Chuxiao - Fudan University

B. Business Management / Arts
Semester 2, 2017

Academic experience

There were four courses I studied during my time abroad were as follows:

  • Personal and Business Finance
  • Political Economy of China
  • History of Diplomacy in Modern China
  • Advanced Chinese for Foreign Students

All four of them were a lesson in keeping your head above water. The system at Fudan feels considerably faster than the one back at UQ. There's no lecture where you first learn the course content and tutorial where you then discuss the course content. At Fudan, there is only one class per week, you learn everything there, then you move on to the next week. It forced me to become more timely in my school work so that I wouldn't fall behind.

Personal experience

The main point of my time abroad was to improve my Chinese. Did I improve? I'd like to say yes. I can now order three whole meals in Chinese.

I also made friendships that I will cherish for years. They may not last beyond my time in Shanghai, the distance may be too great. But I still made them, a nd I wouldn't trade that for the world.

But I feel the most valuable experience from my time at Fudan is being able to experience Shanghai itself. Shanghai is an ancient city, its history spans centuries and in my short time here, I was only able to uncover a tiny fraction of the secrets that it held. I wish we had more time together.

Accommodation

I lived on-campus, and while it wasn't necessarily an un-enjoyable experience, it was definitely a Spartan one.

The dorms will have everything you need, but not everything you want. You will have a bed, but you will need to source your own blankets, pillows and mattresses (Chinese mattresses are hard as rocks, so get two and put one on top of the other).

The convenience of being ten minutes away from the university is hard to beat. I no longer had to get up two hours early to get to class (like I have to do at UQ), so I would recommend you try to get a room at the dorm for that alone. Shanghai is a large and densely populated city, getting from one place to another can take a surprisingly large amount of time, so if you get a place off campus, even one that's relatively close, the travel time may not be worth it.

Also, if you're staying in the dorms, get an even-numbered room. They're facing away from the street so you don't get the full brunt of the winter winds at night.

Professional development and employability

Aside from the obvious one (bettering my Chinese), one skill I've managed to develop is my ability to do things in a timely manner. Due to the much faster nature of the courses here in Fudan, I was forced to break many of the bad habits that I've picked up over the years regarding procrastination. I couldn't just "leave it for later" because there was no later, everything was due now.

Highlight

Shanghai. I mentioned previously how I felt my most valuable experience was seeing Shanghai itself, and that's something I stand by.

From the maze-like tourist trap of Tianzifang, to the open-air tourist trap of the French Concession. From the oblong horizon of Liujazui, to the non-existent horizon of the various markets, there was something around every street corner.

Pick a random road and just walk, and I guarantee that you'll find something that interests you along the way.

Top tips

Make friends. One thing that plagued me throughout this entire experience was loneliness. You're going to be in a new country without a support network you can lean upon.

Try to create a new one as soon as possible. The most miserable period of my exchange was the very beginning, where I had left behind everyone and I knew no one. It wasn't until I found myself with some new friends was I finally able to start enjoying myself.