Semi-immersionShanghai, Fall 2010 - China in the 21st Century
你好大家！Sorry for 3-week blogging hiatus, it’s been a busy time since the onset of the program. I won’t bore you guys with a day-by-day, play-by-play since the 1st of the month, so I will just give a short commentary on some interesting aspects of Fudan student/foreigner/Chinese life.
Orientation and Program Basics: Orientation was the standard slew of procedures and formalities to make sure we are properly informed and prepared to enter Chinese society. It was a little like freshman orientation all over again meeting new people all of whom are neighbors, classmates, travel buddies, and future friends. We were also greeted by our Center Director, Student Affairs Coordinator, professors, and two RA’s (one for each program: Fudan-21st Century and SUFE-Business in China). They make up a small team that coordinates all of our affairs, and help us out with pretty much anything. My friends and I go to the IES office a couple floors above my apartment to ask questions and drop by to chat with them all the time. In that way, I feel pretty comfortable here; because the program is fairly small program of 24 participants, our program is a pretty tight-knit community.
Apartments: Housing at Tonghe 同和 is the best. I’m not saying that it’s the most fab flat in the city, but really, in terms of the a Chinese university campus, as the international students who pay about 12 times what an average Fudan student does (I’m guessing theirs is government subsidized), it’s nice. In our 3-person bedroom, there are 2 smaller rooms that share a bathroom, a sort of master bedroom equipped with a private bathroom (bathtub style?) and larger bed. The kitchen has a stove and fridge, but if you live and die by the existence of the insidious microwave, you will have to rent. I’m still deciding if I want to admit that I’m a microwave addict. Living room has a tv, air conditioner/heater (absolutely necessary in the summer), and is a nice setup for homework sessions (which Chinese has seemed to deem mandatory) and watching Modern Family in the case of my apartment. Constant sweating leaves the washing machine and laundry-drying balcony in near perpetual occupation. The downside was that all the apartments seemed to be in need of some sort of repairs, but an easy fix for maintenance is just a short call away. P.S. my roommates are AWESOME (just in case they read this…haha hi Alex and Kamya!!!! and 3rd, 4th, and 5th roommates Lauren, Joe, and Nirmal)
Campus and Classes:
Campus: BIG, LARGE, untouched territory. Really, I come from a tiny campus of 15 minutes gets you anywhere you need to be. Our classes only touch one building technically, the other being part of SUFE campus with SISU nearby. Takes us 15 minutes to walk to class, so sometimes some of us get lazy and take the bus. The cafeteria is nearby, but I have yet to try it. I’ll leave that adventure to a future post.There are some nice, quite parts, but for the most part it blends in with the rest of Yangpu 杨浦 district. Seems like a bunch of big, old buildings, slightly colonial looking.
Chinese class: (Placement tests during orientation week were the main determinants of class level) Chinese class is very rigorous any way you look at it. Unlike our other classes which are once a week, we have Chinese class every day. Intensive means nonstop (nonstop dictation-yay! homework-yay! presentations-double yay); I can’t imagine what the language intensive program is. It’s definitely hard work, and I’m not sure when the payoff will be because we’re learning at the speed of light! As a heritage speaker, the focus of my class is to learn to read and write; however we focus on language much more in depth from a cultural, literature, and philosophical standpoint.
Marketing and Metropolis: I put them together because…to be honest, I can’t tell them apart right now. Metropolis professor, Yu Hai 老师is passionate and intense. I think the class will be great. Can’t wait for the Taiwan field trip-countdown=1month,1week. Marketing professor is intelligent and has a Disney character-esque laugh, but his sociology-anthropology background loses me sometimes. Homework is reasonable, though surprisingly and not, the amount scared away most of our Chinese counterparts in all of the 10-class/semester bustle.
Internship: I’m very excited for my internship, but it started off a little rough, so my apprehension overshadows me. My internship buddy, Annie, and I were re-placed with a more appropriate internship at a marketing firm called Bates 141, part of WPP. Seems young and chic, all that a quirky place thriving in the new world underground pop culture in Shanghai should be. We were recently given our first assignment the week to research the 90′s generation (my generation!), which will be exciting to see through as my first project and exposure to the workplace culture and style of a Chinese marketing company.
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