First Impressions of Shanghai

My first week in China has been a blast! All of the Chinese students I’ve met are nice and take good care of me since I don’t speak any Chinese. I’m living on the Changning campus of Donghua University with my Chinese roommate Lance. Lance and I have enjoyed sharing different aspects of our culture with each other. We’ve spoke about topics like the college decision process, politics, our families, and he’s also asked me to teach him American slang throughout the summer. One of the first aspects of the culture that stood out to me was the absence of regulation in traffic laws. Delivery service is popular here and the deliveries are executed via moped. Companies are strict about delivering goods to the customer on time. If a customer receives their delivery late and writes a bad review, the driver will be fired instantly. This incentivizes some reckless decision making from the moped drivers, decisions that are prohibited in the United States. I’ve seen these drivers run red lights, drive in the opposite direction of traffic, and it’s even common for them to drive on the sidewalks. Multiple times I have found myself walking on the sidewalk just to hear a moped honk at me to move out of the way. One of the faculty members on campus joked that the most dangerous thing you’ll do in Shanghai is cross the street. I’ve noticed that some aspects of the food here aren’t common in American culture. I don’t know what I’m eating most of the time, I try to be adventurous since I’ve never had authentic Chinese food before. For example, so far, I’ve tried cow stomach, tongue, tendon, duck intestines, and frog legs, and they were all delicious. If you ever visit Shanghai, you have to get hot pot. Imagine a round table with a big pot in the middle. This pot usually holds two or three different boiling soups with flavors like tomato, mushroom and chicken, and chili pepper. Then, your party can choose from multiple options of raw meats and vegetables that they serve to your table. The interesting thing about a hot pot restaurant is that you cook the food yourself, all you have to do is drop one of the foods in your choice of soup and the food will cook in seconds. This popular dish makes for a fun and interactive experience for the customer. I haven’t started my internship yet and there is still much of China left to see, so I’m looking forward to what I’ll be able to experience in the remaining seven weeks I have here!