Returning Home: Why It Doesn’t Quite Feel Like Doing So

With the recent development of the COVID-19, and some foreigners now being prevented from reintering China (following the Chinese Government notice published last week), many of the people living abroad have experienced or will experience what going back home deeply feels like. Some of them might indeed not return to China after the epidemic.

Regardless of the latter, and the peculiar daily life it induces, returning to where you grew up, for a couple of weeks or a longer period, often comes with a weird feeling. Most of the environment you grew up in is similar to what it was when you left, and yet, you do not feel quite the same toward it.

The reason is simple: people living abroad go through very peculiar experiences that change what home means to them, as well as their identity. Understanding why and how these two notions evolve can be challenging, especially when being in the middle of it.

Today, we present you with an overview of why and how “home” becomes a blurrier and blurrier notion for those who have made the choice to leave their original one, and how is one’s identity modeled by one’s chosen location.

 

 

We also take the occasion to tackle a challenge that recently arose for all those who did not re-enter China before last week's announcement.

With China's recent notice stating foreigners cannot enter the country anymore, in order to prevent the spread of the virus, many people have started to to plan repatriating their belongings from China while already outside the country.

As such, if you or your relatives are in such a situation, ASI Movers team expresses you its deep support in these difficult times.

We obviously remain at your disposal to help coordinate this unplanned move the best way possible.

Stay safe and take care everyone!

Why Does Living Abroad Affect your Definition of Home

You arrive in this new place, whom customs, traditions, and maybe language you are not familiar with. The concept of culture shock is a useful tool to understand how the sense of home is built when relocating.

In The Art of Coming Home, Craig Sorti breaks it up in 4 steps: honeymoon, negotiation, adjustment and adaptation. It’s also useful to note that, if we consider going to another country after, or back home, the process follows a W shape.

What makes us able to overcome the crisis state, and eventually adapt to the new place we live in, is our emotional resilience.

Emotional resilience is the psychological ability to adapt to the challenges coming to you by developing psychological and behavioral capabilities that allow you to remain calm during crisis, moving on from the past incident (in that case relocating to a foreign environment) without long-term negative consequences. Depending on the person, this process can take more or less time and effort. For most global nomads, this ability indeed increases, becoming a habit. It's aslo a useful concept to understand our reactions toward the epidemic the world is currently living.

When completed, it nevertheless has changed you as you have indeed faced an identity dilemma. You have accepted and overcome the discrepancies between your past and present lives and environments. It requires you to determine what your core values and beliefs are, which will remain constant throughout your life, which ones will be ditched, and integrate aspects of the local identity into your own. The "nomadic lifestyle" can thus be summed up in a search for congruence in our sense of who we are, no matter where we are.
This integration can also be very trivial and as simple as changing your consumption habits, the way you behave in the street or address people. In that sense, you are changed by your new environment, which now becomes home to you.

Why Going Back Home Often Doesn't Quite Feel Like Doing So

When returning back home, you would at first expect to completely fit in, as you have just got back to a familiar environment and set of known cultural references. However, it’s often not the case, for three main reasons:

  • You have adapted to your life abroad: as stated, following the U-curve previously described, you have adapted to your life abroad, picking up the local habits, the codes, and the way of thinking. You thus now have to go through the second part of the curve i.e. readapting to home. Your whole lifestyle has been affected and might not be congruent at all with your original one.
  • You have changed because of your experiences abroad and what you have learned being far from your home country. What you know about the world, and thus your opinions, have enriched and might not totally fit with the lifestyle you used to have.
  • Home has changed and/or is not similar to the image you kept in mind. Living abroad also means life continues back home without you being completely involved, the environment you were used to (economic, political, cultural, and even physical) has evolved, and even your friends have changed with time. You might also have kept in mind an idealized or, on the contrary, a negative image of home, and comparing it with the reality when returning is can be disorientating.

Consequently, home, more often than not, feels foreign. Not only has it changed while you were away, but you also see it differently, as if you had put new lenses on. In some cases, you can even feel marginalized, become critical toward your home town/country which can eventually lead to exhaustion and depression.

Home for Global Individuals: A Complex Notion

As such, the notion of home has a very peculiar sense for global individuals. This is due to the fact that it is tightly linked to their identity, and the latter is in their case more prone to acculturation (the assimilation to a different culture, typically the dominant one). Remember that your identity is obviously also shaped by your social groups, your role in a given society, your "group memberships", etc.

One can then easily understand how the place we live in affects our identity and thus where we feel at home: a different place means different social roles, different interpersonal interaction, different believes, etc. As such, one is continuously building his or her identity along the way, far from were he or she grew up. Coming back might then not feel quite aligned with who we are now. One is entitled to social roles and practices he or she has grown away from.

