Day 9: All aboard! Last Stop: Shanghai

What is with some of these days disappearing?! Just kidding. Day 8 was another bullet train travel day! As we sped through the country side to Shanghai, my excitement for the new city was growing. The day started early, a common trend while we are here in China. After staring out the window at the scenery and a good amount of slumber, we arrived in Shanghai. We settled into our new hotel room, which is the largest, nicest room we have had yet. We then went straight to dinner at a pizza place! Although we are in China, the pizza was, surprisingly, very delicious. It was a pleasant surprise to get salty food here as it has been a rarity since the day we landed. After the dinner, we went to the Huangpu River Cruise which showed us the beautiful city skyline. The futuristic part of the city is called Pudong City and we took many nice pictures with the group and the skyline.

Pudong City!
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After the river cruise we went to rest in our luxurious, new hotel rooms and woke up ready for Day 9 of our trip. Day 9 consisted of a university visit and a visit to the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum. This day started early and we went to East China University of Science and Technology and received a campus tour. The campus was unlike any other, it seems as if Chinese university campus’s are little cities and they operate in their own, fenced off environment. Although the name insinuates that the visit would be based around science and technology, we got a lecture from one of the associate professors in the business school, Mr. Peng. He taught us about foreign investment laws in China and how well China is for doing business. This lecture was very interesting to listen to because I learned new things about how the business environment is conducted here and around the world. It was also very cool to connect what I learned in the business school to what was being presented because it really emphasized the Pitt Business slogan, “From the classroom, to the city, to the world.”

Business School at East China University of Science and Technology
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After our lecture we ventured to the cafeteria to receive a university style lunch. Although I don’t know the names of any of the dishes i was served, I can say that the tastes are different yet I don’t know whether I love the food or not. The tastes are just so different and overwhelming I can’t come to a decision!

Food from the cafeteria at the university
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After we ate we were able to mingle with the students at the university and this interaction seemed forced because the students did not know how to communicate with us efficiently and it was frustrating when they did not understand what we were saying. What I realized is that China promotes a learning culture that only focuses on good test scores and not the real, practical use of subjects, especially English. For these students, the endgame is a good score on their exam and nothing else, and it’s a shame because the point of this kind of learning is to connect the people of China to the international world. We also had an opportunity to listen to a student named Tim, who was from Alabama but decided to move his wife and three kids out to Shanghai to study Mandarin and Chinese culture. As atypical as this sounds, it was interesting to hear his story and how he just wanted to do this because it was a dream of his. It shows how dreams can come true if you just put your mind to it.

After the universtiy visit, we went to the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum and the scale model of the city was shocking. The city was planned downed to the last, intricate detail and it was nice to see the size of the city in an observable space. The image below shows the model.

Model to scale of the city of Shanghai @ Museum
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At night, the group went to an Acrobat show which was like a Chinese circus. The show was full of a bunch of “Ooh” and “Ahh” moments, along with some comedy. It was some great entertainment to close the evening out. Shanghai is going to be a fun time to say the least and I can’t wait to see what else it has to offer.

Sneak peak from the acrobatic show
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