I have definitely grown more comfortable in this new city. I know how to navigate the subways, where the closest convenience store is, how to call a taxi, how to order a coffee, and so much more. Being in a place for 2 months it is inevitable that you will grow and become more familiar and comfortable with that city.
The first couple of weeks it was tough to feel comfortable. Being a foreigner in China you will get stares and people asking to take pictures with you. This made me a little uncomfortable at first because I was unsure of how to react. Being a foreigner and being noticed made me feel like I would always stand out.
As time went on and I learned and explored the areas I was living in and learned the subway systems helped tremendously with how comfortable I felt in Shanghai. I was able to navigate the city with ease and confidence.
By the end of the program I felt comfortable navigating and exploring shanghai. Some new international students on campus approached me one day and asked for directions. I was able to tell them how to get to the subway what line to take, in which direction and what exits to take. After this encounter, I came to the realization that I was way more comfortable and confident than my first couple of weeks in Shanghai.
My three main takeaways from the program were my growth in confidence, I have an increased cultural intelligence, and my increased independence.