HI from Shanghai!

Since living in Shanghai for just a little over a month, I feel like I’ve found my new home away from Sydney. At first, the idea of being in a foreign city for a year seemed daunting with only limited Mandarin to get me by. Even arriving at Shanghai’s Pudong airport, I felt disorientated by the rush of people, pushing and shoving, trying to catch taxis in the thundering rain.

However after a good night’s sleep, I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed! Despite taking almost half an hour to find my way out of the Tongji University campus, I discovered this hidden gem that serves to be a sanctuary for students, residents and even the campus cats of Tongji University. It was at this very moment that I realised that I was going to be living in Shanghai for the rest of the year and there will be many more gems for me to discover in the coming months.

Sanctuary at Tongji for students, residents and campus cats
Sanctuary at Tongji for students, tutors and nearby residents
Even a sanctuary for the campus cats
Even a sanctuary for the campus cats!

For future references, the familiar face of Mao at the main entrance to Tongji University means you’ve managed to escape this University’s enormous campus! (Yay!)

Warm welcome from Mao at the main entrance to Tongji University
Warm welcome from Mao at the main entrance to Tongji University

As the weeks went by, I became more familiar with my surroundings, meeting other exchange students from all around the world (Italy, Germany, America, Congo, Poland and Ecuador to name a few!), who were going through (or have gone through) the same surreal and overwhelming experience of adjusting to Shanghai’s fast-paced lifestyle.

Cherry blossoms blooming in Spring
Tongji University is also famous for their Cherry Blossoms blooming in Spring (Imagine walking through this street every morning to class!)

But what is it that I’ve realised so far, that differentiates Shanghai from Sydney?

Shanghai’s public transportation is super convenient and fool-proof! (Shanghai’s transportation card, much like Sydney’s Opal card, can be used on the subway, buses, taxis and even in convenient stores at the subway stations to buy food!) Trips to supermarkets, downtown Shanghai, main tourist attractions and various museums can be reached in a matter of minutes!

Being able to order and find street food 24/7 regardless if there is torrential rain! (And most will cost less than $5AUD! Only problem is recognising Chinese characters and having to use Pleco to translate!)

Street food vendors at night - what's for dinner?
Street food vendors at night – what’s for dinner?
Wide selection of food available in the food courts in Yuyuan
Wide selection of food available in the food courts in Yuyuan

Being able to order literally anything I want (food, drinks, appliances and clothes) and have it be delivered to my doorsteps! (With a delivery fee of less than a $5AUD – yes, even delivering a microwave!).

Sea of packages at Tongji University
Sea of packages at Tongji University

The amazing sights that Shanghai has to offer (during the day and night!)

The famous 'Nine Zig-Zag' bridge in Yuyuan
The famous ‘Nine Zig-Zag’ bridge in Yuyuan
The night skyline of Shanghai from a friend's apartment
The night skyline of Shanghai from a friend’s apartment

And the convenience of travelling to other provinces and cities (Sichuan, Tibet, Guangzhou) or countries (Japan, Philippines and now, North Korea!) from Shanghai.

With only language so far being a barrier to exploring Shanghai in more-depth, I cannot wait to see more of what Shanghai and China has to offer!

Jasmine Chen 11433339

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