Shanghai Collected is definitely a blog worth visiting if you are looking for a glimpse of the good life in Shanghai. In well written and very personal reviews – always illustrated by a variety of beautiful pictures – you’ll get to know the city’s beautiful stores and restaurants up close.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Shanghai etc.
Hi there, I am originally from France and I moved to China 6 (very enjoyable!) years ago. I spent the first 4.5 in Guangzhou and have spent the last 2 years in Shanghai.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
There is a considerable amount of English publications about Shanghai (that’s Shanghai, time out, cityweekend) and although they have extensive resources, they don’t really dig into more specific topics (for example how to organize a wedding in Shanghai) and most importantly they don’t really give an opinion. A blog is much more personal and that’s why started my own page 8 months ago.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I don’t J But strangely enough the one that has driven the most people to my blog is the entry about Le Café des Stagiaires.
For me, the best part of blogging is meeting people who are passionate about what they do and were willing to take some risk to make their dreams come true.
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?
Culture shock? Yes! Trouble getting used to new circumstances? Definitely! These differences and misunderstandings used to make me nervous, sometimes even angry but one day I decided it was too energy consuming and now, most of it makes me laugh.
Also, living in Shanghai has become very livable for foreigners - with hundreds of foreign restaurants, many supermarkets with imported products and a large expat community, people can have almost the same lifestyle as back home.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Shanghai? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I was completely new and unprepared to China when I arrived, I did not even ask to come to China in the first place but looking back, I think I was in the right mindset: opened to change with a strong will to learn everything I could.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Not a funny anecdotes but a very unexpected experience. When I arrived to China, I was a master degree student but by pure chance, I was also hired to be a French teacher in a language university in Guangdong province. I was teaching students my age something I wasn’t really qualified for (I am French but definitely not a “professional” teacher), a situation that can only happen in China.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Shanghai?
Forget what you think you know about China and be willing to learn.
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 fairly large so it was no problem at all to make new friends in the city.
How would you summarize your expat life in Shanghai in a single, catchy sentence?
That’s really impossible for me but you can read a full summary of my life in Shanghai on Shanghai Collected ;)