I am studying Management and Economics in the 5th semester and spent the 2012/13 winter semester at Fudan University in Shanghai. The CCSP (Contemporary China Studies) program at the University in China ran from September 2012 to the end of January 2013.
Tohee International Student Village
During the semester and the subsequent internship, I lived in the Tohee International Student Village. The apartments are big enough and clean after the first thorough cleaning. The equipment is also good: there is a large living area and kitchen. I only used the kitchen once or twice during the whole six months because it is so cheap to eat out in China. If you live at Tohee you don’t have to go far to have a relatively large selection of small restaurants and shops.
Another advantage of living in the Student Village is that it is very easy to meet new people, even those who are not in the same program at the university as you. In addition, the distance to the university is not great. Driving long distances at rush hour in Shanghai, be it by metro or taxi, is not a great pleasure. But even though you live close to the university, I advise you to buy a bike because the campus is quite large. Bicycles don’t cost much, around € 20, and you can buy them from street vendors nearby.
But where you definitely have to expect, if you live in Tohee, that it will be quite cold in the apartments in winter because the insulation is very poor. There is air conditioning in every room, which can also be used as a heater, but to be really warm it has to be on all the time. This, in turn, drives up the ancillary cost calculation. In my opinion, this is very incomprehensible. For example, last month, January, my roommate and I had bills of about 670 RMB each. That was almost 3 times what a friend in another building in Tohee had to pay. When I asked how that could be, the Tohee staff couldn’t really help me.
But that’s the only thing I didn’t like about the International Village. Otherwise I can only recommend it!
The organized introductory week is a good opportunity to get to know the other students from the program and to get a first impression of the university. Since the campus is quite large and you can get lost quickly, it is good to know your way around a bit before the actual lessons begin. There is also the option of taking a city tour, which is a good thing as there is a lot to see.
A very good thing that the university offers is the Chinese language partner program. They can help you with organizational problems or with the tasks for the Chinese lessons. I can only advise you to go to the meeting with the language partners and get to know yours.
The teaching at Fudan University is not very demanding from the academic side. But you learn a lot about China and Shanghai. But the scope of work is sometimes quite large. Especially when several essays have to be submitted at once and the mid-terms are pending. In addition, both individual and group presentations must be prepared and given.
But don’t worry, there is still enough time to explore the city!
The Chinese lessons are very good and the classes are not too big. In my course there were 11 students. This enables good supervision by the teacher. We had a total of 5 hours of Chinese a week. But there is also the possibility of taking a private teacher in addition to the actual lessons. This is relatively expensive, but very intensive, as you have lessons either alone or in pairs.
The lecturers and professors actually all speak English very well and often make the lessons very interesting. For example, some lectures are given by visiting lecturers who work in Shanghai.
In addition to classes, the university also offers excursions and other activities. For example, we went to Nanjing with the entire group and spent 2 days there.
One of the activities was that the Chinese teachers gave us an afternoon of calligraphy lessons.
In my opinion, the tuition fees for one semester at the university are too high. The cost is not reasonable for the activities offered in addition to class.
The support from the coordinators at the university is great!
It is possible to do an internship in Shanghai during or after the semester. I would definitely recommend taking advantage of this offer. The internship gives you the opportunity to see what it is like to work in China. In my opinion, the better alternative is to do the internship after the semester, because if you do the internship during the semester, you only work 1 to 2 days a week and you cannot really get to know the company.
The internships are offered by the university and the interviews are also organized. The number of internships on offer was very meager in the semester I was in China as featured on Topschoolsintheusa. All students got an internship. But if you should be able to organize an internship from Germany, that would be a good alternative. There are, among other things, many companies in Shanghai that are looking for foreign students.
In my opinion, Shanghai cannot be compared to any other city in Germany. The city is huge and you can always discover something new when you walk through the streets. The contrast between rich and poor can be seen everywhere. Some parts of the city are still “traditional”. The huts of the people who live there stand between the modern high-rise buildings.
The downside of such a big city with so many people is the public transport situation. The metro network is well developed. There are no problems getting to your destination. But you should avoid driving at rush hour if you can. The metro is then full of people. The same goes for buses. Even taking a taxi is no fun at rush hour as the streets are full of cars. But if you drive at a different time, the public transport network in Shanghai is great. Taxis are also very cheap and it is usually not a problem to get one as there are a lot of taxis in Shanghai.
Those planning to visit other cities around Shanghai or the rest of China can take the express trains. For example, after the Fudan program came to an end, I did another internship in Changzhou. The city is about 170 km from Shanghai. I was often in Shanghai on the weekends. The train connection between the cities is great. A trip takes about 1 hour and costs less than 10 €.
The tuition fees should be improved again and adapted to the offer. Even so, the semester at Fudan University was the best of my life. In addition to the many new people from all over the world that you got to know, you learned a lot about China. I can only recommend to anyone interested in China to do a semester abroad there. In my opinion, the experiences and impressions of the people and the culture in China cannot be obtained from books or documentaries.