What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
How long have you lived there?
What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?
If you are a parent with children in one of the international schools, I strongly recommend that you get in touch with the school parents committee. Friends of Dulwich has regular meet ups and social events. The Expat Association of Suzhou also had fortnightly coffee mornings and members can enjoy discounts at various local businesses as well as networking opportunities. The Internations Organisation also has a significant presence where members gather for monthly international buffets and socialising.
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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.
Suzhou holds many Bhuddist temples and most of the locals follow this religion. There is a small christian community with one catholic and three small protestant churches. Recently, the Christian church has fallen under closer government observation and tighter restrictions. Generally, the younger generation are open and embracing towards diversity.
What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?
The main industries in Suzhou are in engineering and technology, with major companies such as Bosch, Samsung, Huawai . Pharmaceutical companies also have a presence as does education. Most expats from the UK work in education. Most from Korea and Germany work in engineering. Hospitality is also flourishing, with foreign investment and workers from Italy, Spain and India.
In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?
Suzhou has more of a family-friendly feel than it's sister city; Shanghai. Many expats prefer to move here from Shanghai when they start a family. The expat scene has a strong work focus but socialising often revolves around eating and bars. There is also a sport and fitness scene, with the f45 fitness, a running and a cycling community.
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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.
If you have children, decide if you want to be in a more family friendly compound, such as Lakeshore Gardens or one that has a more singles demographic. Definitely get in touch with the schools' parents' committees.
As well as a flourishing shopping and hospitality scene, Suzhou Industrial Park contains vast areas of factories and company head quarters, with little else to do. Are your priorities to be near the schools and/or work place or to be near the recreational parts of the city? If the latter, then chose a compound that is close to Jinji Lake. Make sure to check out the old town and visit the heritage gardens to gain a flavour of what pre-industrial Suzhou was like.