Yet, because the global lifestyle means having experienced sometimes multiple places of residence, one has often the feeling of belonging to all of them and none of them at the same time. The identity and sense of belonging to somewhere or something has grown apart from a specific location or culture, and is more linked to the nuclear family one has been moving with, a set of familiar objects, or even just the feeling of being in a foreign environment. In that respect, the sense of home is complex because it is intangible and its construction differs from one global individual to another, depending on his or her own journey and emotional resilience mechanisms.

In normal times, preparing your return, reviewing your expectations as to know which ones might not be met, defining a routine you feel comfortable following prior to coming back, enrolling in projects and activities that stimulate you and are in adequation with who you now are and taking time to reconnect to those who stayed are useful tools to make the best of your journey back.

 

In times like these, one might be in search for a feeling of safety which one’s home country can provide if the process is handled with enough preparation and care. It is indeed the perfect time to reconnect and share your experience!

For those undertaking this journey, we wish all the best, and good health on the way!

Take time for yourself, your loved ones, and the projects you care about!

International Careers & Global Mobility: What Will 2020 Be About

2020 is here, with all the promises a brand new year can hold. Now that we had a look last week at all the great things that happened in 2019, it’s now time to explore what will shape the upcoming 12 months.

ASI Movers has been helping expats and global individuals to manage their international or domestic relocation for more than 10 years. As such, we have decided to investigate what will be the environment those who place their trust in us when it comes to moving their belongings will evolve in.What are then the evolutions those who work and live abroad will meet in the coming year?

A Quick Historical Background

As stressed by PwC Talent Mobility 2020 report, one can identify 2 major periods when it comes to global mobility.

One, from 1970 until 1990, has been instigated by large multinationals. They were the ones driving international assignees abroad, mainly from their headquarters to the “field” where they were developing and needed talents. They were offering expat packages to compensate the 2 to 5 years spent abroad. This mobility was mainly prompting employees to go from the US to Europe, even though the exploitation of natural resources also fueled talent movements to other destinations.

The second stage lasted from 1990 until the 2010s. The emergence of new markets in developing countries, as well as the delocalization and outsourcing tendency, originated in efforts toward reducing the cost of production, put an end to the polarization of international mobility. Apart from the traditional expat figure one is now familiar with, a new kind of global individuals emerged. The latter are more familiar with rotational and technology-based virtual assignments, and they are international commuters. The talent pools considered by companies also changed, and new ones such as emerging markets (India in particular) have emerged.

For 2020, the report stresses that global mobility will continue to increase in volume, and that talent mobility will become even more fluid.

The report brings our attention on a handful of trends that are likely to shape 2020:

Among these, three appear of particular importance:

1. An Evolution Towards Shorter Assignments, More Flexibility and More Commuter Assignments

As we can infer from the evolution of global mobility in the past decades, the traditional figure of expats is slowly getting replaced by a more modern one. We know too well that long-term assignments represent a huge trade-off both companies and individuals. For companies, it is a huge commitment with no guarantee that the integration will be a success (if we consider the individual is just relocating to the country). On the other side of the contract, the employee also has to evaluate the success of relocation in even broader terms since it englobes both its personal life and its work life. Many parameters can influence the success of taking a position abroad: family, a country’s culture, one’s attitude toward change, the sense of loneliness, giving up one’s social circle for several years, etc.

In the case of a shorter assignment, the risks at stake for both the company and the employee are reduced.

We thus are moving toward more flexibility in the way one can envision working abroad. Companies are actually realizing the advantages of welcoming less traditional kinds of workforce. The latter are placing a greater emphasis on having flexible working hours, a greater work-life balance and higher degree of inclusion in the organization they are working in. This workforce is also less subject to top-down international assignments as companies welcome foreign people who were not part of the workforce originally.

Business travels or what is also called commuter assignments are also on the road to increase dramatically, leading to a brand new kind of international assignees who actually do not relocate abroad.

Instead of the traditional expat package, what PwC calls “destination pay and local plus” will be more and more common.

2. Technology Will Change the Way One Experiences Her or His Global Career

Technology is already playing a huge role for people working abroad, and it will increase even more. Now, one can easily access information and networks to learn more about a potential destination beforehand. Facebook groups, LinkedIn, forums play a key role in a global individual’s not only decision yet also life afterwards.

Apart from this “practical life” advantages, technology will also change the way international corporations manage their employees. Data collection and analysis will enable them to increase the chances of an assignment to be success by isolating key parameters to closely monitor before, during and after the assignment. Artificial intelligence can also play an important role in helping international assignees once they are sent abroad.

