Is Shanghai Family-Friendly

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  • #4524
    Anonymous
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    We are Australian expats currently living in Dubai and considering an assignment in Shanghai. We have some specific issues which may make Shanghai unsuitable but in order to determine that I am looking for the objective advice of people who know and live in the city. I will probably sound like a real yokel, but just want to get the honest advice from people who don’t have a vested interest in whether we come or not. So thanks for reading…

    We have 2 boys, aged 8 and 12. One is an asthmatic and has kidney issues. While both of these aspects are well-managed at present, I am concerned about air quality and access to decent western doctors should things be upset.

    Are there plenty of activities for kids to do during their down-time? eg Entertainment venues, parks, access to safe bike paths etc? I don’t want them sitting at home playing PC games for 2 years.

    My husband’s office is apparently located in Pudong. We’d be looking for housing and schools with easy access to this area. The kids are presently at an IB School and if possible, we’d like to continue that curriculum. If it’s not possible then we’ll be looking for British Curriculum. Are there decent schools in that part of the city and if so, what are their names?

    We have an older dog (15 years) who will be accompanying us. Having read a thread on here I am now also worried about quarantine. Is this a realistic worry?

    I’m pretty sure, from what I’ve heard that supermarkets sell a range of western food and access to safe fruit, vegetables and meat is fine. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    I’m assuming expats tend to either have drivers or use public transport. Is that the case?

    Thanks in advance for all your comments, opinions etc.

    #4840
    Anonymous
    Guest

    We are Australian expats currently living in Dubai and considering an assignment in Shanghai. We have some specific issues which may make Shanghai unsuitable but in order to determine that I am looking for the objective advice of people who know and live in the city. I will probably sound like a real yokel, but just want to get the honest advice from people who don’t have a vested interest in whether we come or not. So thanks for reading…

    We have 2 boys, aged 8 and 12. One is an asthmatic and has kidney issues. While both of these aspects are well-managed at present, I am concerned about air quality and access to decent western doctors should things be upset.

    Are there plenty of activities for kids to do during their down-time? eg Entertainment venues, parks, access to safe bike paths etc? I don’t want them sitting at home playing PC games for 2 years.

    My husband’s office is apparently located in Pudong. We’d be looking for housing and schools with easy access to this area. The kids are presently at an IB School and if possible, we’d like to continue that curriculum. If it’s not possible then we’ll be looking for British Curriculum. Are there decent schools in that part of the city and if so, what are their names?

    We have an older dog (15 years) who will be accompanying us. Having read a thread on here I am now also worried about quarantine. Is this a realistic worry?

    I’m pretty sure, from what I’ve heard that supermarkets sell a range of western food and access to safe fruit, vegetables and meat is fine. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    I’m assuming expats tend to either have drivers or use public transport. Is that the case?

    Thanks in advance for all your comments, opinions etc.

    #4841
    Anonymous
    Guest

    You’d have no issues apart from the air quality question. And, it’s a big question. Talk to your doctor about it. Other than that, Shanghai would be fine for your kids. For the dog, there are ways around quarantine, assuming you have the money to grease the wheels. Pudong is a very big place but I am assuming you will be in someplace like Jinqiao ro Kangqiao where the schools are, in which case yes you will need to have a driver as it’s not really ‘the city’, it is very suburban and difficult to manage otherwise.

    #4842
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I lived in Dubai for 3 years, Shanghai for 5 and now Doha for 1. I will never go back to China for anything other than a visit (my wife’s Chinese). Everything is better in the Gulf.

    #4843
    Anonymous
    Guest

    OP, my wife and I have met several other expats here in Doha that had varying levels of China experience. Everyone agrees the mainland is a cool place to party/explore when your a 20-30 something. It’s a game changer when you move into family mode. Doha is no rich cultural experience, but it’s safe, the people are very welcoming of foreigners and everything is clean(er).

    #4844
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I dunno, what is there to do there? We contemplated a move to Abu Dhabi just before the Shanghai offer came in, and in researching it it all seemed so dull. Go from your air conditioned apartment to the air conditioned mall, to the air conditioned club, whatever. It seemed safe, yeah, but very sterile.

    Mind you I haven’t been, this was all based on conversations I had with people in London who’d lived there, and from internet research, but I couldn’t find any compelling thing to make me want to go, like, no adventure, no grit, nothing to really get excited about.

