Monday, October 7, 2013

WHY SUZHOU?


Unlike the most of expatriates, my husband's company didn't have a location in China yet, when they proposed us to move here. Everything was still to be built and they just said: every place is good, just go and live in Asia.
Asia... a huge place, don't you think? It's quite difficult to chose your next home just spinning the globe. Which country? Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore? Which city?
So I stuck myself to my pc and start seeking.
When you are looking for your new place on the virtual world of web, you must use a lot of imagination and intuition. I started googling and after few days we focused on three countries: Vietnam, Singapore and China.
Vietnam because my husband travelled a lot there for job and he really had loved the country and the people. Singapore because it seems to be a good place to live and China, of course, everybody know, it's the new centre of the world, full of opportunities.
Moreover, some year ago, just for fun, I started studying Mandarin and I really love this language, so I was very interested in practicing.
So we decided: China! Ok... China... again... a rather big place! I started doing research, reading the blogs and forums, joining web groups, watching video on Youtube. I discarded Guangzhou and Shenzhen, I really loved Qingdao, I knew I wouldn't have liked to live in Shanghai. And I had never been before in China!
Then I discovered Suzhou and it seemed that the fate would tell me that it was the right place. We knew (by person or virtually) many people who were already living here and they told us it was a beautiful city and a good place to reside
with a family: not so chaotic and expensive as Shanghai, but international enough to let you find tomato sauce!
I read everything possible about the city, I studied its map, I read the website of the international schools, I browsed the listing of houses... I had never been here before but I already knew it!
My husband, who already was traveling a lot in Asia, visited Suzhou and had a very good impression. So we started on time: we enrolled children in the school well in advance, we contacted many real estate agency and, when I finally got here one week, alone with my husband, we visited 40 apartments in three days!
It hadn't been easy! I remember I was very nervous and I felt as if I were walking on the edge of a precipice, also because in Italy I had to do everything by myself, my husband was already living in China. But we did it!

My tips: if you plan to move abroad, try to get the more information you can about your destination.
Before coming, contact some expat group and try to build your connection in advance. Take a look into the real estate agency web ads, to understand prices, best zones, quality of houses. Read from A to Z the schools web site, in order to be able to give a good choice to your children. Read blogs and forums (they are full of useful information).

Some useful links I used when I was doing my research:

www.expatchina.com - contains the list of the most important cities, for every city you can find the websites of expat associations, international schools and much more.

www.expatwomen.com – articles, blogs, tips and testimonies of lots of women from all over the world

www.expatclic.com - useful resources, articles, and more.




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