I am already almost halfway through my program. The time here has been flying by and I can’t wait to see what the next 5 weeks have in store for me. I am living in the Donghua University Hotel. My roommate is a local Chinese graduate student, she likes to go by bingbing (饼饼). My roommate and I can only really communicate in Chinese and I have Chinese class every morning but I can already tell my Chinese is improving. It has been interesting to get used to the cultural differences in day to day life. For example, the driving culture is so different here. mopeds drive on the sidewalk, cars don’t often watch for pedestrians, and I have witnessed a couple of moped accidents because everyone looks down at their phones. Although these all make Shanghai sound dangerous, in terms of crime and other typical city dangers, Shanghai is so safe. The most dangerous thing in Shanghai is crossing the street. Also the food has been a huge thing for me to get used to and I sometimes miss food back home (there is a McDonalds not too far from campus so home is never far). The food here is delicious but a lot of the time I don’t know what I am ordering because of my lack of chinese skills and google translate can only get you so far. I love trying new food here and have had cows tongue, cows stomach, chicken feet, snails, and so many more. But dumplings and noodles are my favorite go-to’s. The weather here is also so hot with it being over 85 everyday and humid. I like warm weather so most of the time it doesn’t really bother me but I have noticed that it isn’t common practice to wear shorts or a tank top in the heat and most women will wear pants and sleeves. This is mainly because they don’t want to get tan which is common in Chinese culture. One of my favorite things so far has been grabbing my tea on my way to work and walking past the park and seeing the old couples dancing in the park.
In my free time, I like to wander around campus or around the city. This past weekend the whole program went to the yellow mountains which was a really cool experience. I can’t wait to experience more of Shanghai and Chinese culture. I’ll keep you guys updated on my adventures.