Amber: The China Travel Blog
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Shanghai, etc.
Hi. My name is Amber Mizerak and I’m from a small town in Pennsylvania in the USA. I moved to Jiangxi Province in 2009 and lived, taught and traveled for two years before moving to Shanghai for the exciting vibe and career opportunities.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
In November 2011 I began writing and editing for Ctrip and their sister site, Chinatravel.net. Many of my friends and family members told me I should write a book, so I finally decided I had enough stories about my time in rural China and it was time to share them.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
One of my favorite entries was about taking the plunge and moving to China.
Here’s some more from fellow Chinatravel.net bloggers:
- Best iPhone apps for travelers in China
- Qin Shi Huang: The man and his legacy
- Chinese cooking workshop: a xialongbao adventure
Tell us about the ways your new life in Shanghai differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Life is Shanghai is easy in a lot of ways. I haven’t done dishes in years or cleaned for that matter, thanks to our Ayi. I have a good job and not too many responsibilities which leaves me quite a bit of time for exploring and traveling…and then writing about it. I definitely experienced culture shock when I first arrived to China and probably still do every day. I find it difficult sometimes to deal with all the pushing and lack of manners sometimes, but overall it’s a good life.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Shanghai? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
Initially, I thought it would be easier to land a high paying job in Shanghai, but I was surprised when it took a few months to get sorted (and land a normal paying job). I didn’t realize Shanghai was so expensive! I’m trying to save more money while here and I wish I’d been saving this whole time.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Sure. I lived in Jiangxi Province for two years and was one of only 10 foreigners living in the small city. Thanks to this ratio, I found myself on billboards, bridges and signs all around town promoting red wine. The funny thing is they did the photo shoot in the dead of winter and when they blew it up to this size of a billboard, you could see all the Goosebumps on my arms…thanks to no central heating of course.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Shanghai?
- Bring some comforts from home, whether it be good coffee, your favorite snack or toiletries, it’s annoying when you can’t find something you are used to, like aftersun or moisturizer that doesn’t bleach your skin.
- Stock up on English books or get a kindle.
- Do some research on how to find an apartment and not get ripped off.
How is the expat community in Shanghai? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
The expat community in Shanghai is awesome! You can make friends easily and most people are ready for a good time all the time!
How would you summarize your expat life in Shanghai in a single, catchy sentence?
Push it to the limit, one more time…