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Interview with Lisa Cavanagh and her family

Lisa and her husband Andrew are both British and teachers at the British International School Shanghai where Andy is head of the Secondary school and Lisa is Head of Year 10 and a teacher of MFL and EAL.  They have two boys aged 9 and 4 who enjoy attending the primary school at BISS Puxi.


  • Lisa and her family

Lisa enjoys her life here in Shanghai.  The school is an excellent place to work with highly motivated students, great colleagues and supportive, interested parents.  Shanghai is a dynamic, cosmopolitan city with lots to explore and do.  Huacao Town has a lovely community feel and you can get what you need here for day-to-day living.  Shanghai also feels very safe.

Things I would bring with me to make us feel at home and settle into school are toiletries, off the shelf medication and teabags!  At school I would come well prepared with school shoes and trainers.

Where do you live?

We decided to live at Westwood Green East.  It is within easy reach of school and the local community, quiet and nice with modern housing.  It takes me 10 minutes to get to school by tuk tuk!!!  I bought the tuk tuk online, on Taobao, having seen my neighbour driving one!

Where do you do your shopping?

For meat and fish, I use kate and kimi online – they deliver (same day if you order early enough).   I also buy some long-life products on their website such a wholemeal pasta.  Due to the number of supermarkets selling expat goods which have opened up in the local community in recent months, I now buy a lot of long-life goods, as well as dairy products locally and they will deliver as soon as you want.  There are also some nice bakeries where you can buy a range of good bread and baked goods.  Our ayi buys our fruit and veg from the local market as she needs to.  For household products I make a monthly/2-monthly trip to Carrefour and stock up.

What do you like to do with the family at the weekend in the local area?

We like to meet up with friends and the boys have play-dates.  We eat out a lot at the restaurants in the local community.  There is a climbing wall centre, a soft-play for younger children and a trampoline centre (Jump 360) all within 5 minutes of the school community. When we need some greenery we head to Sheshan Sculpture Park, or there is Zhudi Town park on the doorstep.  We like to explore downtown and have had a number of weekend staycations in the city, enjoying a bit of luxury whilst having the opportunity of being in amongst the action!

Locally we like to have lunch at Café du Village, Baker and Spice or Luke’s.  I discovered a small Taiwanese noodle soup shop last weekend which has a limited range of noodle and rice dishes, but they are delicious and good value for money. This is located next to Luke’s.   There is also Pizza Express when the mood suits.  For dinner with the children we would choose the Blue Frog or Nar Café.  A good Indian restaurant, Red Pepper has also opened up locally which we have enjoyed food from.

When eating out in the city with the children, the first choice would be Din Tai Fung every time!  We also like Simply Thai and have eaten at some of the Vietnamese pho restaurants with them.  There is a nice, albeit tiny, pho restaurant on Hongmei Lu, as well as a great, cheap and cheerful Cantonese restaurant called Sweeties.  There are of course chains of Western style restaurants downtown which you can always rely on to suit young families.