From the very first waking hours Shanghai offers a wide variety of options all located near ESSCA. There are many various experiences on offer from breakfast in an all american pancake house to joining the locals enjoying tai chi in the local park. As classes usually start at 9:30, there is time to grab some Chinese specialty food such as shengjianbao, cong bing or a hot cup of coffee at 7-11 before classes commence.
Classes frequently last for 3 hours from 9:30 to 12:30 and 1:30 to 4:30 with the majority of mooring classes consisting of practicing chinese with my fellow students. During the one hour lunch break approximately 10 of us go to our favourite sushi shop which is just around the corner from the school or to a local restaurant where we try unsuccessfully to read the all chinese menu and order in Chinese.
After classes at 4:30, everyday consists of a very different Shanghainese experience. Some days we will go to dinner as classmates, while on other nights we would go clubbing or to a local event to experience Chinese culture. These local events can consist of anything from a visit to the local museum to a night time boat trip of Shanghai’s Bund (a Chinese equivalent to Sydney Harbour).
It is often said that China is a society of ‘organised chaos’ and Shanghai is a prime example of that. There are so many instances of the organised chaos such as the multitudes of languages spoken on the street (Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese, French, English) etc and the frequent breaking of traffic laws by the locals and yet it all somehow meshes together to form one conjoined society. This could not happen in any other city than Shanghai. As Shanghai is the financial city of China, Shanghai is well equipped to handle the chaos.
Originally when I came to Shanghai, I was unable to use public transport as I was nervous that I would end up in the wrong place, however with my new found proficiency of Mandarin, I was able to navigate safely around the city, even at night. Shanghai is a safe city in terms of crime with violent crime being exceptionally rare and most incidents of crime being limited to pickpocketing which can be easily avoided if you are vigilant enough. If you are pick pocketed during your time in Shanghai you can make a police report to make an insurance claim when you arrive back in Australia. The police in Shanghai only speak Chinese however there are always friendly locals who can assist you for translation.
All in all, Shanghai is an amazing city which offers many opportunities to try new experiences and I highly recommend you try them all!