It can be really stressful and hectic to prepare to move to another country, especially if you're not familiar with the way it functions. We just moved to Shanghai, China for a few months and although it wasn't Vero's first time, it was still a bit tricky at times. We came up with a list of tips and tricks of things you should know before you ever want to move to China.
The visa you'll have to apply for depends on the purpose of your visit. There is many kinds of Chinese visa and it's easy to get confused. We got here with a X2 student visa, which means we can stay in China for up to 180 days with only one entry (except if you get special permission). This means that if we decide to exit the country we won't be able to come back unless we apply for another visa. There's also the X1 visa which allows you to stay up to 1 year in China.
2. WORKING ON A STUDENT VISA
You CANNOT work on a student visa. We had trouble finding this information, so here it is. You simply cannot work with a student visa, you'll have to get a work visa (Z). However, I've been told that getting a work visa is getting harder and harder. You'll have to find a reputable employer.
Rent is pretty expensive in Shanghai if you want something decent. We, luckily, are staying with family. However, we did look at some apartments and found that we would have to pay at least around 5000 Yuan (1000$ CAD) for something suitable (i.e. near a subway station, washing machine, clean and renovated washroom and kitchen.).
4. WESTERN FOOD
Foreign food is expensive in Shanghai. We found ourself paying as much (or more) for a western meal than when we were back home. A coffee at starbucks cost around 30-35 Yuan (6-7$ CAD). If you're on a budget, you're better off eating home or at Chinese restaurant.
Toiletries are very expensive. A small bottle of Head&Shoulders can cost you 40 Yuan (8$ CAD). If there's one thing you should stack up on before heading to China is definitely shampoo! Oh and for all the women out there that don't like to put pads on when it's that time of the month, bring loads of tampons if you can! It's not common here in China as people usually use pads, and if you do find some, it will be pretty expensive.
Get a subway transportation card! You can get one at pretty much any booth in the subway stations. You can put money in it any time you want and you won't have to buy a ticket at the machines every time.
Bring medecine from back home if you're not familiar with the Chinese one. They're so many kinds of different remedies in China that you most probably will be overwhelmed, especially if you don't understand the language. We brought a bag full of advil, tylenol, buckleys, gravol, etc. You name it, we have it! Better be safe than sorry.
8. RUDE PEOPLE
People here are generally nice but if they aren't, it's probably because they just don't care. They don't care who you are, what you do or what you want to do, they just want to do their thing. It's nothing personal, so don't get discourage by it. Although it'll take some time to adjust, we promise you'll get use to it!
This is a short and condensed tips and tricks that we wanted to share based on some of the things we experienced in Shanghai. We came prepared so the transition between a Canadian to a Chinese city wasn't that difficult but it always get some use to it.
If you want to follow us on our daily adventures, check out our instagram page @coupleeatfood. We post on the regular basis and update you guys on our life in Shanghai!
I really enjoy reading your blog after work! Thanks for doing what you do!