May 9 - May 17
Greetings from Shanghai, China!
The group that I am with on this trip to Shanghai is a study abroad program with The Ohio State University. There are a total of nine students and one professor with us. The nine of us on this trip all come from diverse academic and personal backgrounds and most of us have taken at least some Chinese. However, there are three students that have never learned Chinese before. The students who have never learned Chinese before have been trying really hard to learn some basic Chinese and I've enjoyed helping them out and translating for them throughout our travels. It's been entertaining watching them try to order food or ask for other things when we have been out. They're very proud of the limited Chinese that they know and I'm very proud of all of the progress that they have made in just one short week!
In the week that we have been here, we've been very busy every day. Whether it is reading and doing homework for our language and Shanghai history classes or touring different sites throughout the city, we have been moving and grooving every day of our trip so far. Our language classes are every morning for about three hours and then on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, we have our history class where we discuss the development of Shanghai throughout its history. The language classes have been challenging for me but I know that they will greatly improve my language skills in the short time that I will be here. The history class has been the most interesting class for me that I have taken while a student at Ohio State because even though I have been to Shanghai twice before this trip, I have yet to learn much about its history.
Coming back to East China Normal University brought back so many memories from my first trip to Shanghai in 2011 with NSLI-Y (Go check out those blogs…they’re pretty entertaining and demonstrate all of the culture shock that comes with being in a completely different country). On Sunday, our first full day on campus, we had orientation followed by a welcome lunch and then a campus tour. I quickly realized that I was still able to navigate campus relatively easily even after four years. I remembered that the Trustmart (aka Walmart) was right outside of the main gate when I was there in 2011 so Sunday afternoon me and two other girls went to Trustmart to buy some things that we all needed. When we got there the Trustmart was gone as well as all of the memories associated with Trustmart and by memories I mean all the times that I bought jelly for my PB&J sandwiches.
This past week we had two scheduled tours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and then a few unofficial sightseeing trips after our afternoon classes. On Tuesday afternoon, we went to the Shanghai Museum. I had been to this museum both times that I have been in Shanghai before so there wasn’t much for me to explore but I was able to explain some Chinese history things to some of the other students that I had learned on my previous trips. Afterwards, we were supposed to go to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center but we did not have enough time after visiting the Shanghai Museum so that trip will be saved for a later date. I’m really excited to go back to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center because it was really fascinating seeing it in 2011 and the plans that they have for the city.
Thursday we went to the Shanghai History Museum which is located at the bottom of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. This was another repeat museum for me but it is a very interesting one except for the scary wax figures that freak me out. The museum displays the various influences in the Shanghai area throughout the years, especially the British influence near the Bund region. Afterwards, we were going to go up the TV Tower but decided that it would be better to go up on another day when it wasn’t so cloudy. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower is one of my favorite buildings in Shanghai because of its history with the development of the city, the architecture, as well as how unique it looks against the city skyline with its three pods. Later that evening, we explored around the Bund and Nanjing Lu which was very pretty at night. On my prior trips, I didn’t have as much free time to explore the city so it is definitely nice to be able to get out on our own and explore.
Saturday we went to a water town for the day. On my first trip to Shanghai, I went to a different water town called Zhou Zhuang (周庄古镇). I knew how pretty the water towns are here and was very excited to explore this new water town called Zhu Jia Jiao (朱家角古镇). When we got there, I realized that Zhu Jia Jiao was a lot smaller than Zhou Zhuang but was just as beautiful. Both of these water towns had the small shops that you can bargain at so it was fun to bargain again and also to encourage the students that were just learning Chinese to use their language skills and practice saying numbers. I bargained for a few bracelets and a necklace all for a total of ￥21 or about $3.50. The water towns resemble the canals in Venice and have more than 1700 years of history. I think that it is remarkable that something can still retain such history throughout that long of a timespan in an age that is so driven by technology.
I hope to blog more frequently in the next three weeks so that they won’t be as long in the future. We were just so busy with everything that I had to take care of my school work first! Keep an eye out for more blogs in the next few days! 再见!