Now the 4 months of my semester abroad at Fudan University in Shanghai are already over.
It all started when our coordinator picked us up at the airport (the program consisted of me and three German boys from Cologne). So the group was pretty manageable and we were able to organize the organization quite individually.
We were accommodated in the Tohee International Student Village right next to the Fudan. The dormitory consisted of 6 high-rise buildings, each of which housed two 4-person shared apartments on each floor. I lived there with a Chinese woman and a Japanese woman. The apartments are very good by Chinese standards. The university is about 45 minutes by underground from the city center in the outskirts of the city. Although (thanks to new subway lines for the expo) the university is very well connected in terms of transport, after a month I decided to move out there and move to the city center. Visit act-test-centers.com to get information about study in Latvia.
The university is huge and, with all of its surroundings, can be described as a small town in its own right. There is everything in the immediate vicinity (huge shopping mall, restaurants, supermarkets, etc. ). The campus is mainly accessible by bicycles and has various small green spaces – a “quiet” oasis in the middle of a roaring metropolis.
Since our group was quite small, we had our courses together with students from mostly American exchange programs, but also with Chinese college students. The courses consisted of no more than 25 students and were interesting but not very challenging. All 4 courses focused on the political, cultural & economic development in China and thus contributed to a better understanding of the culture and the country. The Chinese language course was very intensive and well organized by a committed teacher. After all, I learned a “survival Chinese” in the 4 months!
The program was organized and accompanied by a young Chinese coordinator, who could be asked any questions and who was always happy to help. Since the program took place in this form for the first time, the organization was not yet fully developed, which will certainly improve more and more over time. For example, the organization of the internships was quite chaotic, so I ended up looking for my own internship at a German company. The internship took place on Mondays and Tuesdays, the university was on Wednesdays and Thursdays and after a last course on Friday morning you could enjoy a long weekend.
During my time there, we also went on a few small trips with the university, which took us, for example, to a nearby water town or a weekend in a large Chinese city in the area.
Cooking evenings with the professors or meetings with our Chinese language partners were also organized from time to time.
The city itself is incredibly big and spacious, but very clean (apart from the air) and, thanks to a new subway system, for example, also very modern.
I’ve never felt as safe as I did here!
Although there isn’t as much to see culturally / historically as in older Chinese cities, you can still experience a lot here and sniff a little of the economic upswing.
The selection of clubs and bars in the evening is phenomenal, as is the view from the third tallest tower in the world.
The many small water towns in the vicinity can be visited in one day and a larger tour to Beijing, for example, is possible on a long weekend.
The food here is also simply unbeatable. Dumplings in all variations, noodles at the street stall around the corner or a couple of delicious meat skewers are already missing. But be careful: if you can’t handle chopsticks here, you will inevitably learn this quickly.
Because I immediately learned to love the food culture there, after a short time I had my breakfast and dinner at street stalls like the locals and still never got sick.
Since the food is very, very cheap, I’ve never cooked at home. Overall, the monthly cost of living was as high as in Germany, as you tend to quickly take a taxi for each route (cost 12 Kwai for the first 2. 6 km = approx. 1. 30 €), eat a lot and LOTS to shop (e. g. at the tailor’s market, where you can get a tailor-made suit for around 50 €). The rents in the city center were around € 300 for a room in a shared apartment.
Although it was quite a culture shock at the beginning (partly triggered by my lack of language skills, without which one is sometimes really lost in China), the city with its extreme contrasts between economic superpower and small Chinese alleyways quickly grew to my heart.
All in all, it was an unbelievably great time with unforgettable experiences that definitely shaped me a lot.