Do You Like Living In Shanghai? Would I? +/-

If you know me well, you know that I love Taiwan and I lived there for many years. I was married and divorced there, and my son was born there. I don’t live there now for a few reasons, mostly due to previous life events that have moved me away, but also because the economy there isn’t what it used to be and “good” teaching jobs are much more difficult to come by. This sets up a question for my overseas peeps: Those of you who know/live in Taiwan and know/live in Shanghai–would I like Shanghai? I’ve always wanted to visit Shanghai and never got around to it from the island. Having always been the foreign quarter in China, I imagine it is rich with history and very diverse culture. I’m looking at a choice now in my life between spending two years in Shanghai, making almost as much as I did in Abu Dhabi, so pretty good money, or perhaps moving back to AR and closer to family/childhood friends there and, hopefully, teaching from home full time. The AR money would be comparable to what I make here in TX, so adequate is a good word. I’m twice as old as I was when I was young, if you know what I mean, and maybe this would be the last of my gypsy adventures for a while. But I’d hate to get there expecting it to be a lot like “home” in Taiwan, and feel disappointed all the time. Can someone with some experience give me +/- sheet? Thanks!

I find Shanghai hard work in many ways, and I’d need a fair bit of $$$ to tempt me, but I like a hit of city life, occasionally.

Don’t compare it to Taiwan. Although there are obviously some overlaps, they are completely different. Go in with an open mind and it can be great.

It’s hard to give a clear picture without writing stacks, so if there’s anything in particular, ask.


There is some amazing food there, despite the horror stories. You have to seek them out and you have get recommendations because the horror stories are true, but there are some great eats there. The western food, if that’s your thing, is much better than Taiwan’s.
Nice architecture. Chances are you won’t be living in any of it, as a teacher, but there’s stuff to look at.
Don’t know if you see it as a plus or not, but there are loads of furriners, many of whom have stax 'o cash, so there are goods and services tailored to them. You can get your eyebrows tinted, kale smoothies, spin classes in English, and so on.
Art and exhibitions. A good local and waiguo music scene with occasional visits from giant bands.
Lots of ‘third culture’ kids.


Shopping is crap. Much nicer shops for clothes and stuff in Taiwan.
The underground is a world of pain.
Really shit hotpot, even in expensive places.
Shanghainese folk, are known for being rude as fuck and cheaty cheaters.
Pollution. It’s nothing like those pics you see of the north, but it’s not good. If your boy has any issues with asthma or whatnot, they will be affected.

taipei is way more livable. life just seems more corrupt in shanghai. its fun when you are young. i had a lot of fun, but now i’m old i’m not sure if it would be the same.
culture in china is money and sex. the frustrations of the locals behaviour will add up.

Try to think about this from the perspective of what would life be there for a somewhat older woman with a child, who’s a professional teacher – not a young guy. I doubt housecat is likely to be dabbling in the money and sex culture of Shanghai, no matter how pervasive it might be.

Make sure you get a VPN, or your Internet life will be severely hampered.

Well, thanks for this. Visiting Ermitrude is a big, big plus! The other comments were about what I expected. If I were younger, I’d be jumping at this. Being a bit older, it still sounds like fun, but like there’s less in it for me now than there might have been. I still don’t have to decide just yet. If you think of anything else, please post. It’s a very good job at an elite international school with a great pay package, or else it wouldn’t be considered at all.

another thing to consider is that rent is higher than taipei and the houses are worse. other costs are not much different but the living standard is lower. very little nature. if you still have some adventure within you it could be good for a shortish time.

Since I know what the alternative is, I’d say it is better than the alternative. Much better. But that’s just me.

I’d like your post, Ironlady, if I could figure out how.

Housing comes in the contract.

Thanks for the replies.

Sounds like a sweet deal, closer to Taiwan would be a bonus depending on the family
Circumstances. If the kid gets education thrown in as well … two years would fly.

Yep, it is barely a two hour flight to Songshan.

just got back from a trip there. there are definitely some things done better there than taipei. all the modern areas and shopping malls and city planning are well thought out, there is more shopping options and seems to be quite a lot of good restaurants that we don’t get here. the roads are wider too which is nice. even though the driving is just a bad it seems easier to see the cars coming and avoid them than in taipei.