call in occasionally to find out any news.