On my ninth day in China I began my first full day in Shanghai, definitely my favorite of the three cities. When I woke up in the morning to get ready to go to the East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST), I was still amazed with the sights I saw of Shanghai the night before. On the previous day we took a cruise to see the Shanghai night skyline and that’s what made me realize what Dr. Li meant when he said Shanghai is more New York than New York. Seeing the skyline really gave me the same wow that Times Square gives just on a much larger level. Later in the day when I visited the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum it was explained to me that this feeling was completely intentional.
At ECUST, my group and I were taken on a campus tour and got to see how different college in China is compared to Pitt. The campus was definitely smaller and felt more insulated even more than our other university visit at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing. The ECUST campus even had its own building for ping pong, something you’d never see in the United States. We were given a lecture at the University about business in Shanghai and how they are started. It’s interesting because Shanghai was developed to be easy to do business. The city ranks 46th in the world for ease of doing business and a business is relatively easy to start. The high buildings that light up the city skyline were also created with business in mind and are considered the future of Shanghai.
After our lecture, we had lunch in a small cafeteria and were served a lunch where, like most of my meals I’ve eaten in China, I couldn’t identify what exactly I was eating, but it all tasted good. My group later got a chance to learn more about the university through a promotional video and hear from an American student at ECUST who moved his family to China so that his kids could learn Chinese. What interested me was that unlike the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, ECUST had a wider range of students who went there, such as Americans, rather than being the majority Chinese. We were then grouped with graduate students from another university that majored in and played a game of hot potato where the loser had to perform in front of the class. Unfortunately for me I lost and had to show the class a little Tai Chi that I learned at the Temple of Heaven. After the game was done it was nice to talk to the students who were studying english to learn some more Chinese slang to use.
A trip to the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum concluded the day and taught me a lot about the city of Shanghai. In the museum was a lot of information about the efforts Shanghai and China is putting towards making the country greener and more sustainable. I also learned about how all of the skyscrapers and high rises in China were all planned to be built and thats why everything looks so new. The wow factor of the city that I experienced on the boat was completely intentional. There was also a scale model of the whole city built in the museum that was really fun to look at.