3. An Even Greater Boom of Emerging Economies as Expats’ Hosts and Talent Pools

As we touched upon, an explosion of activity in emerging markets has changed the way global individuals can envision working abroad, more specifically from where and to where. First, companies will be more and more eager to employ people coming from all around the world, and second, the destinations are more and more diverse. As the PwC’s report points out, the growing importance of emerging economies will also lead local employees to increasingly operate across their own continent and beyond.

Traditional “capital cities” are slowly making way for new mega cities such as Mumbai, Dehli or Dhaka, while others such as Lahore, Shenzhen or Chennai are making their way into the top 30 most populated cities. Because of their growing population, these cities and their region are becoming important economic centers, attracting companies and as such becoming a chosen expat destination. In terms of headquarters, companies are now more prone to choose competitive and cost-effective locations which enable employees to be the closest to the needs of the customers. This also explains why these new economic centers become talent pools as the latter “produce” more and more skilled workers with a first-hand knowledge of the market.

In parallel, Asian cities such as Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh or Singapore are often ranked the most desirable for expats to live in. Given how welcoming these cities already appear to those with an international career, one can only expect their popularity to further increase.

The new decade will certainly be marked by great changes and evolutions when it comes to working abroad. A more flexible and detached way of working will certainly gain popularity, while the most attractive destinations for those who work abroad will likely be in emerging countries. In 2020 as in 2019, ASI Movers is dedicated to accompany global individuals in their international move from, to or within China. We make your relocation process the smoothest possible for you to focus on what matters, especially in such a changing environment for those working abroad.

 

 

ASI Movers team wishes you a happy new year 2020!

Discover our full range of solutions!

 

 

This article is partly based on PwC's report "Talent Mobility 2020: The Next Generation of International Assignment".

Temporary Residence Registration: A New Online Application System for Shanghai Residents

As you may know if you have already been living in China, foreigners as well as residents from Hong-Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, need to register to the police station within 24 hours after their arrival on the territory. For people staying at the hotel, the latter will take care of the process on their behalf. Registering might also be required when one re-enters the country, changes address or passport number (depending if one is under a visa or a resident permit).

The Usual Process

This mandatory registration step would require you to go in person to the police station and provide your passport, copies of the ID page, of your visa or resident permit, and of your latest entry stamp. If you are staying at your own home, you would also have to provide a lease or deed proving that you are actually staying at the mentioned address. In the case of living in someone else’s place, you would have to present the latter’s hukou (户口簿)or his/her lease or deed.

If not registered within the regulatory 24h, one might have to pay a fine which ranges from RMB 0 (as a warning) up to RMB 2,000. -

For many foreigners, this process appeared not very convenient, especially after hours of traveling.

The New Online Application Process

Starting October 25th 2019, a new process has come into effect which spares Shanghai foreign residents having to go in person to the Police Station to register.

How to apply online? 

  1. You can either go to the dedicated website;

    Or scan the following QR Code:

    The form is available in both English and Chinese and is rather convenient to fill up with a user-friendly interface.

  2. The documents and information you will need to provide are:

    • Your email address;

    • Your address in Shanghai;

    • Photo of the ID page of your passport;

    • Your arrival and departure dates.

    Unlike when you are registering in person at the police station, you do not need to provide your lease or deed to prove your address.

  3. The system will process your application and you will receive a confirmation email within a few minutes.

    Once you have received it, you can go back on the website, and choose between downloading the pdf file of your Registration Form of Temporary Residence, receiving it by email, or sharing the pdf.

    Conveniently enough, the application stores the history of your previous registrations.

A Bit of Background: Why Has This System Been Implemented in Shanghai?

Shanghai is the first city in China to benefit from such a system, but why is it so?

It was actually intended to make the life of foreigners attending the CIIE easier. Many of the latter, because of the massive affluence the city experiences during this period, did not reside in a hotel (which would have taken care of the registration on their behalf), and many did not have enough time to go to the police station as they were in Shanghai only for a small amount of time.

In addition of the Entry Exit Bureau having a venue at the Expo where foreigners could register, the app has thus been developed to solve this issue.

For more than 10 years, ASI Movers has been expats' best moving partner from, to and within China.

Our purpose? Make your relocation process the smoothest possible for you to focus on what matters!

Discover our full range of solutions!

Working in China as a Foreigner: What You Need to Know

Even though knowing exactly how many expats currently reside in China is hard, it has been estimated that 220,000 foreigners were working in China during the first decade of the 20th century. About one hundred years later, and according to the latest census, there were more than 600,000 of them in 2010, and about 950,000 as for last year.

The perspective of China becoming the world’s biggest economy for sure attracted many foreigners eager to be part of the movement and make the most of it!

But before jumping into the Chinese bath, or even if you already are working or living in China and are eager to make a change in your professional life, it is always useful to get some insight on the local job market. In our case, let’s have a look at the Chinese job market and what it has to offer to foreigners!

