Arriving in Shanghai as an expat professional

Arriving in Shanghai as an expat professional

Arriving in Shanghai as an expat professional

Whether you’re planning to work in Shanghai for a year or so or stay forever if possible, getting used to this massive, exotic city can take some time.

The mega-city of Shanghai is now a favourite with expat entrepreneurs and professionals, but new arrivals find it hard to pin down due to its ever-changing nature. Many recently-arrived Westerners find its welcome to foreigners hard to believe but, unlike in a good few other Asian countries, it’s totally genuine. Basically, the city is a fascinating mix of races, cultures and an impressive history, all set in as captivating a venue as is possible. It’s a city of strange nuances, some of which shock and others delight, but it’s never, ever boring!

The first essential for expat incomers is the latest smartphone, as the entire city runs on personal technology as a giant convenience tool. Apps such as Alipay, Wechat, Taobao and many more allow expats to get about easily whilst not being seen as just another tourist. Electronic payments for just about everything are now the norm, although mega-stores and tourism hubs still take cash if they’re forced to. Your favourite social media sites will become inaccessible once you’ve arrived, although certain VPNs still work.

Getting around is best by subway, with the Shanghai metro taking newcomers anywhere they need to be and reusable metro cards the most convenient way to travel. If you’re arriving with your family, the city’s support network is invaluable as regards child-care, schooling and much more. Expat education can be tricky, with a choice between excellent international schooling, private schools, public schools with an international flavour and more.

Cross-cultural integration is encouraged, and local communities are welcoming as well as helpful and genuinely friendly. For expat parents with very young children, the city has an excellent network of hospitals and nurseries.

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