5 essential things that help you connect with your new room mates

5 essential things that help you connect with your new room mates

Shanghai, the most expensive city in China for expats, is not a place where you easily find an affordable apartment, especially not for newcomers. I bet many of us started their new journey in China from a place they shared with a bunch of people from all over the world - some easy to get along with and ... well, the others.

But don't we all want to enjoy our life after traveling thousands of miles to get here?

So, for all Shanghai newcomers, we introduce the 5 essential things that help you connect with your new room mates.


  • 1) English Speaking Ayi

Being something that people tend to put off (and off and off and ...) 'cleaning' has and will always be a reason for quarreling. Whether it is about cleaning the toilet, the kitchen sink or the sofa that - mostly - has not received any cleaning in years. Fighting over such things sometimes threatens the relations of even the best room mates.

It doesn't have to be like this. How about organising an 'Ayi' to take care of the tasks mentioned above before they even become a reason to quarrel about with your new room mates?

Ayis are mostly paid per hour and due to the increase in foreign families looking for an Ayi, some of them are able to communicate in English, thus making it a lot easier for people who just arrived and do not speak much more than 'Nihao' and 'Xiexie'.


  • 2) Professional Carpet Cleaning Service

Many years as a shared apartment and many kinds of inhabitants can sometimes leave stains that even the best Ayi cannot get rid of.

Cleaning something like the carpet thoroughly makes for a good present for your new room mates, since, after all, the carpet is something every member touches with their feet and who wants to step on ancient remains of former generations of inhabitants on a daily basis?


  • 3) Tai Chi Kung Fu class

It is said that people start connecting with each other by doing something together like for example exercising, cooking, watching movies or ... enjoying the feeling of total relaxation during a Tai Chi Kung Fu class.

Groups of people doing Tai Chi together is a common sight in China and this sport is gaining more and more popularity among foreigners as well.

So how about you invite your new room mates to this special kind of exercise and try to deepen your connection while feeling like a local? Although Tai Chi is typically done in the early morning, classes can be held during any time of the day and are therefore suitable for your late rising room mates as well.


  • 4)  Board Games

In case you were not able to persuade your fellow room mates to join you for the Tai Chi class, how about organising a game night with good old board games to break the ice? Lately everything in China can be done with a few strokes on the smartphone and games are mostly played online, so challenging them to a round of, lets say UNO, with real cards can be a welcoming change for those room mates who have been in China for quite a while.

(And don't forget to buy drinks!)


  • 5) 3D Printing Pen

Since we were talking about doing things manually, how about gifting your room mates with a 3D Printing Pen that allows you to draw things in 3D and can be used as your new ultimate communicate tool?

"Milk is finished. Can somebody please go and buy some?" is only a few words that can easily be conveyed via Wechat, but leaving a colorful 3D pack of milk with maybe the two Chinese characters 没有 (meiyou = no/none) on the kitchen table adds a human touch to the communication (and thus increases the possibility that someone actually buys milk).


Oh, and maybe 6) A welcoming smile never fails either (and it is priceless.. :-).

Well, I guess you can figure out where to get number 6, but what about the others?

Check out:

It is a website and WeChat based platform with hundreds of classifieds for a huge variety of services and second hand products in Shanghai. Second hand you say? Hand on the heart, if you had the money to buy new things wouldn't you just use this money to rent an apartment of your own? Second hand things also all have their own story and now you can decorate them with your own, personal Shanghai story.

And... That's it!


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