ASI Movers being the long-lasting partner of expats moving from, to, or within China, we are happy to provide you a summary of what our experience and our daily contact with the foreign community taught us!

How is the job market evolving?

Which sectors and industries still demand expats?

Are your background and carrer plans suited for you to find a fulfulling job in China?

Let's find out!

What Trends are Shaping the Chinese Job Market for Expats?

First and foremost, it is important to note that while foreign-invested companies employ 85% of expats, Chinese companies tend to prefer locals. Overall, there is no longer a preference for foreigners, except for some niches.

The competition with Chinese has indeed been intensifying with a new generation of middle-class graduates pouring into the job market. Most of the employers tend to prefer bilingual Chinese, especially those who have studied or already worked abroad, as well as those who have a past experience in an international company.

In addition of being as qualified as their foreign counterparts, Chinese employees also mean cheaper wages for companies to pay, which makes them more attractive on the labor market. The traditional expat package is becoming rarer and rarer, even though local packages including housing and tax incentives are sometimes offered. Many younger foreigners, eager to give a shot to the Chinese experience and its career opportunities, tend to give up a higher salary for more challenging and intense job opportunities.

In fact, the gap is narrowing between locals’ wages and expats’. While in the 2000s, foreigners used to earn 10 times more than their Chinese counterparts, they now earn about two or three times more. Salaries paid to Chinese have indeed risen faster than the ones which are to expats.

Recently, the term flexpats has emerged as a new trend. It designates foreigners employed by local Chinese companies, often to the terms local Chinese also do. The jobs they are recruited for do not require much work experience or a higher education (as it is the case for traditional expats). Their motive for coming to China is neither necessarily rooted in them improving their career, nor with the aim of staying long-term. They undertake this journey mainly because it has become easier to live here without speaking Mandarin, especially in big cities, and because the country’s economy is dynamic. They also are more about the experience in itself than their predecessors.

Which Companies and Sectors Are Eager to Recruit Expats?

Even though the job market can seem less welcoming for expats, there still are sectors and niches which are really open to foreigners to join.

00
% of expats working for foreign invested companies

Marketing

The Chinese marketing sector is rather welcoming towards foreigners. Both the biggest local tech companies and smaller entities are eager to recruit expats to fill this function.

Many companies based in China are aiming at taking their share on the international market. They thus start to develop global campaigns, others work as consultants and help local entities to develop internationally, some at last even help foreign companies to expand their activity to the Middle Kingdom and thus need to promote their services abroad. In any case, foreign category managers, product developers, and distribution jobs are sought.

In parallel, the expat community within China is also a target for many companies, which then search for foreigners to communicate more easily with this potential client base.

Foreigners eager to work in this field should have abilities in SEO, SEM and networking (the latter indeed being the case for any job in China).

Management

Management positions are particularly interesting in China since they generally are high-level and well remunerated. Nevertheless, they are mostly targeted towards senior candidates, with experience and credentials, while the competition with locals is increasing.

Being bilingual is always an advantage when seeking for such a position, as well as having a previous experience in China.

Engineering

Even though more and more Chinese graduate in this field, China is still in demand for foreign talents. The latter are sought to manage global projects and to help managing the differences of practices between several countries.

Furthermore, industries such as renewable energies (especially solar energy), oil and gas, automotive manufacturers and heavy industries are particularly eager to employ foreigners.

Companies in these industries are searching for people able to help them take advantage of the country’s recent Green China Plan i.e. find sustainable solutions to pollution issues while also participate in their international reputation.

 

Finance and Accounting

While areas such as Hong-Kong enjoy an established finance market already saturated with foreign workers, the Chinese finance sector is but growing. In addition, it is becoming more and more open to foreign companies, which makes the job market less competitive.

Furthermore, China generally welcomes foreign talents in this field, them bringing their international expertise (them being familiar with the WTO standards for instance) and network.

 

Consulting

With China’s opening to international businesses, consulting is becoming a more and more dynamic field. Whether one chooses to give guidance to the Chinese companies for them to develop abroad, or to foreign companies to develop in China.

Which Profiles Do Companies Seek?

English is no longer the only language one should master to differentiate on the Chinese job market as more and more locals speak it fluently. Being able to speak and write Mandarin has become a requirement for most of the best-paying jobs. Not only will it enable you to access a better job, yet it will also be a valuable asset for completing your tasks, designing and implementing strategies, as well as developing your network.

Having cross-cultural communication skills is also necessary in China, even more than for any other international environment.

Far from being exhausted, the job opportunities for foreigners in China are still numerous. One can acknowledge the fact that the Golden Era of expat packages and being able to access high positions easily without any notion of Mandarin is over, however "flexpats" are becoming the new norm and the job market is still full of potential for those who can adapt to its changes!

