7 August 2014

Shanghai Study Abroad Program: Student Reflections

Six weeks in Shanghai flew by as a short-term study abroad student at Fudan University. This pilot program was organised by the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, and offered to students in the Business School and Arts Faculty.

As part of the program, 17 University of Sydney students completed a four-week intensive summer school at Fudan University, which is renowned as one of China’s leading universities. Students studied a variety of courses such as Chinese Diplomacy and politics, Chinese civilisation, Chinese art, and international business. Our study schedule also included daily Mandarin lessons that catered to all experience levels, from beginners to advanced. Most students received up to 12 credit points for taking these units, and all added real value and international experience to their degree. 

Another major component of this program was a series of site visits to Chinese business, government and non-government organisations led by US Studies Centre staff. These site visits enabled our group to enjoy presentations, discussion sessions and participate in debates with professionals working in Shanghai. Highlights of this two-week schedule of visits included engaging Q&A sessions at the Australian and American Chambers of Commerce, Australian and American Consulates, eBay China, Apple and AEG entertainment group. 

It was thrilling to hear from a variety of mid- to senior level management about their experiences as expats and local people, navigating the challenges and opportunities that doing business in China entails. Another stand out experience was participating in a round-table discussion with foreign service officers at the American Consulate, and enjoying a group dinner with Bates Gill, the CEO of the US Studies Centre and world renowned US-China expert.

Life in Shanghai outside the classroom certainly lived up to our expectations. As a group and as individuals, each student in this pilot program made a huge effort to immerse themselves in the local customs, culture and food. Some of us arrived in Shanghai not knowing how to use chopsticks, and others who had previously travelled to China deepened their connection to this exciting, vibrant metropolis.

Overall, this was an incredibly rich and rewarding experience; made even more special by the close friendships we formed within the University of Sydney group, and with other international students taking the program. I have certainly returned to Sydney with a strong case of the ‘China bug’ that will hopefully lead me to return to China later in my career.

Madeline Greer
Current student at the University of Sydney Business School

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