My semester in Shanghai has begun. I am going to school at East China Normal University (ECNU). This school is one of the top schools in China known for their teaching program. I decided to do the Business Language and Culture program because it allows me to take a wide range of classes including a language class, a macroeconomic class, and a film and society class.
I just met my Chinese roommate, named Arnold, who is a master’s student here studying Computer Science. It has been tough here to speak Chinese because almost everyone can speak English and almost everyone wants to show that they can speak English. Sometimes I will ask a random person a question in Chinese and they will answer me in English. Lucky for me my roommate is not like that, he prefers to speak Chinese and so we, for the most part, only speak Chinese. This is great practice to take what I learn in class and actually apply it.
The campus is really pretty with a river flowing through the center with a ton of Lilly pads on top. Surrounding the water are a few small pagodas with some wild cats and dogs running around. I live in the international student dorm which is mainly filled with Americans and Koreans. Besides working WIFI, the dorm has everything I could want. We share a pretty large room that kind of feels like a hotel. There are older ladies here who clean our sheets and mop up our rooms which definitely takes a little time to get used to. Our cafeteria is conveniently located right across from our dorms. The food is not too bad, but what it sometimes lacks in taste, it makes up for in price. The average meal consisting of a meat dish, rice, soup, and potatoes or cabbage altogether costs around $2/$3.
The university has a few large running tracks which at nighttime is filled with people walking and running laps. In the center is a soccer field with a ton of people playing pick-up games. At nighttime it isn’t just the places under the lights that are filled with people. During almost pitch-black darkness the basketball courts are filled with people playing ball. I don’t understand why they are playing that late because I know that they cannot even tell if the ball is going in or not.
I will keep you guys updated as I explore the campus and explore the city.