 

Discover our full range of solutions!

 

Relocating With Valuable Art Pieces – An ASI Movers’ Story!

Relocating with your art pieces can be stressful.

When moving from one place to another, it can indeed be challenging to find elements surrounding you which bring you comfort, and the feeling of being home. Some elements though, especially the ones that are meaningful to you such as art pieces you chose, are among these things that can help you appropriate a new home. 🌏

However, how to protect these master pieces, these fragile items and their details you care about? 🖼

At ASI Movers, moving is our art. Our expertise enables you to enjoy your art piece wherever you relocate, without even noticing that you moved! 🌟

We pack with care and design a solution adapted to your items and your relocation project for you to leave your special objects move lightheartedly!

The Painting

We thank Christian de Laubadère for granting us the pleasure to admire and move one of his beautiful paintings, which are combined with antique fabrics, printed paper and sculpted coifs. At the meeting point between a traditional Chinese visual vocabulary and European paintings, his "Necks" series focuses on the backs of women's heads and their hairstyles, jewelry, and clothing.

We would also like to thank ArtCN gallery which landed us the painting used in this video and thus trusted our expertise in moving delicate art pieces.

What To Do in Shanghai in September

September is here! Whether you just arrived in Shanghai for the first time, are returning from well-deserved vacations outside the country, or are prolonging a Summer at the office, it is time to take advantage of the many activities as to offer. With the new scholar year, come new habits but also the will to avoid the “back-to-school” blues.

That is the reason why ASI Movers has decided to recommend you 4 events for you to make the month of September the most enjoyable possible! And there is one for every taste!

At ASI Movers, we have been helping expats move to Shanghai for more than 10 years and also know how difficult it can be to get familiar with a city, understand its atmosphere and get involved in its cultural life. We hope that these recommendations will make it easier for you!

For Families:

(Même) Pas Peur

Looking to a fun activity to start the scholar year with your children? There is the perfect event for you and your family!

(Même) Pas Peur is film-concert centered around the story of a not that scary wolf going through a lot of adventures. Funny and friendly, this spectacle will certainly seduce you as well!

The movie is thus accompanied by instrumentals from musicians Anne-Laura Bourget and Ollivier Leroy. Made with percussions from around the world, unusual instruments, keyboards (Indian harmonium, toy, piano), diverted objects and vocals; the music will provide you and your child with a unique experience.

September 7th

10:30am and 3:30pm

1862 Theatre, 1777 Binjiang Dadao, Rizhao Road.

Nb: the performance is in French with Chinese subtitles.

For Jazz Lovers:

JZ Festival

Eager to enjoy experiment a jazzy vibe in Shanghai? Then you should head to the JZ festival, which indeed is China biggest jazz and blues festival, one of Asia’s most famous, and which is also celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.

This year, it brings to you artists such as Lalah Hathaway, Jacob Collier, The Heart Wind & Fire Experience Featuring the Al McKay Allstars, Marcus Miller, Jaga Jazzist, Tia Ray, Cui Jian, Li Quan, the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertbouw Amsterdam, Viento Terral with Andy Hunter. All in all, 75 musicians and bands will be performing over the course for the festival.

The music will cover a lot of styles, ranging from jazz, blues, funk, latin, fusion, r&b to hip-hop.

September 13th-15th

Shanghai Maxus Datong Music Valley

177 Sendi South Road, Shanghai

For Sportspeople & Fashion Aficionados

Fashion RunRunRun

“Fashion x Sport”, pretty self-explanatory! If you are the kind of person who would run a marathon all dressed up in your coolest outfit, then this event is definitely for you! Even if you are not, you should definitely have a look at this unique show!

Two separate runs will be held: the Fashion Run and the Family Run. Consider bringing your friends and/or family along with you!

September 14th-15th  

Fashion Run:

Sep 14th & 15th, 1pm-6pm, RMB200 for one adult.

 

Family Run:    Sep 14th & 15th, 10am-1pm, RMB300 for one adult and one kid, RMB 500 for two adults and one kid.

 

Fashion Run Package:

Sep 14th & 15th: 1pm-6pm, RMB900 for five adults, RMB1,600 for ten adults.

Jing’An Kerry Centre, 1515 Nanjing Xi Lu, by Changle Lu, Shanghai.

For Exhibitions Addicts

International Photography Fair

For the sixth year, PHOTOFAIRS comes back to Shanghai. This is a unique exhibition in China, since it is the only international art fair dedicated to photography in the country. It has become a driver of Chinese photography market. During three days, you can have a look at the work of famous artists such as Marina Abramovic, Yang Fudong, Vivan Maier and Robert Mapplethorpe.

