Shanghai at First Glance
Upon arrival in Shanghai, I realized I was in a land of unknowns. I was surrounded by every nationality except my own. I couldn’t read any signs or advertisements. I couldn’t understand what anyone around me was saying. I was shocked to realize I really had no idea how to function in what seemed to be a whole new world. I painstakingly made my way through the airport, hoping that by following the crowd I would make my way to the right place! I made it through the airport and out to meet my program director.
As a student who goes to a school in the middle of Ohio’s cornfields, driving to downtown Shanghai where East China Normal University is located was a true wake up call. Shanghai is the largest city in China with a population of almost 25 million people; such a contrast with rural Cedarville, Ohio. Despite the stark differences, however, I have truly loved my time so far. I have found that it is relatively easy to make my way around the downtown area, purchase what I need to and get food when I’m hungry–all things I worried would be difficult.
So far, the most difficult part of my transition has been the language barrier. Coming into this semester with a very limited comprehension of the local language makes situations that would normally be easy to navigate, ten times more difficult. Everything from ordering food, asking for directions, to buying things in the grocery store have become experiences in their own right.
Yan, our CEA program director, has taken us on tours around the campus, surrounding neighborhoods, and the downtown Shanghai area. She has helped us our group so much in our transition, from showing us the best places to eat, to how to use the buses, taxis and metros. I can tell already, this semester is going to be one for the books!
Matthew M. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in Shanghai, China. He is currently a junior studying Global Business and Finance at Cedarville University.