2 January 2015

3 weeks at Shanghai JiaoTong University (SJTU)

3 weeks, 50 students, 22 countries. The SJTU short-term exchange program at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Xuhui campus was a valuable opportunity to understand business and culture in China. At least that was my initial view of the program. It turned out to be so much more than just that. Through engaging in such an international program, not only was I able to understand China better, but also other cultures. Meeting people and make friends from different nationalities, gaining a better understanding of their cultures is what makes the experience so enjoyable and worth it. The program had both undergraduate and masters students. Being an undergraduate student, I felt that the time that I was able to spend with the Master’s students and learn and hear their experiences was enlightening.

There was a good balance of different activities throughout the program: blending corporate visits, lectures, learning Chinese, sight-seeing and traditional cultural activities. The lectures gave us an insight into real estate, entrepreneurship and sustainable development of China's economy. Chinese lessons catered to different proficiency levels, though by the end all of us at least managed to know 'duo shao qian' (How much?) and 'tai gui le' (too expensive) from shopping. The companies we visited were 3M and Yihaodian, where we were able to meet the Chairman. He was down-to-earth and it was great being able to talk to him in person. Sightseeing during the weekdays included The Bund, a day trip to Wuzhen and a cruise on the Huangpu River.

Cultural activities included calligraphy, dumpling making, tea ceremony and having dinner at the temple. The monks recited the Buddhist chant for twenty minutes, after which we were able to begin eating. We also had dinner with a local Shanghainese family, giving insight into what life is like for Chinese middle class families.

Weekends/Free time:
The weekends and after class are perfect times for exploring the vibrant city. On the first weekend, I visited Hangzhou (there were very long waiting lines at the station, so get there early) and checked out the West Lake. We were given the wrong directions (mistranslation of left/right) and walked half an hour in the opposite direction! The lake was beautiful so it was worth it in the end. Other people even managed to fit in a weekend trip to Beijing and see The Great Wall. On the second weekend, the places I visited included People's Square and the Wedding Market. Some parents and grandparents come here to look for suitable partners for their children. It was an interesting spectacle to say the least!

Overall, I can truly say that the quality of the SJTU program was phenomenal, and the only downside was the short duration as three weeks went by too fast and we had to say goodbye to our new friends. The program has given me an improved global perspective, and I am keen for future overseas opportunities and reunions with the friends I have made in Shanghai.

Madeline Wu
Current student at the University of Sydney Business School

No comments:

Post a Comment