September 20th-22nd

Standard tickets: RMB98 before September 18th, RMB125 after September 18th

VIP tickets: RMB580 before September 18th, RMB620 after September 18th

Shanghai Exhibition Center, 1000 Yan’an Zhong Lu, by Shaanxi Lu

How to Send Your Money Overseas If You Live in China?

As an expat working in Shanghai, you might consider sending money to your family abroad. Sending the money out of the country might be challenging. ASI Movers compiled advices and tips that might be useful to you during the process.

Through Your Bank:

When it comes to money transactions, China is very strict! Using Alipay, Paypal or even sending a Chinese bank card overseas and withdrawing from a foreign country are all considered ILLEGAL!
China has a suitable system if you are willing to send money abroad. You basically need to show that you earned your money in a legal way, and you have paid tax on it.
On your way to the bank, you need to bring your work contract and the yearly income tax statement (you can get this document from the HR or finance department of the company you’re working at). Additionally you will need your passport with a valid Chinese visa (your visa must not expire soon) otherwise the bank will refuse to carry out any kind of transaction. Moreover, you need to provide the bank with the foreign account details: such as the account holder number, name, address, telephone number, the bank Swift and the bank phone number.

the bank teller will certainly be thorough and will reject your application if even one document is missing,so be diligent and make sure you go in prepared!

Once you make sure your taxes are paid and you have all the documents mentioned above, you are good to go, you can send up to 50,000 USD annually, and the limit can vary from bank to bank, so make sure to do some research first.

Note: you might spend a considerable amount of time at the bank, patience is the key!

Taking the cash on a plane:

One other way to send your cash outside China, would be through airplanes, yet the rules are clear, for Chinese and non Chinese citizens the maximum amount that could be carried is 5000 USD.

For more than 10 years, ASI Movers has been accompanying expats and helping them with their relocation from, to and within China. We are aware of the struggles expats might face when moving in or out of China and are dedicated to providing you with the most accurate information regarding your life in the Middle Kingdom, as for your international journey to be the smoothest possible!

Healthcare for Expats in Shanghai:Everything you Need to Know!

Planning to move to Shanghai soon, alone or with your family? You want to know more about the healthcare system in China? ASI Movers delivers you a full guide to facilitate your journey!

About the Insurance

First thing first, before looking for hospitals, you need to fully understand your insurance policy and see what it covers. Keep in mind that, you cannot use a simplified travel insurance once you become a resident. You will have to consider additional fees for certain services (e.g : maternity, mental health, orthodontics..). Generally the cost per person can range between 5 500 RMB and 20 000 RMB annually, the out-patient coverage will be everything else and makes up the majority of insurance claims.

ASI Movers would advise you to consult an insurance provider and choose the package that suits you the most!

Which hospital to choose in Shanghai?

Now what happens if you are sick or need to consult a specialist for any other reasons? ASI Movers has decided to provide a handful guide regarding hospitality facilities foreigner-friendly in Shanghai.

This cosmopolitan city has a wide range of hospitals & clinics to offer. Main options consist in International Hospitals, Local Hospitals and VIP Clinics.

International hospitals

Shanghai United family hospital

  • The price ranges between 1500 RMB and 2000 RMB;

  • They offer services like dental, sports medicine, etc.;

  • Address : 1139 Xianxia Road, Changning District, Shanghai 200336
    上海和睦家医院上海市长宁区仙霞路1139号 邮编:200336

  • Phone number:400 639 3900

Jiahui Health

  • Prices are reasonable for an international hospital however they do not have emergency services;

  • Prices range from 300 RMB up to 1000 RMB;

  • Address : 689 Guiping Lu, by Qinjiang Lu,
    桂平路689号, 近钦江路;

  • Phone number:400 868 3000

Local hospitals

Usually not the option an expat would opt for. Local hospitals do not accept international insurance. They may be very crowded, but you are still likely to find an English speaking doctor and staff in the biggest ones.

Here are some top ranked local hospital, ASI Movers would recommend you:

Huashan Hospital

  • One of Shanghai’s biggest hospitals;

  • Specialized in neurology;

  • Prices range from 38 RMB up to 318 RMB;

  • Address : 12 Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, near Huashan Lu , 华山医院 乌鲁木齐中路12号15楼, 近华山路

  • Phone number:5288 9999

Ruijing Hospital

  • Very easy access and affordable;

  • More specialized in hematology and infection diseases;

  • Prices range from90 RMB up to 300 RMB;

  • Address:197 Ruijing Er Lu ,near Shaoxing Lu瑞金二路197号, 近绍兴路

  • Phone number:6437 0045

VIP clinics

VIP clinics’ concept consists in local hospitals having international divisions. , It is a great alternative to international hospitals which offers very convenient options for expats, as it provides premium services with a medium price. All the VIP clinics are present in most local hospitals.

