Here’s a quick snapshot of a school day:
8:20 am : Wake up, dress up, quick Chinese breakfast in the dining room directly downstairs from the dorm
9am – 12pm : Class with ten minute breaks after every hour
12-1:30pm : Break for lunch – I frequented the Korean dining hall on campus (Bulgogi beef, spicy ramen, Bibimbap), but many other students preferred to walk a bit off campus for Chinese restaurants (dumplings, noodles, rice dishes, xiao long bao – a favorite).
1:30pm-2:30pm : Optional survival Chinese class
After 2:30pm (or 12pm if we decide to opt out of Chinese class), the rest of the day is ours to go out and explore Shanghai.
Thankfully, Professor Yan does understand that we are studying in a new country and encourages us to explore what Shanghai has to offer. The work load is fairly light, with just a few readings a week to supplement our lectures that could easily be knocked out in 2-3 hours on the weekend. Because of this, groups of us typically go to see a new sight in Shanghai every day or every other day.
Snapshot of our cozy dorm on ECNU campus in the International Exchange Student Center. Please excuse my roommate’s mess.
(Okay, fine. It’s mine.) Running into the hall-mates in the laundry room and elevators makes for interesting cross-cultural conversations. We met people from Congo, Indonesia, and France in the dorms to name a few.
School lunch is just a buck (don’t forget to bring your own bottled water, though). I love to add the table chili paste to all my dishes and make them extra spicy.
Of course, we had to give the McDonald’s, with a Chinese twist a try. Portions are noticeably smaller, but I actually found China’s Micky Dee’s tastier. They offer crispy fried chicken with a sweet chili dipping sauce (that was my favorite), pineapple and taro pie instead of apple (banana > apple, hands down), and world cup/soccer ball themed buns.
Grabbing a taxi on a busy Shanghai intersection is no easy feat, especially when it is raining and everybody else has the same idea. You do have to be aggressive and quick to snag a cab during on hours. After 40 minutes of splitting up, occupying every corner of the intersection, running after cabs, racing to doors before others (and losing), dodging out of the way of large buses and zipping cars, waving, jumping for cabs, we finally decided to give up and find the closest metro station.
It was truly a hilarious sight to see a bunch of foreigners devising a strategy for catching a taxi, running around a single intersection frantically after cabs in the rain, getting turned down by occupied cabs or just not getting to the cab fast enough. This has got to be one of the top 5 funniest experiences in China.
Subway surfing: a travel favorite. We balance without the assistance of rails, starting off with our feet shoulder-length apart, moving our feet in just a bit after every stop. Last person standing with feet firmly planted on the ground wins.
I was picking up a few things at the Tesco by ECNU on our way back (Ralph’s: Westwood :: Tesco: Shanghai), and at the check out counter, I had to sneak a quick iPhone picture of this… well… I couldn’t tell you what this is.