Shanghai has a wealth of perspectives and every person has their own story. We all made the choice to be here and different elements attract different individuals. Even if you are Shanghainese and born into the city we still remain here because we feel we are part of something incredible. It is hard to define why exactly we love this city because it depends on the individual and your perspective.

Andy Curtain

I grew up in Melbourne and always wanted to live overseas. I knew when I graduated if I didn’t go then I’d never leave, so I bought a ticket to China and woke up on a couch 24 hours following my last exam, after 7 and a half years of uni. I worked in banking for a few years and spent the time trashing my soul both on and off work until I started doing comedy. There’s something magical about the chaos in this city, it was an incredible boot camp of life before it became home.

Marianne (Stay in Character)

In the old days when I got here 2001, there seemed to be a number of guys who introduced themselves as a spy or had been working for the CIA as such. Whether if it was at a busy club or at a party, they needed a confidante, counselor or … who knows but for pick-up lines, it was feeble. Where did they all come from? Surprisingly, a good friend confessed he was a secret service agent after a year! He left straight away when 9/11 happened. Shanghai was the haven where cowboys and con-men congregated (this probably explains the number of spies back then too hmmm?) I have plenty of strange stories and even considered being a stand-up comic.

Andreas Jones-Rooy

Growing up I had this idea that I would live an international and glamorous life. When I turned thirty years old I was living and working in Pittsburgh and frustrated that my life was boring. I got an unexpected offer to come out to Shanghai to be a post-doc for a brand new university called New York University Shanghai — which is just what it sounds like — a mini kind of version of NYU, but in Shanghai. I hadn’t planned to move to China but figured it was at least going to be more interesting than Pittsburgh. Once I got here I discovered that Shanghai had much to offer besides a cool new university — very long story short, because of Shanghai I can now also call myself a professional circus performer and a comedian. My life isn’t exactly glamorous (I literally ate beans out of a can for dinner tonight), but because of Shanghai, I have gotten to be all the things I always wanted to be. What more could you want from a city?

Karen Chung

I came to Shanghai just five years ago. I came here for opportunities, not for a job, but for finding myself. However, I found myself quite frankly lost and confused in this City at first. I got a part-time job with a friend who was about to leave. I was left here with no friends, family or ideas. This nadir catalyzed my new start. You can’t be lost the whole time, you need to find yourself and have a goal. I made mine. I decided that I wouldn’t leave until I knew every street in Shanghai. Five years passed, I now know half of them. I love the fact that in Shanghai, things seem to be easier. You can be whatever you want, yet, you need to find your community.

You also need to learn how to traffic-dodge. For the record, I got hit twice. Nevertheless, I still love many aspects like, the ex-pat community which, seems to adapt to the local mentality. We are cool, as long as we have money. The money to help others and to afford a good life. It is amazing that a money-driven city can show you a lot of love. I experience loads of love from friends, friends of friends, friends that come and go and strangers. I appreciate the random generosity in this City which makes life that bit more precious.

Mark Simon

My life is hockey. I work with a kids’ hockey club, coaching and managing a group of about 40 kids between the ages of 6 and 11. I am also on the Board of the Shanghai Hockey Club (SHC) and play for fun in the league with 180 other hockey friends from around the world. I like to organize and run hockey camps and tournaments around China and Asia for both kids and adults. I arrived in Beijing in 2006 and started working with hockey in 2007. I then moved to Shanghai in 2012.

Living in Shanghai and working in the field I am most passionate about is truly a dream. Though it isn’t as bohemian and culturally rich as Beijing, it still has an exciting vibe. I love the contrast of old and new that is evident everywhere both with the people who live here and with the architecture.

Serina Huang

I am an actress and have lived here for six years. I am originally from the North East of China but when I return people no longer recognize me as Northern. Shanghai has changed me, but for the better. Although I will never forget my roots – Shanghai’s elegance has rubbed off on me and improved my style. Although Beijing is the cultural center I will always stay in Shanghai. This City has become part of my consciousness and defines the person that I have now become!

Matt Whately

Looking for adventure and intrigued by the mystery of a place I didn’t know at all, I initially came to Shanghai on a whim. Now during my fourth year in the city, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Starting out as an English teacher, I quickly aligned my work with my passion and started Boar Sports, a hockey stick and apparel supply company. Infected by the entrepreneurial spirit so alive in this city, this year I also expanded into my other passion and helped start 5IT, focusing on web, app, and what development. I have found that countless opportunities abound in this great city, filled with wonderful, interesting, and amazing people that truly make it the special place it is. However I have to admit, I still prefer Canadian winters!


