Enshan - Fudan University

B. Arts
Semester 2, 2015

Academic experience

During my semester at Fudan, I was in the Chinese language program. It was the equivalent of 4 courses at UQ. 
All together I had 5 courses; Extensive reading, Intensive reading, Speaking, Listening and Writing. Intensive reading is the main subject which is similar to Spoken Chinese at taught UQ. I had class 5 days a week, it had a high school feel as all the courses were in the same classroom.
The teaching method for me felt the same as UQ, you have a textbook for each class and you go through each lesson. A problem according to not just myself but everyone in the class was excluding our main subject Intensive reading, all the classes felt a bit pointless as some were only 1 lesson per week. 
Side note: This also poses a problem if you wanted to go travelling or sleep in on an 8 am class as you must attend 66% of classes to take the mid and final exams. In that case, you cannot miss more than 2 classes for some of the courses.

Personal experience

My time on exchange was unforgettable, I wasn't as worried as I thought I would be. However, things will go wrong that's for sure. So patience is a key attribute to have. I feel that I gained a lot of confidence in dealing with situations and also getting out of my comfort zone.
I've made a lot of really good friends from around the world and had some amazing experiences. China has many places to see and I certainly want to visit more. 
In terms of the improvement of my Chinese level, I would say I'm disappointed. I definitely improved but not at the rate I'd have hoped. I encourage any who really want to improve their Chinese to make as many Chinese friends as possible.

Accommodation

Shanghai
Shanghai

I lived on campus in a single room in the main building. There are 3 options you can choose from. 
A single room in the main building is 80rmb per day.
A double room with a roommate in the main is 55rmb. 
A room in an apartment sharing with 3 other flatmates in the supplementary building is 45rmb. 
I would recommend the single room if you can afford it or a double if you don't mind living with someone else as you have more space, private bathroom, elevators and if you get a room above the 8th floor and an even room number, you will have a wonderful view of the Shanghai skyscrapers. Unfortunately, I didn't know about this and chose poorly.
An issue with living on campus was the foreign student dorms were fenced off and the only way in is through a gate where they check your card every time! Even when they know you. Also, visitors have to sign in and leave before 1030pm. The Chinese student dorms didn't have this, therefore It felt too strict in a sense even though it's probably "for safety". 

Budget

My rent for the semester was 2400rmb per month which is reasonable for what I had. 
For food, just outside the University gate from the dorms, we had street food and cheap restaurants available. Costs 5-15rmb for street food and 20-40rmb for restaurants. There's also the north canteen nearby. If you want a higher quality setting/food, restaurants in Shanghai range from 50 to 150rmb. 

Transport is cheap, a taxi from Pudong airport is around 150rmb, if you're brave taking the metro and bus will only be about 7-8rmb to Fudan. 
Usually, a bus ride is 2rmb one way and 1rmb on the way back. The metro ranges from 3-6rmb depending on where you go. 
Taxis are convenient especially when you travel far as a group.

I spent around $7000 for my entire trip. Including my airline ticket, rent and travelling.

Professional development and employability

Living in Shanghai allowed me to experience not only Chinese culture but also get to know more about other countries from my friends. The experience has made me want to see a lot more of the world and experience and learn new skills and personal attributes.

Highlight

I would say the time after exams, A few friends and I went to Dandong which is a city that borders North Korea and stood on a frozen river that technically belonged to China and North Korea! We got a bit close to the North Korean side and were shouted at by a North Korean guard!

Top tips

  • You will encounter a fair amount of problems and frustrations but all the other awesome experiences will easily trump those.
  • Don't worry too much about unimportant problems.
  • Be open-minded and willing to do things you wouldn't at home.
  • Who knows, the very first person you meet at 12 am after an 11-hour flight in the dorm lobby while checking in may become one of your closest mates.
Enshan - Fudan University