Shanghai Experience

My time in Shanghai was incredible. I fell in love with the city the moment I got here. I did not know how beautiful the Bund was until I visited it at night. I spent most of my free time exploring the Shanghai food scene; I explored the city by traveling to recommended restaurants in different neighborhoods. After becoming acclimated to the food, I decided to focus specifically on finding the best food, which almost always ended with me ducking and weaving between waves of people and bikes swooshing back and forth the French concession.

I am pretty exhausted. I have had to manage time my last week studying for finals, connecting to VPN, exploring those last few places on my DianPing list, and emotionally preparing myself to leave this fantastic city. I must admit, I have not been happier at any point in my college career than I have been during this abroad experience, but I am also looking forward to bringing my recharged self back to Davidson for my last year-and-a-half (fingers crossed.) Either way, I’m just going to toss out my final thoughts:

I have to admit, I expected local people to be more reserved when talking to foreigners, but quickly realized that my ability to communicate using the local language automatically side-stepped any surface-level reservations. At the beginning of the semester, my conversations with my taxi drivers were limited to my favorite Chinese dishes and to talking about the weather. By the end, I was talking about the future of electric cars, beauty standards, and China’s soft power.
I did not have one favorite place in Shanghai; I know it sounds corny, but every week I found a new place or district that I ended up revisiting a few times, only to move onto the next new place. I do have to admit, I went to the Fake Market over 10 times during my stay here– bargaining became more of a hobby than a shopping tactic… (at one store, Lucas– my bargaining partner– and I were able to bargain a custom leather jacket down from 2000 kuai to 800.)

Oh, and I love Mobikes. I will be very sad not to have them once I return to Davidson.

Davidson NEEDS a Daxuelu, or at least a 1/5 of it, or AT LEAST a noodle place.

My time in Shanghai allowed me to learn what kind of learner I am, and I feel like it was an invaluable life experience. I made some incredible connections with the people at Fudan, the restaurants, the Didis, the markets, and just by walking around the city. I I feel like I owe the city after it treated me so well this semester, and I am excited to see how it has changed next time I return. I will be back Shanghai, and I will come bearing presents.

Shoutout t0 all my peers, teachers, and friends who have joined me during this experience, 我爱你们. I cannot wait to share all my experiences with my family and close friends!

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