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Americans In Shanghai
Truth be told, China isn't as developed as the United States, and if you're from a city like New York or San Francisco, you'll definitely need to adjust to the Chinese way of life.
In China, at least in Shanghai, I rarely take cash out with me. Why should I carry cash? Since I pay for almost everything through my phone using WeChat or Alipay, the Chinese have been using this technology for years!
While transportation isn't as amazing as in Japan, it's still top-notch. You can get anywhere in Shanghai for less than $1 by subway, and keep in mind that Shanghai is huge. Shanghai's super-sized area is 2,448 square meters, compared to 302,6 square meters in New York. Now, imagine taking the subway in Shanghai to anywhere for less than $5.
If you're from the city, the transition shouldn't be as dramatic as you'd expect. Public transportation is pretty good, including buses and subways. Don't forget that bike-sharing is huge here.
Americans in Shanghai
"In Shanghai, I work as a teacher in an international school. Since I'm a certified teacher from a native English speaking country, it's pretty easy to get a teaching job here."
On first impressions of Shanghai
Shanghai is definitely unlike anywhere I've ever been, even in Asia. It was very modern, crowded and full of life. I didn't expect to see so many foreign faces on the streets, or so many Western-style shops and restaurants.
On making friends
Since I was a teacher at an international school, I was immediately able to meet many other expats and locals, and I found a Photography group, joined a gym and started going on day trips with some local companies. I'm lucky that many of my friends are still in Shanghai.
On meeting other Americans in Shanghai
To meet other Americans, I suggest you join the Facebook expat group and put as much of yourself as possible into the Identity on display. Shanghai's expat community is incredible - you're bound to meet some super interesting expats.
The public transportation system in Shanghai is great. I use the metro a lot because it's convenient and cheap. We also have a great bike share system here.
When the weather is nice, walking is my favorite way to get around. There are always new shops or galleries popping up and it's easier to notice them when you're on foot.
About Transportation in Shanghai
Traffic is pretty bad, especially during rush hour. It doesn't help that driving in this city is kind of crazy.
On the cost of living in Shanghai
Shanghai is great because it can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. Rent can be expensive in a nice neighborhood, but it's cheaper than places like NYC.
About learning Mandarin
You can get by in Shanghai without knowing Chinese. Most western bars and restaurants have English-speaking staff, and all street signs and subways are in English as well. However, I would recommend learning some Mandarin to have a more authentic conversation with the locals. A simple "xie xie" [thank you] can go a long way.
Shanghai is always changing, there's always a new neighborhood to explore, there's an exciting event going on in the city, or bars and restaurants opening up - it's hard to get bored living in Shanghai.