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Expat kids admit they lack friends
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Expatriate children living in Shanghai want to make more friends in the city, according to a survey conducted by Jinchen Green Property Service Organization, a local real estate agent.

The survey asked 120 children, from more than 10 countries and regions, who live in the international communities of Lujiazui, Green City, Lianyang and Oriental Compound. Of the surveyed kids, 33 percent said they had almost no friends and 44 percent said they only had a few. The children hoped more opportunities would be offered to help them make friends.

Expatriate children are most satisfied with their life in the city's international schools, according to the survey. They said the schools arranged many courses and activities. When they had difficulties in their studies and relationships, most were happy to seek help from teachers.

As for life in the city, the respondents generally thought it was different from that in their own countries.

While they were satisfied with the city's environment, shopping and entertainment facilities, they didn't speak highly of the city's traffic and public sanitation.

"It is quite convenient to live in Shanghai," said Linda, 15, from the United States. "There's a good variety of stuff to buy and it is a cheap place to live. But sometimes people spit in the street and the driving is dangerous, and the public toilets aren't clean." Linda said she hoped something would be done to solve the traffic congestion downtown.

"Locals are open-minded and friendly," said the teenager, who has lived in Shanghai for three years. "Life here is quite interesting and I have got used to living here. I've begun enjoying it. But one thing I don't agree with is that some people think foreigners are rich. I need to say, in fact, we are making a contribution to this city."

The respondents were generally satisfied with community greenery and security, real estate quality and property services.

"I chose to rent a villa in the Jinjue Villa community," said a French woman whose family has been here for eight years. "From here to my sons' school or going shopping, it only takes 20 minutes' drive. Living here, we can enjoy a quiet environment, good greenery and a spacious and bright house. Overall, it's our ideal home."

(Shanghai Daily October 26, 2008)

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