So, me and DH have had plans to travel and spend time abroad for a while, and we have been working towards it slowly (by saving mainly). DH has today come home and let me know that a two year secondment has come up in Shanghai and asked if I would consider it. Obviously whether or not we actually went would depend on the package, we are currently on the 'should we even consider it' section.
We have two kids, 7 and 11 months. I spent my childhood moving countries every 1-2 years so am not a complete novice, although nowhere near seasoned.
Anybody have any specific advice on Shanghai? What is it like for families, any experience with the school (International)? Quality of life? Obviously our final decision would be based on much more than a forum thread and if we do consider it, we will look at going out there before agreeing to get a feel for it, but other thoughts are extremely welcome at this point!
I live in China, although not in Shanghai and have been here for nine years. Some things to consider:
You can have a very good quality of life in China and it's a great base for exploring SE Asia.
Pollution can be revolting here.
Shanghai is expensive and you will need a decent housing budget, but you can get everything there and there is also a very good standard of medical care at Shanghai United hospital.
Several international schools - fees are expensive and whatever the marketing people tell you they are not the same standard as a private school in the UK, more like a decent comprehensive IMO. Nothing wrong with that, but I am a bit jaded with schools telling me how wonderful they are!
A good package should include the following:
Medical and dental - including evacuation to Hong Kong for treatment if necessary.
Car and driver
Travel allowance or flights home at least once per year
Removal costs - sea and air freight - any limits on what you can take?
School bus and school uniform
Not all expats get everything listed above, but it gives you a starting point for your negotiations. For me the two most important elements of an overseas move are healthcare and education.
Good luck with the decision making process
I live in Shanghai can't post more now but will be back later with some thoughts.
Shanghaidiva thank oh for that reply, it was really helpful as I have no idea what we would have to set as a minimum package for us to agree to go. If we do decide to go I may send you a PM to your brain about that if you don't mind.
Pollution is the big worry for me I think. My youngest is only 11 months and my husband has mild asthma. How do you guys cope with that? Is it a huge consideration day to day
Feel free to pm me about any other info you need
Pollution - google the air quality index for your home town and then Shanghai today - this will give you a good idea of levels. International schools usually have built in air filtration systems and monitor levels and adjust outside play for young children accordingly. Some expats bring machines from the US eg blue air, but you can find some brands e.g Phillips here in China. Some people choose to wear masks like this
As your younger child is only 11 months old and your husband has asthma, pollution will, imo, be a key factor in your decision to move.
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