Hello to anyone thinking of studying abroad in the one and only Shanghai! I would say this has been one crazy experience, and one I would recommend if you have the spirit of adventure and are looking for a study abroad experience you will remember for the rest of your life.
Shanghai is the perfect place if you are looking to actually use a language other than English, as most people you will interact with here only speak Chinese. But never fear! I came here with absolutely no Chinese, but am leaving being able to communicate basic information, have small conversations, and generally get around without too much trouble! It Doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment, but I am simply amazed with the amount I have learned in these four months, I didn’t believe it was possible. If you are a study away who knows no Chinese, I would recommend Conversational Chinese, it is a fantastic class that allows you to learn more than you would think possible. When it comes to speaking, use it loudly and use it often, as long as you deliver with a smile. People here are excited you are speaking any Chinese at all!
Beyond the language, make sure to make friends with the portal students. They can tell you where the NYU Shanghai hangouts are and where you can find some of the cool foreigner areas. However, make time to bond with the city and explore it yourself. Although it is sometimes inconvenient, Shanghai is loveable if you are willing to experience the good stuff. Don’t be afraid to eat street food, go to the fake market, check out all the tourist spots in the travel book they give you and look for new places too.
My absolute favorite part of the city is Tianzifang, not to be missed. If you’re looking for food around the AB and you can’t find any, head to Red Lobster or Century Mall (neither of those things are what they sound like… ask the portals and you will understand).
The one regret I have is not becoming more involved in things outside of school. NYUSH is sometimes a bubble, so get an internship even though they have to be unpaid or volunteer your time to something awesome within the city. I promise you in the long run it will be worth it.
Good luck and have fun potential NYUSH study aways, show China patience and you will always be happy 🙂