Huangpu River Tour & Shanghai

Our time in Shanghai these past four months was incredibly fleeting. It seems only yesterday that we arrived at the airport, jet-lagged and in desperate need of a shower, and headed to our dorms for the first time. The adjustment to life in Unijia, life at Fudan, and life in Shanghai in general was difficult at first, but we slowly grew more accustomed to our new way of life in this part of the world. It’s been an incredible experience, and I am so glad to have spent my semester in China.

One of the most rewarding experiences during my time in Shanghai was our boat ride on the Huangpu River. We met up as a group for dinner, and immediately went downtown afterwards for a boat ride on the water. Although the weather in Shanghai has gotten significantly colder in recent months, this was one of the last temperate nights before the arrival of winter. Upon arriving at the dock, we made our way to the top level of the boat so we could enjoy the best view of the Bund. I was especially glad to partake in this experience because last time I was in Shanghai, my high school group had organized to take this same boat ride with our Chinese host families, but my sister got extremely sick the day before. I stayed back at the hotel with her, and was unable to take the boat ride that our classmates raved about for days afterwards. And now, I see why. It was an incredible experience to see the Bund and the downtown area lit up at night.

Another one of my favorite experiences in Shanghai was a dinner I attended with my Chinese teacher and some of her friends from the ICES Language School at Fudan University. I am enrolled in this program for the spring of 2019, and my teacher was kind enough to introduce me to some of the current students. We met up for dinner at a restaurant near Wujiaochang and spent the evening discussing not only the program and the structure of the classes, but also about life in Shanghai in general. Two of these students were Moroccan, and the other was Italian; we spoke for the majority of the dinner in Mandarin, but we switched between English, Arabic, and Italian (and some Spanish!) as well. I was grateful for this opportunity to meet other people and learn more about their experiences in Shanghai. We got to swap stories and bond over common struggles (mostly related to our VPNs), and it was interesting to meet other foreigners studying Chinese. Since I am staying in China for another semester, I am really glad that I chose to remain in Shanghai – there is still so much to see and do within the city. I learned a great deal over the course of the semester, and feel as though I’ve become more confident in my Mandarin speaking. I still can’t believe it’s the end of the program, but I am glad to have taken part in this experience!