4 Important Things To Look Out For When Relocating To Shanghai

 

Moving internationally will always be a significant challenge for most employees, but when your destination is the bustle and smog of Shanghai, things can seem especially intimidating. Not only is Shanghai one of the world’s most dynamic and varied cities, offering the gamut of metropolitan experiences; it also brings its own range of special challenges found nowhere else, whether stemming from the world-record population, strict government policies, or insular local custom. Such a challenge demands preparation, so here is a short guide on what you should do to prepare yourself for a successful Shanghai move:

Expect The Culture Shock

A universal if impossible to explain sentiment from experienced Shanghai expats to new arrivals here is: “things are just like that”. Local customs are very different from those common in the outside world, especially the more Western ideas. These differences come across most prominently in public etiquette – you’ll just have to get used to people spitting in the streets, honking car horns constantly, and refusing to queue “properly” – but is also present in the often-confusing bureaucracy underlying all official activities. Try to get used to things as fast as you can.

Be A Part Of The System

I’m not saying you need to join the public service, but you will make your life much easier if you make the minimum effort needed to satisfy China’s extensive government. This starts within 48 hours of settling in; take your ID and housing documents down to the police station and officially register your details. Remember to have your passport with you as close to 100% of the time as you can manage, or at least have a copy of it available in your phone or wallet. The government is not out to get you, but you will find life here harder if you aren’t playing by the rules.

Secure Your Internet Connection Before You Leave

Considering the state of the Great Firewall and the importance of internet access to most expatriates, you can add a VPN to the usual list of personal concerns you need to firm up before making the move. A Virtual Private Network (of which there are many, with plenty of literature available to help you choose) will allow you to sneak past the extensive restrictions placed on locals’ internet access – essential if you want to stay connected through social media while you’re here. Remember to test it thoroughly before you leave.

Be Smart About Pollution

One unfortunate reality of living in the world’s largest city is the rampant pollution, which is absolutely as bad as any foreign stereotype would have it. Air, water, noise and every other kind of pollution will impact your stay in Shanghai at various times, and you should be protective of your health if you want to avoid the worst effects. Don’t drink the tap water, don’t breathe the air outside more than you have to, don’t eat local produce without washing it (and by extension be extremely leery of street food). Be mindful and set up good habits when you arrive and you’ll be able to focus on the many positives of the city instead.

To find out more about Allied Pickfords’ moving services, or to book a consultation, visit www.alliedpickfords.com.sg or call +65 6862 4700.

 

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How to Enjoy Chinese New Year as an Expat in Singapore

 

 

For many native Singaporean residents, the rapidly approaching Lunar New Year represents the single most important date of the year. Also known as Chinese New Year, the spring festival holiday is associated with traditions thousands of years old and is celebrated by communities the world over. Singapore marks the auspicious date with a public extravaganza of light and dance, getting fully into the festival spirit with food, fashion, and public events.
If you’re an expat currently living in Singapore, the advent of such a raucous and colourful holiday might be the perfect cultural experience, but it also could be a bewildering drain on your energy if you aren’t prepared. With that in mind, here’s a short guide to the key facets of Chinese New Year in Singapore.

Paint the town red
One of the most visible cultural foundations of the Spring Festival is the veneration of the colour red, which is simply everywhere in Singapore at this time. Seen to signify luck and prosperity, you will see people buying new clothes, cooking food, and daubing their homes in the colour. 
If you plan on celebrating or at least blending in during the festival, it’s a good idea to plan your best “red” look. Buying new clothes – especially ones which are red themselves – is considered good luck at this time of year, so don’t be afraid to splash out a bit in order to look the part.

It’s all about family
Togetherness and family unity are a huge cultural theme of the holiday. One of the central moments of the holiday season is Reunion Dinner, when scattered family members move hell and high water to get home for dinner on the eve of the Lunar New Year. If you’re a lonesome single expat far from home on a night like this, it can be very easy to feel cut off from the celebration and sink into a melancholy homesickness.
Take the opportunity to match like with like; Allied Pickfords recommends looking into local expat bars and social media groups to see if anyone else is partying against the grain on reunion night.

It’s not just about the New Year
In Singapore, the Lunar New Year is traditionally marked by a 2-day public holiday, sometimes 3-day, and the revellers will make those days count. But if the holiday itself is too intense or just not your style, the festive season persists for a good month around this crimson crescendo. Featuring a range of mouth-watering seasonal food prepared only around the New Year, colourful public decorations and a cheerful, relaxed atmosphere, this could be the perfect antidote to frantic New Year’s Eve celebrations. Make sure to witness the legendary Chingay Parade, held 8 days after the Lunar New Year and one of Singapore’s most cherished public traditions.

 

To find out more about Allied Pickfords’ moving services, or to book a consultation, visit www.alliedpickfords.com.sg or call +65 6862 4700.

 

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