CIEE Shanghai, China
Describe your typical day:
I would wake up, get some fruit from the cafeteria, and go to Chinese class. I ate lunch with friends from the program, and then went to afternoon class, which was normally Chinese history or society. After class, I’d go back to my room in the dorms and do my Chinese homework. Depending on how much work I had, I’d try a new restaurant or go to this huge mall called Global Harbor to shop or look around.
Favorite food discovered while abroad:
Jiaozi, which are boiled dumplings. I ordered them from a little shop run by a husband and wife. The wife made the dumplings for hours and the husband delivered them to your door.
What was one challenge you faced during your semester off-campus?
As someone with dietary restrictions, food was sometimes a challenge. I also found not being able to work out difficult.
What was your favorite part of the city to visit?
Xin Tian Di. I loved the blatant juxtaposition between capitalism and communism. There was also a really cool park there that was part of the “Make Shanghai Pretty” project. A little river ran through and a lot of old ladies would do Tai Chi together there.
What was one highlight of your semester off-campus?
Excursions. I got to travel to Taiwan with my program. We spent a couple nights in Taipei and a couple in Kenting. We stayed at the most gorgeous hotel next to a lake. The hotel rented out bicycles for free so we rode around the lake. It also had a rock garden with a hammock. Before we left, I went on a boat on the lake.
Be aware that just because you’re in a new place does not mean everything is going to be super fun. Do something new every day!