Shanghai is one of the world’s largest cities, bustling with life and culture. As the business hub of Asia, Shanghai brings the nations of the world together in a dynamic kaleidoscope of tradition meets the modern world.
We asked some of our Shanghai teachers to share some of the best things about living and working in Shanghai.
Affordable and Accessible Transportation
Shanghai's transportation infrastructure is extensive, inexpensive, and impressive, making Shanghai a convenient place to live and work. Jen, one of our Shanghai teachers shares about the transportation in Shanghai:
"There's a bus that stops right at the school that will take you anywhere for less than a [CAD] dollar. The subway is the same price and lets you skip all the traffic downtown. There are very affordable high-speed trains to take you all over China. We are a short distance from Hongqiao airport (which handles mostly domestic flights) which makes weekend trips very convenient. If you choose to buy a scooter, there are designated scooter lanes that put a barrier between you and the car/truck traffic to keep you safe. If you choose to take a taxi, the rates are much lower than in most major cities."
Shanghai also has extensive bike shares in place, allowing you to also easily get around the city by bicycle. Annekke, another one of our teachers shared, "There are bike lanes on almost every road you need, so I'm almost never scared of getting run over."
Our teachers talk more about transportation in Shanghai here.
Delivered to Your Doorstep
Do you avoid going out to run errands? Have you ever experienced the inconvenience of carrying heavy groceries on public transit? Do you ever get a late-night craving and just wish someone would bring you food from your favourite restaurant? In Shanghai, convenience is delivered directly to you.
"You can get anything and everything delivered to your house for a very low fee. There are several apps to order food from, even if they don't have a delivery system someone from the app will pick it up for you (much like skip the dishes). You can order your groceries online and have them delivered the same day for no extra fee. You can order almost anything from Taobao (Chinese Amazon) and get it in less than a week."
If you love to shop, you can buy everything you want and more in Shanghai, a city with some of the biggest shopping malls in the world and a fast-paced consumer culture. More practically, many expats find that living abroad often means giving up some of the familiar foods and products from home, but in Shanghai, most of these things are more accessible than you might think. Jen shares that "You can get almost any western product here (if you're willing to pay for it). In other countries I've lived in, I've had to have my friends and family send me things I missed from home. Here, I can find almost anything I need."
Do More with WeChat
"The entire country uses an app called WeChat to stay connected. It makes paying for things as easy as scanning a barcode. You can also use it to buy movie tickets, call an Uber (Didi in China), pay your phone bill, keep track of rewards card/points from different stores, buy plane and train tickets, rent hotel rooms, etc."
As for not being able to speak the local language, Annekke shares that "WeChat is really convenient, so when you need help from locals, WeChat translates for you."
Rich Culture and History
"China is an ancient country full of history and culture. Living here affords you the opportunity to travel all over this huge country and discover each distinct region. From the ice festival up north in Harbin city in Heilongjiang Province, to the breath-taking mountains of Tibet, to the spicy cuisine of Sichuan Province, every region has its own cuisine, music, art and traditions."
Shanghai is a city with a rich history and unique historical districts, a city where you can take in both the traditional culture and also enjoy the fast-paced life of modern China.
As a major global financial centre with a central location, Shanghai is a very multicultural city with a huge expat population.
Many of our teachers enjoy the benefits of this on a daily basis: "The school is in an international school district. The high concentration of foreigners means that there is a lot of choice for ethnic food and we are a close distance from several 'western' grocery stores."
Another teacher shared another social benefit: "There's a huge expat population, so if you're outgoing it isn't too hard to meet new friends, since expats are always getting together."
In Shanghai, your experience can be as local or as international as you choose to make it.