    Shanghai may be many things, not all of them good to be sure, but I can honestly say it’s never boring, and being here has been a huge growth experience for all of us. I get that it’s all relative. I grew up in NYC in the 70’s and 80’s, the bad old good old days, so my tick list for what ‘good for families’ means is maybe a bit different.

    #4845
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Yeah, that’s true. I’m not going to argue the Gulf is some culturally rich hotspot (although I’m not sure anyone could make the same argument about wannabe Shanghai). I’m glad you guys like your arrangement in Shanggers. I just found the place repetitive, unhealthy and unwelcoming. I like the international vibe of the Gulf. It’s a refreshing change from poorly structured ‘China is the best; mei you Wei Shen men’ arguments.

    That said, my wife and I had a blast during our visit last month. Shanghai is a great place to party. In fact, all of China seems to take partying pretty seriously.

    You guys should pop through the UAE next you head westward. It surpassed a lot of my expectations when I first went there 8 years ago (I was also expecting dusty and tired).

    #4846
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Everyone , including the dog, will have a great time, its not a third world country. Actually, I would be more concerned about the dog, having to go through quarantine. The issue with the child with health problems is that in an emergency, you will not want to trust an ambulance. Expats know to get yourself in a taxi, and get yourself to hospital. Or, get a driver that lives really close to you, so you can call him up. Other than that, the western doctors and medical facilities are excellent. Just make sure you have THE BEST medical package, eg Signa, Bupa with medi-vac. Maybe you could look for accommodation close to a 24 hour medical centre for peace of mind.

    The schools are good, BISS and DULWICH both have the IB programme. Dulwich is in a nice family area with green spaces, villa’s , quiet wide roads for the kids to bike. There’s always lots of kids sports going on on Saturdays at the shopping/sports complex called Green City where there’s a Carrefour, Pines ( western grocery) Starbucks, etc. I don’t know anything about the area where BISS is situated, but my children went to BISS on the Puxi side, and got a first class education. Jinqiao is more of a suburb, but if you are putting your children first, then you won’t mind being further from the city anyway.

    A lot of the housing complexes have excellent facilities, mine has an oudoor wave pool with a beach, two indoor 25m pools, two fully equipped gyms with free fitness classes, badminton/basketball hall, bowling alley, table tennis room, cafĂ©. I look over an ‘English lawn’ where the kids have a kick around. And the dogs all meet up! lots of kids live here and get one of the many buses to the western schools. I could ask around if you want to know how long the bus journey takes.

    If you want some contacts of other Aussies with kids, pm me.

    #4847
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Thanks for the insight everyone. Very much appreciated.

    Welshkiwi, I was feeling very bleak about it all until I read your post. My goodness! Your compound sounds amazing and you have made me think this is do-able. So I’m not going to write it off yet. Will probably be back and forth in here looking for more information. If we move, it will probably not be till 2021 but we need to give them an answer by September-October 2020. So thank you for your kind offer and I may be in contact in the next couple of months as I suspect before making the final decision I will do a quick trip to Shanghai to see it for myself. Would be great to catch up with some Aussies and hear first hand, their experience of life there with kids.

    I’m heart-broken at the thought of leaving Dubai. Been here 2 years and not ready to say goodbye yet. It is such an interesting place. Look2me4guidance, if you have the opportunity to come to Dubai, I would absolutely take it – so much to do and see, both modern and traditional.

    #4848
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Main motivation is work – the move has been proposed by my husband’s company. I’ve always been fascinated by China (last great frontier kind of stuff) but just never managed to get there. But to be honest the timing isn’t quite right. As a family, I don’t think we’re done with Dubai yet and I would like to stay on a bit longer if I could as the kids are settled and doing well in school and we have made some great friends. I love that they are mixing with so many different cultures and religions here. There is so much incidental/experiential learning that happens that way.

    If it was just my husband and I, it would be a no brainer, I would happily jump across to Shanghai, but it is my boy’s medical problems that is making me reticent. We said an outright “no” to Shanghai about 7 years’ ago for this reason, but he is now 7 years’ older, as is Shanghai 7 years’ more developed, so looking at it more seriously this time. I guess that’s it in a nutshell.

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