Student Interview: Marcos Rodriguez

Name: Marcos Rodriguez
Major/Minor: International Development Studies/ Global Studies Minor
Year: Class of 2015
Hometown: Tijuana, Mexico

Why did you choose Shanghai Travel Study?
I have always been interested in Asia, so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to study and visit China.

Favorite experience:
Discovering China with amazing students from UCLA made every day great. My favorite experience was touring the Great Wall, I always wanted it to see it. But watching it with new friends made it even better.

Most surprising / funniest / most memorable experience:
The second week of the program we decided to take a small trip to a Buddhist temple. It was supposed to rain, but being from California Continue reading Student Interview: Marcos Rodriguez


Excursion #3 – Pudong NGO & Senior Center

On this trip to visit an NGO office in Pudong and their sponsored senior center, I particularly enjoyed a presentation by an American expat who, ironically, majored in Global Studies. He illustrated his fascination for working and living abroad in the public sector and the career path leading up to his current position in Shanghai.

Before coming to China, I have noticed that among my Asian friends – particularly Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino – it was characteristic for the grandparents to live with their children and grandchildren. However, among my Caucasian friends and even the Caucasian side of my family, it is rare to find extended family living under the same roof. Often times, grandparents will live in a house of their own or a senior center. The visit to the senior center in Pudong is also indicative of this phenomenon as the center only operates during the daytime and senior citizens will go home to live with their children. In the Philippines, we must respect our elders by lowering our heads and placing the back of their hand on our foreheads. In China, toasting someone you respect is portrayed by toasting your glass below his or hers. From my experiences, I find that in many Asian cultures, there is significant importance placed on respect to the older generation – much more so than in the U.S. This respect to the older generations is not only observed through mannerisms like toasting or bowing heads, but also through living situations (as demonstrated through this trip), limited intimate displays of affection in front of the elders, and even spouse selection by parents.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat really surprised me about Shanghai were the housing units. In a city with a population of over 14 million people (for scale, Los Angeles – the second most populated city in the U.S. – has a population of 3.8 million), there has to be an equally large-scale way to house everybody. These buildings are stacked very tall and compact. Just the sheer number of people in this city is incredible so naturally the housing must be as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHousing units just outside the office

Continue reading Excursion #3 – Pudong NGO & Senior Center

Student Interview: Amanda Ullman

Name: Amanda Ullman
Major/Minor: Communication Studies / Global Studies Minor
Hometown: Camarillo, CA

Why did you choose Shanghai Travel study?
Going to Shanghai was the perfect way to finish up my Global Studies minor, make use of my 3 quarters of studies in Mandarin Chinese, and end my college career. I love learning languages and exploring new cultures, so having my final college classes in China couldn’t have been a better opportunity.

Describe your favorite experience:
My fondest memories were actually in Beijing. I really loved Shanghai and being able to explore such a modern city, but being in Beijing really made the Chinese experience feel real. There is so much history in Beijing and the architecture is beautiful and exactly what you picture when you think of China. Seeing the wall also was really fantastic. It was so impressive it actually almost made me cry!

Most surprising / memorable / funniest experience:
My favorite memories come from my experiences in attempting to speak Chinese with the Shanghai locals. I still remember how difficult it was to try to piece together my limited vocabulary to try to describe what an umbrella was! What was so great though was that no matter what you said in Chinese, all of the locals would be amazed. Continue reading Student Interview: Amanda Ullman

UCLA Chancellor’s Reception & Kareoke Night

July 4th – I woke up to a blasted Instagram feed of patriotic quotes, splashes of red, white, blue, and the official hashtag of America: #merica

Forgetting momentarily that I am over 7000 miles from the U.S., I made it my personal mission to find a firework to light although I quickly gave up around lunchtime. Oh well, maybe next year.

Chancellor Gene Block had a reception at the Sheraton Hotel here in Shanghai where he will strengthen the Shanghai alumni base, congratulate newly admitted bruins, invite current and past currents for a night of inspirational speeches, finger foods, drinks, and mingling. It was quite a fancy affair.

Crash Course in Chinese – This is an optional class for students. I especially enjoyed the vocabulary games we played in class. For example, we would count off numbers in Chinese from 1-100, skipping every 6th number. If someone said a 6th number or translated incorrectly, s/he was dared to a challenge. My favorite one was when Marcos was dared to walk down the hall, knock on the door of another classroom, wait for the class to quiet, and – with a straight face – greet the class “Ni hao, wo jào Marcos” (“Hello, my name is Marcos”) and then simply walk away from all the silent, awkward, and confused faces. Classic.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block came for a visit to ECNU that morning Continue reading UCLA Chancellor’s Reception & Kareoke Night

Student Interview: Asher Landau

Name: Asher Landau
Major/Minor: Global Studies
Year: Class of 2015
Hometown: Glendale, California

Why did you choose Shanghai Travel Study?
I was interested in studying in China since it is one of the most exciting countries right now in terms of growth and political and social change. It is also a country drastically different from the United States and I thought it would be the best training ground for learning to work with other cultures.

Favorite experience:
My favorite experience was traveling to Yellow Mountain with no plans and just climbing the mountain. It was a whole different world from Shanghai and by going there with little expectations I opened myself up to exciting and unknown experiences. We just followed whatever path in the mountain looked most interesting to us and it always led to a beautiful sight. At the foot of the mountain, we found a hotsprings that had different “flavors” of hot spring: red wine, green tea, coconut, black tea, and many others. After climbing the mountain for a few hours, soaking in the hot springs was one of the most relaxing moments of my life. Continue reading Student Interview: Asher Landau

Buns & The Bund

After Thursday morning discussion sections at ECNU, I usually like to catch up on notes/some work at my favorite coffee corner: 520 Coffee. Norah Jones-playing 520 Coffee is my little safe haven when I want to escape the busy streets and city life on their comfy couches. If you’re ever in the mood for a convenient chopped salad, warm sandwich, or dessert buns right off of campus, this is your place to study and dine with plenty of seating.

After some studying, a handful of us decided to visit a rooftop venue on the Bund which overlooks the stunning Shanghai skyline.

IMG_6124 En Route 520 Coffee from the dorms

IMG_6132 520 Coffee: my favorite study corner

IMG_6140Groundfloor Shanghai Skyline Continue reading Buns & The Bund

Excursion #2 – Ni Hao, Bao

The Shanghai Baosteel Group Corporation, a huge beneficiary of China’s rapid urbanization and development, is the world’s second largest steel manufacturer, producing an annual sum of over 30 million tons of steel. We visited the factory in which they heat, mold, steam, and cut massive rods of steel into functional pieces and the Baosteel exhibit where they showcase the importance and global presence of Baosteel products.

Safety First


Never have I experienced heavy manufacturing operations other than what I have watched on “How It’s Made”. From the viewing balcony, I could feel the furnace heat radiating upwards.


Continue reading Excursion #2 – Ni Hao, Bao