Reflecting on China
As my study abroad experience in Shanghai comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on my time here. This semester has by far been the beat time of my life. I have made so many memories that I will never forget. Some of my favorite times were the trips that I was able to take throughout while in China both with CEA and on my own. I was able to travel to Dalian, Wuzhen, Hangzhou, Beijing, and Nanjing. Each of these cities was unique and was a great way to explore some of the diverse sights and experiences China had to offer. to travel for such a low cost and with relative ease made these opportunities possible!
Another of my favorite things about my time in Shanghai specifically with regards to studying at East China Normal University is the diversity. Shanghai is a melting pot of people from all over the world. I had the privilege of meeting and befriending other people and students from countries I haven’t even heard of before!
I learned a lot from my classes, all of which were in some way focused on China in some way. Through learning the language, I was able to better maneuver daily life in Shanghai. I was even able to have some decent conversations with some of my Asian friends, in Mandarin, that didn’t know any English. Having economics, urbanization, and sociology classes focused on China also helped me better understand the culture and values of the people that I walked the streets with on a daily basis.
My biggest takeaway from my experience is that I now feel like I now have a more global perspective on life itself. Before, having gone outside of the US only a few times for short intervals, I had a very limited perspective on the world I was living in. Actually, living in a place for an extended period of time and interacting with people with very different beliefs and cultures has expanded that drastically. I feel like heading back to the US, I can implement this new perspective in my interactions with people who are different than I, with a more open mind and open heart. I will miss China so much: the food, the people, the crazy things that I see happen on a daily basis, I will miss it all. I cannot wait to come back!
Matthew M. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in Shanghai, China. He is currently a junior studying Global Business at Cedarville University.