After having spent 10 years helping expats relocating from, to and within China, we know how essential knowing where and how to find reliable healthcare services is when moving to a new country or city is. For choosing your best healthcare provider as for moving your belongings, ASI Movers is here to provide you with accurate information, expertise & recommendations!

Relocating Abroad With Children: Which School to Choose?

Managing your children's education is obviously one of the most important task as a parent. But when relocating in a new country, it can be hard to make the right choice.

Especially when you do not know the local system, the options available, and if you do not have the opportunity to go on site check the facilities.

That is the reason why ASI Movers has decided to provide you a handful guide as to help you choose the right education system for your kids. More precisely, since our main office is based in Shanghai, enabling us to deliver you a firsthand source of information based on our experience and network, we prepared a comprehensive summary of the options you have on hand in China.

With Summer already being here, it's time for newcomers to investigate their options, and for those already established to learn more about the upcoming back-to-school period!

Which school system to choose for your child in China? ASI Movers will help you make the right decision!

Four options are available for you:

  • Public School (also called State School or Government School);

  • Private School;

  • International School;

  • Homeschooling.

Public School

Public Schools are the ones major part of the local population attends.

ASI Movers would advise you to choose this system if you are considering staying long term in China, as it will enable your child to grasp the local language quickly, become instantly and naturally familiar with the host culture, and merge in the country.

 

How Does the Chinese School System Work?

The Secondary School content can be divided in two parts:

  • Subject courses such as math, science, foreign languages, etc.;

  • Activities

If your child wants to pursue Undergraduate or Graduate Program in China, within the traditional Chinese framework, they will be required to have at least HSK 6 level. Otherwise, English-taught programs for non-Mandarin speakers exist.

 

Features, Pros and Cons

The Chinese educational system is oriented toward preparing for the高考(Gaokao), the local curriculum. Unlike the International Schools, your child will not prepare and pass the International Baccalaureate or you home country’s curriculum.

The courses will only be taught in Chinese, if your child is not familiar with Mandarin, he/she might be held back a few grades as to be able to catch up.

The priority and philosophy are different from the ones in the West: Chinese system relies on rote memorizing, is exam-driven, emphasizes on results and discipline, and primarily focuses on math and science.

Classes are hold 5 to 6 days a week from 7-8am to 4-5pm.

Chinese children usually enroll in extra-courses after class and on weekends, tutoring-like system with extra-curriculum activities (art, sport) is widely spread.

International students will be required (unlike Chinese citizens) to pay a tuition fee of approximately ¥28,000 (~$4,415), which is significantly less than the other options.

As stated before it will enable your child to grasp the local language and customs more easily and to merge into the local culture.

Nevertheless, being the only foreign child in the school can be psychologically challenging (beware of bullying or them feeling excluded).

 

Admission

State Schools are obligated to accept foreign applicants.

The requirements depend on the school, nevertheless you will be asked to provide:

  • Formal application;

  • Passport and visa;

  • Health records;

  • Previous school(s) records;

  • Work and residence permit;

  • (Recommendation letter);

  • (Assessments);

  • (On site interviews and language examination can be held).

Private School

Features, Pros and Cons

Private Schools, like Public Schools, prepare for高考(Gaokao).

They sometimes integrate aspects of international programs or offer courses in English.

Private schools are generally known for their students performing better at the exams.

Most of them provide a boarding option, which can be interesting for expats having heavy loads of work or having to live/work in rural areas with no suitable schools available.

The infrastructures are usually better than those of Public Schools.

They charge tuition fees both for locals and foreigners.

The students are from diverse backgrounds but you usually find foreigners and wealthy Chinese.

 

Admission

Private school decide autonomously who they accept.

The process of admission:

  • Examination;

  • Upfront payment of the tuition fees;

  • (Reports from previous school(s));

  • (Formal interview).

International School

ASI Movers would advise you to choose this system if you want to make the transition the smoothest possible for your child, will not stay for an extensive period in the host country, or if you want your child to easily reintegrate into your home country’s school system.

Features, Pros and Cons

Some International Schools adopt the curriculum of the country they depend on, others are fully international and follow the IB (International Baccalaureate).

International Schools organizations and accreditations:

Teachers are qualified, the schools are often inspected (relevant reports are available on the Internet), and accreditations or school partnership enrollment account for International Schools’ academic level. All in all, the latter is generally high.

Courses are taught in English or home country tongue.

They usually provide host country’s language and culture classes.

Tuition fees are pretty high, ranging from $10,000 (~¥63,500) to $33,000 (~¥209,500).

Nb: Your company can offer to bear the costs of your child’s education.

