Shanghai Relocation Guide: Chapter One

When thinking of relocating to Shanghai, there are obvious concerns related to cultural differences and how you will be treated.

The issue, as with most things in Shanghai, is one of extremes.

The Contradiction

You will be welcomed as a foreigner, possibly viewed with respect and wonder, while on the other hand you can be accused of ‘never understanding China’, of the Western world which is completely alien, and as a little bit dumb.

Yes, Chinese people all earn money to spend on German cars, Italian clothes, French wine, Australian beef and holidays overseas. They realise that China has enormous catching up to do in terms of quality of life, animal rights, manners and politeness, general sophistication and so on.

Yet on the other hand, they still stick strongly on to the innate belief of the superiority of Chinese history and culture. They drive cars rudely and angrily against their fellow countryman while still being obsessed about ‘the flag’, about winning Olympic medals and so on.

Dealing with China Life

This is the charm of living in a foreign country. On a day to day aspect, this can not affect you at all, or drive you insane.

You can have days go past in which everyone you meet is nice and friendly, you go to your favourite places and all is well. But you can have what’s known as a ‘Bad China Day’. What is a bad China day? It’s when you encounter stupidity at work with cultural differences, you get pushed or shoved or someone steals your taxi, there are drilling and banging sounds from mornign to night, it’s polluted, and so on and so on.

This is a normal aspect of living in a developing country, away from home, and is part of expat life.

The good thing about Shanghai is that you will never be bored.

There are countless international bars and restaurants (not to mention infinite local ones), a totally inter-connected expat and local society, jobs are not difficult to come by, and strangely, you can feel like a somebody in a city of 20 million people, instead of a nobody back home in your local town.

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