Are you planning a relocation to Shanghai? Shanghai is a major financial center, and a cosmopolitan city with a big expat community. It is modern and clean, and it has a reputation as a safe and well-maintained city. Shanghai offers a lot of arts and culture, good shopping, a wide variety of entertainment, and a busy nightlife. It differs in many ways from the rest of China, but in some ways it is similar to other large Chinese cities --especially when it comes to traffic. Safety is one of the main advantages for families moving to Shanghai, and there are also many good international schools in the city.
Most expats come to Shanghai because they have a job offer from an international or a Chinese company. The company can help with work permits, and some companies help with arranging accommodation. Shanghai is a big city, and it is a good idea to live close to your workplace or close to one of the international schools.
Many expats live in communities that mainly house other expats. These communities are often located near to services that are geared towards foreigners. Of course where you choose to live also depends on your budget and your lifestyle.
Single expats or young couples may want to live in the downtown neighborhoods, close to the great nightlife, restaurants and entertainment. Living in a downtown area means that you will be closer to the public transport options too. However downtown areas might be too busy for families with small children, who might prefer to live in a quieter neighborhood. One way to look for a rental apartment is to rent a temporary place for a few weeks, and start to look locally once you have arrived in Shanghai and understand the city better.
Most expats choose to avoid driving, mainly because of the traffic jams and because of the city's size. Many have a car with a driver, or live in a compound that has its own fleet of cars with drivers. Public transport is cheap and covers many parts of Shanghai, but for most foreigners it takes some time to understand the hundreds of bus routes.
Are there any downsides to living in Shanghai? Foreigners do not really experience violent crime; more common crimes are pickpocketing or small-scale theft. Some expats find it hard to adjust to noise, traffic jams and pollution, but these are typical downsides of living in a modern Chinese city.
If you are considering relocating to Shanghai from Canada, you should first do your home work. We at Canuck Abroad have everything you need to make your relocation stress free.