I am New Shanghainese and I have lived in Shanghai for 13 years I love Shanghai’s innovation, advancing with the times! I love its cuisine and delightful dumplings! Fashion Week, the Exhibitions and the Nightlife provide endless culture and superb entertainment. Shanghai’s rapid development means that Culture is rapidly changing in unison.

As part of my job as a Scuba Diving Instructor, I travel the Globe organizing diving trips. Nevertheless, wherever I travel, I always miss Shanghai! This is my home and now I run Seaisee diving center in Shanghai. I am amphibious and love Shanghai’s rivers that flow into the Sea. Shanghai has given me an amazing platform in business and I am forever fascinated by her beauty. I feel like a Mermaid but my home on land is in Shanghai!


I work in the Advertising field and we work with numerous well-known brands. My work-life is extremely busy but my home-life is great, because of my Shanghai Ayi. She brings warmth to my home and leaves it pristine and immaculate. When rain is forecast, she will call me and remind me to take my umbrella. If I forget my keys she will always be there to let me in, sometimes at unsociable hours. Furthermore, I love the way that Shanghainese Aunties clean up their dog’s dirt on the streets and show respect for their City. This sends ripple effects to everyone in protecting and improving this wonderful City and keeping it clean!

Jill Chen

I am Shanghainese and proud of this City and have many reasons why I love this city – from the old French architecture to the autumnal foliage but my main appreciation here is – Music. I am a classical music magazine editor. In my spare time, I love to play the violin. This has allowed me to meet many wonderful people here. If you love Music then Shanghai will embrace you! I love all of the different genres from the Jazz scene to the wonderful world of Opera. I have been fortunate to participate in a Jazz School, which has allowed me to evolve as a violinist. I always loved Wagner and envied the Bayreuth Opera Festival in Cologne but such is the gravity of Shanghai that this festival opened here in 2011. More artists from Opera singers to popular musicians now play here regularly enlightening Shanghai adding to its beautiful rhythms!

Lyn Yuan

In 1998 I came back to my Mother’s home City, Shanghai. I went to University with the desire of the Educated Youth. Shanghai’s brash, colorful life opened up a new exciting journey for me. This City is now several times larger than it was before. I went to new areas where I could discover new things. For an art student, 365 days a year Shanghai would inspire me with endless creative ideas. After completing my Master’s degree I set up my own design studio called “Union design”.

Compared with other Chinese cities, Shanghai is more like an open-minded wise lady whose stomach can accommodate the rivers of creativity. She is full of charm fusing Eastern and Western influences.

I feel an enormous sense of pride when our design projects decorate the many corners of Shanghai. The fast pace of the city energizes me in my work! Hence, I LOVE SHANGHAI!

Cici Pan

Shanghai is a magical City! This is the place where young people yearn to be. I came here five years ago with high hopes and fortunately found work. I am now a make-up artist and model agent.

If you have just arrived in Shanghai you will face a complicated journey. The vast network of Shanghai streets resembles a big spider’s web and you could be lost easily! However, every little Shanghai Street has its own individual meaning intertwined with history. Nanjing West Road represents the vicissitudes of life with its bustling pedestrians contrasted with beautiful lines of trees. The individual charms of getting lost yet discovering so much more are part of the reason why I love this place.

Vivian Xiao

I am a freelance designer-artist-stylist, I own a fashion related brand called “Pinkzombie”. The reason I moved to Shanghai 6 years ago was that this was my dream City and still is. It has both cultural and contemporary aspects and it’s own flavor of the living phenomenon. Whether you are a local or from abroad there are a host of unexpected challenges and opportunities. Living here has hugely inspired my creations. I love the City so much that I don’t think that I can live anywhere else!


Joe Nafis

I was drawn to the big city vibe and knew Shanghai was growing fast. I arrived with some savings and spent three months in a hostel looking for a job. I have always loved film. I, therefore, decided to pursue that passion! I got started with a local production company. At the same time, I developed another passion of mine – time-lapse photography. I love seeing things in new perspectives, especially involving time. Its ever-changing landscape and fast-paced lifestyle made Shanghai the perfect place to be. Now after 6 years, I call Shanghai home. Learning about Shanghai, and China, through film has been fascinating.

Author: Enjoy Shanghai

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