International Schools are used to receive new students every year from all over the world and will thus easily handle your situation.

These children are from a similar background thus the integration is facilitated.

There are very few (if any) Chinese natives in International Schools.

 

Admission

China counts 340 international schools in total, major part being located in big cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou.

Nevertheless, due to the increasing number of expats coming to China, the demand for these schools is high and there often are waiting lists. Be sure to contact them way ahead of your arrival.

Documents and formalities required:

  • Passport and visa;

  • Previous school(s) records;

  • Health records;

  • Recommendation letter;

  • (Interview);

  • (Entrance Exam).

Homeschooling

Even though gaining popularity among expats, homeschooling is still unlawful in China (due to the fact that every child should complete at least 9 years of compulsory public education) thus, one should carefully investigate the consequences of such a choice on the child’s future academic life.

To make your final decision, your moving partner ASI Movers would advise you to go to your embassy or consulate web page as to gather information about the school options in your area, as well as hanging out on expat forums as to collect firsthand testimonies.

For choosing a school as for moving your belongings ASI Movers is here to provide you with clear information, expertise, and advice!

We have been helping expats families move abroad for more than 10 years, and understand your concerns as well as the specific challenges coming with moving with children.

Celebrating Dragon Boat Festival

This Friday June 7th, your favorite relocation partner office in China will be closed due to a national day-off. The Dragon boat Festival is taking place each 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. ASI Movers will tell you the history behind this day, and how people use to celebrate this event in China.

The history behind the Festival

This day has been a national holiday break for a while now, more than 2,000 years. Originally, this day aims to prevent the population against diseases, by using herbs and medicine. Herbs and ointment used to be sacrificed to the spirit on a dragon boat.

Later, an important public figure died during this day: Qu Yuan. Qu Yuan was a poet and minister of the King of Chu. As a clever and wisdom man, always putting the country and its people first, he was source of good advices for the King, but also created jealousy among its peers. Some official were plotting to make him exile. He composed during his exile one of the most famous poem of the Chinese Literature: 離騷 (Lí Sāo) – Encountering Sorrow. This poem narrates its own life, its fall from the King’s grace, but also its travel around the Chu kingdom after being exiled.

Photo by Wang Qi. Image available under a Creative Commons license.


How well I know that
loyalty brings disaster;
Yet I will endure: I cannot give it up.
I called on the ninefold heaven to be my witness,
And all for the sake of the Fair One, and no other.
There once was a time when he spoke with me in frankness;
But then he repented and was of another mind.
I do not care, on my own count, about this divorcement,
But it grieves me to find the Fair One so inconstant.

Source: From Anthology of Chinese Literature, Volume I: From Early Times to the Fourteenth Century, edited by Cyril Birch (New York: Grove Press, 1965), 51-62.

When he learnt that the kingdom was taken by the Qin, exactly in 278 BCE, he jumped into the Miluo River to drown himself, exactly the 5th day of the 5th month. Respected and appreciated by many locals, the people of Chu were looking into the river with their boat to save him. They were also throwing some cooked rice and poured wine, to feed the fish and avoid them from eating his body.

Celebrating Dragon Boat Festival

To commemorate this day and the spirit of Qu Yuan, people are now eating some Zongzi, sticky rice commonly wrapped in reed leaves (bamboo leaves sometimes), and drinking wine. There is a Zongzi for every taste: they can be filled with date as well as red bean, meat, egg yolk and ham. You can find all around the country some delicious and colorful Zongzi.

The old tradition of preventing disease has not been forgotten. The elders still wear odorous herbs bag on themselves or hanging in the house as well as some other charms.

The most popular activity during this day is definitely the dragon boat racing. This really large boat has a shape of long traditional Chinese dragon (sufficiently long to have sometimes as much as 60 rowers!), opening largely its mouth. The race cannot start without performing a ceremony where rowers paint the dragon’s eye to make it “alive”. A drummer is sitting at the front of the boat, to give rhythm to the rowers. The race illustrates the attempt to save Qu Yuan, and the winner is the team managing to reach first the destination point. Most famous dragon boat race are taking place in the Miluo river at Yueyang (Hunan province), Hong Kong, or Hangzhou in the Zhejiang province. But nowadays, we can actually see this kind of race overseas! This event has become more and more popular overseas, in countries where Chinese ethnics are strongly present (e.g. Japan, South Korea, Australia and Vietnam) or where rowing is already a popular sport (e.g. Britain). Wherever you are in China or anywhere else around the Globe, do not hesitate to take part to this race. It is a good occasion to practice a team sport, and enjoying a day off.

ASI Movers team wishes you a good week-end, and we hope you will enjoy and make the most of this moment, eating some good Zongzi or discovering a fabulous dragon race boat!