Life in Shanghai

Life in ShanghaiThe Cosmopolitan hub of China

Shanghai is often described as the intersection of East and West, with many multinational companies opening offices in Shanghai. An emerging middle class is starting to become the largest group of mass consumers, with an ever-evolving thirst for development, diversity and sophistication. Shanghai is on the forefront of economic growth, creative prowess and exciting changes.

Shanghai’s Expat Scene

With a booming international scene in Shanghai, foreigners never cease to be surprised by the eclectic mix of people they encounter here. This city is home to a large population of international students, here for either semesters abroad or undergraduate and graduate/MBA degrees. Shanghai also hosts a big scene of young professionals and recent graduates, who are ambitious, adventurous and looking to make friends and network.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t speak Chinese - English is the common language within the expat circles, even though expats come from countries all over the world. There is a huge variety of expats you can meet in Shanghai that are exploring many other career paths besides purely business. With culture and creativity blossoming in this ever-changing metropolis, you will meet artists, musicians, fashion-designers, gallery owners, DJs and models all seeking a unique experience, adventure and inspiration in Asia.

INA will offer suggestions to participants looking to find expat hangouts, whether they be restaurants, cafes, bars, shopping areas or anything else. We can also arrange for you to join international football (soccer) teams or direct you towards the right sports bar to watch your favorite team play from home!

All Comforts of Home

If you're worried you won't be able to find your favorite products from home, don’t fret: our staff are experts at where to find American & European goods around Shanghai. You can find everything you need to feel at home, from imported steak, cereal, cheese, Italian meats, to American chips and candy. Our apartments are also fully equipped with everything you’re used to at home. Of course, we also highly recommend trying out Chinese cuisine, products and services!

City Highlights

Shanghai has a spectacular variety of things to see that illuminate both the city’s past and its future. Just take a look at the city’s skyline from the Bund, canvassing the Pudong skyline. It boasts some of the world’s tallest buildings including the JingMao Tower, Pearl TV Tower and the newest World Financial Center. Bund-side you'll find old colonial style buildings, a reminder of Shanghai’s past when the Pearl of the Orient served as an international hub during the 1920s and 30s. 

With stunning architecture, lit up on weekend nights for tourists and late-night revelers to enjoy. Travel over to the former French Concession to get a different feel of little neighborhoods with lane houses, smaller buildings, outdoor cafes, markets and pretty tree-lined streets. Head to Taikang Lu to see typical Chinese alleyways transformed into a gallery, shop and restaurant-filled maze. Experience modern Shanghai, with an old twist in Xintiandi where a new development has taken shape combining the use of old Chinese architecture with new shops and restaurants. 

Life in Shanghai - JingAn TempleWhat to Expect


Shanghai’s climate consists of a warm spring, hot summer, cool autumn and cold winter. In late spring-fall you can expect rain, with heavy thunderstorms in August-September. Pack light clothes for summer as July and August are know for intense heat and relentless humidity. Heavy clothes are a must for winter as the moisture makes it feel colder than it actually is. In spring, weather fluctuates and can require a light jacket one day and swimsuit the next. Best to pack versatile layers for spring, with expectations of approaching summer heat. Layering is also a good idea for fall as in early months warm weather can linger and provide some of the nicest days in Shanghai. While approaching November it starts to get increasingly cold and sweaters, coats and gloves are advised.


Transportation in Shanghai has evolved to become efficient and convenient. Taxis are the easiest means of transport during non-peak hours with rides starting at 14rmb. Most places within Shanghai are reachable by taxi for less than 30rmb. Metro and buses in Shanghai are easy to navigate once you have been introduced. INA staff will provide interns with instructions on how to reach their office by both taxi and public transportation. Transportation cards (given upon arrival) can be used to enter both metro and bus and can even be used to pay for taxis. Metro rides within Shanghai cost 3rmb, while buses cost 2rmb per ride (buses are only 1rmb if used after transferring from Metro).


Shanghai is home to some of China’s best cuisine. As a bustling metropolis, you can find almost any kind of food you’re craving – from regional Chinese dishes, Italian Aperitivo, to American burgers. Feeling adventurous? Try some of Shanghai’s street food for a snack (not for the weak-stomached) or satisfy your hunkering for spice with some Hunan or Sichuan food!

For lazy days, we recommend the take-away service Sherpa's, which delivers food from hundreds of restaurants all over Shanghai, right to your doorstep!


Sanya (Sānyà; 三亚)

Escape the city and work on that tan in China’s beach town in Hainan! Taste some of China’s freshest seafood and tropical fruits while relaxing on the beach. We know that working in a bustling city like Shanghai can require some Rest & Relaxation. Experience Sanya’s fresh air, surrounded by beaches and mountains. Enjoy a well-deserved getaway mid-session with fellow interns as you explore the island. Pick from water sports, golf or spa treatment as a part of your island vacation. Sanya offers everything from beautiful sunsets, to lively nightclubs. A perfect vacation from the chaos of big-city life.

Xi’an (Xī'ān; 西安)

Come with us to central China to see one of the World’s most famous historical sites – The Terracotta Warriors. As capital of Shaanxi Province, Xi’an houses this extraordinary treasure as well as many other Ming Dynasty sites. Taste some of central China’s delicacies and cuisine, during this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Hangzhou (Hángzhōu; 杭州)

Hangzhou is the culturally rich capital of the Zhejiang Province in the east of China, with a history dating back to the 13th century. The city is best known for its West Lake, with its stunning scenery. After walking around the lake, try out the famous Hangzhou cuisine and then have a look around the various different temples with gorgeous statues. Many of the tourist sites have funny names, like the Cave of the Morning Mist, Sunset Glow, and Running Tiger Dream Spring. Hangzhou is 180km away from Shanghai, but it only takes about 45 minutes to get there by high-speed train from the Shanghai South Railway Station.

Suzhou (Sūzhōu; 苏州)

Situated 100km west of Shanghai, Suzhou is another quaint place to spend a day or two. Its network of canals, lined with little stone bridges and pretty cottages give it its nickname ''Little Venice". Among the different various attractions in Suzhou, make sure to visit the Beisi Pagoda (北寺塔; Běisì Tǎ), which was constructed in the 14th century. Also, stop by the Lingering Garden (留园; Liú Yuán) (categorized as a World Heritage site by the UNESCO), where you can find statues, bonsais, caves, etc. The city is also famous for its embroidered tapestries and silk handicrafts, so keep an eye out for those too.

Huangshan (Huángshān; 黄山)

The Yellow Mountain, with its wonderful scenery, is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful spots in China. Although it's a little further away - about 500km southwest of Shanghai - the 50km of breathtaking walks are worth the trip. One of the most famous spots is a wall of so-called 'longevity locks', which are small padlocks onto which lovers etch their names. You can walk by the two lakes (Taiping and One Thousand Islets) and the three waterfalls (the “Renzi Waterfall", "Baizhang” and the “Jiulong Pu” which means “Nine Dragon Waterwall”). You can climb the mountain or take a cable railway to save time. Watch the famous movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to get a feel for what the Yellow Mountain is like.