We met at 9 am today (our latest start yet!) to travel to East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST). When we arrived, I was surprised to see that the campus was separated from the rest of the city by big walls and gates. We first had a campus tour lead by students who are studying the English language. The campus felt more like a neighborhood or a village rather than a traditional U.S. college. The dorms are also different than we are used to. They typically house four to six students in one dorm room. The dorm rooms have bunk beds and a balcony, filled with drying racks since students only have access to washing machines. On the tour, we passed the business school, located in the tallest building on campus.
We then attended a lecture taught by Dr. Peng, a well know business school professor. He discussed key elements about doing business in China. We talked about trade, the difference in legal requirements between China and the U.S. and how to establish a company in China. I was very interested in China’s foreign investment law and how the Chinese government has less say in business markets than I imagined.
After the lecture, we ate lunch in the campus’s dining hall. I sat with an ECUST student and talked about her college experience. She is currently a sophomore and wants to continue her education after receiving her bachelor’s degree in English language. Since Chinese culture strongly focuses on education, students travel from across China to attend Shanghai universities. For example, the ECUST student said her home town is about an eight-hour bullet train ride away.
Next, we met an American student who moved here from Alabama. He is in his mid 40s and has lived in Shanghai for two years with his wife and three kids. His presentation was very funny and entertaining as he explained what he has learned while living in China. I wish we had more time to ask him questions because I was curious to learn about his career and motivation to move to China.
This afternoon, we attended the the Shanghai Urban Planning museum, which was very interesting. The bottom two floors focused on the history of Shanghai while the top two floors described the city’s current state. There were interactive maps, a 3D map of the city, many interesting transportation exhibits, and a 360-degree movie of Shanghai. My favorite part was seeing how the city developed in the last 40 years through pictures. The rapid expansion is overwhelming.
Tonight, we attended an acrobatics show. There was a hula hoop act, a ballerina who stood on her partners head, a magician, as well as many other acts. We decided to walk home from the theater to experience the city. On the two mile walk, we passed many high-end stores and walked through neighborhoods. The streets were safe and clean, unlike some American cities. While walking, I noticed that the population in Shanghai is much more diverse than Beijing and Xi’an. I really enjoy the atmosphere of this city.
Goodnight from Shanghai!