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Living in Shanghai


Shanghai is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. As China’s financial capital city it is by far the most westernised city in China and thus the most comfortable for expatriates.

Shanghai is a melting pot of culture, diversity, and entertainment. Being at the forefront of China’s progress, life in Shanghai is fast paced and full of new experiences. From the never-ending, ultra-modern skyscrapers opposite The Bund, to the western colonial architecture found in Former French Concession, Shanghai is brimming with culture and things to do and see.

Britannica International School is very well situated in Shanghai so you’ll never be too far away from the city buzz and transport links, making the location of the school ideal for parents and also for teachers.

Shanghai is incredibly westernised and it is possible these days to get pretty much anything you’d be used to buying in your home country. There are hundreds of well-known stores and brands across the city with more opening on a daily basis. Some of the stores you can enjoy include: Nike, Mango, Miss Sixty, Adidas, H&M, Zara, H&M and a wealth of other leading international brands.

Eating out in Shanghai is incredibly diverse and all palettes are catered for, from the fancy restaurants of The Bund, to the street stalls of the old town and everything in the middle. There’s something for everyone and if you want something from a western chain you can find a healthy sandwich from Pret A Manger and a Starbucks and a McDonalds on most corners throughout the city!

If you don’t fancy eating out, the infamous ‘Sherpas’ deliver to your door from around 100 Shanghai restaurants! If you prefer to cook your own food, the city offers a huge range of options for your weekly shop from the big supermarkets such as Carrefour, Tesco and Metro to small wet markets and western run stores specialising in imported goods and freshly baked bread.

For centuries, Shanghai has been the place where east meets west in China. For a taste of ancient Chinese culture, visit one of the many temples or tea houses in the city. Shanghai holds a unique place in the art and culture of China. At the heart of this is the Shanghai Grand Theatre, which encompasses three cutting-edge theatres and regularly hosts the world’s leading orchestras, dance troupes and theatre companies. Attractions like the Shanghai Art Museum and the Shanghai Propaganda Poster and Art Centre offer a fascinating overview of its diverse cultural strands. As for sports; The annual Shanghai Grand Prix, Shanghai Tennis Open and a wealth of other sporting events, provide opportunities that are both more affordable and more available to secure tickets than anywhere in the West.

Getting around Shanghai is surprisingly easy, with a fantastic Metro system, which is clean, efficient, easy to navigate and will take you from one end of the city to another for less than a pound! Five or six stops will cost you 30p in the centre of the city. There are also a number of cheap taxis to hire and of course China has its own Uber service, Didi. Like any big city it can prove more difficult on a rainy day and it is therefore very important to live in the right area with easy access to work and amenities.

There are hundreds of housing options for ex-pats, from lane houses and converted apartments in the Former French Concession to large purpose built apartment compounds throughout the city. Our staff will help to assess your personal needs and find suitable housing for your time in the city.

Shanghai is relatively safe and crimes against foreigners are very rare.

There are a number of Western clinics across the city, all with English speaking Doctors. Healthcare can be expensive but teachers at the school are offered medical insurance packages to cover the costs.

Shanghai weather is generally mild and moist, with four distinct seasons – a pleasant warm spring, a hot rainy summer, a comfortable cool autumn and an overcast cold winter. 

The hottest time here comes in July and August, with more than 10 days of temperatures above 35 degress The coldest time is from the late December to early February. The spring from March to May and Autumn September to November is recommended as the best time for family and friends to pay a visit.

Living in Shanghai is truly an eye-opening and amazing experience and with access to two International Airports and a large Train Station you will be able to enjoy many of China’s great sights such as The Great Wall, Xian, Chengdu, Guilin and Harbin and of course with direct flights to all major Asian cities and many islands. Direct flights take UK teachers from Shanghai to London.

For further reading on living in Shanghai or moving to Shanghai here are some of the key websites to help you understand the wonderful place more:

We, at Britannica ,understand that one of the most important decisions of your move to a new city, country or continent is  your child’s school. We look forward to working with you to ensure that settling your child or children into school is one of the easier aspects of moving to Shanghai. 

For more information on how we can help you or to arrange a personal school visit please contact our admissions team.

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