In the fall of 2009, I went on a work-study abroad exchange at Fudan University, in the Yangpu district of Shanghai. We took classes like ‘Shanghai and Globalization’ with an equal mix of Canadian and Chinese students, and each of us were partnered off with a Fudan classmate for an internship placement with an NGO. I worked with iFair, the first organization in China to push for fair trade practices and ethical consumerism. This photo was taken off the balcony of my home in Shanghai, the international students residence. Most of the time, the suffocating amounts of smog concealed the skyline. On this night, however, we had a clear view of the uber-modern Pudong district and Shanghai’s famous landmark, the Pearl Tower.
Nights on Fudan Campus
I took this photo of some of my classmates after a night class we had. Fudan is the third best University in China, and students have work very, very hard and barely get time to relax. I like this image because I captured a rarity for the Chinese student - all of the girls were gossiping and giggling, and although I couldn’t really understand them, they looked at ease and in the moment.
The best restaurants in China:
...Are conveniently located right outside your door. You’ve probably walked by it several times but eyed it suspiciously because maybe someone along the way has cautioned you to stay away from street food. All Nonsense. Street food is a great way to eat on the cheap and do what the locals do. I was lucky enough to find find a lovely couple who set up in the same spot every night and had my order going the moment they saw me. Rice, no meat, lots of vegetables, and spicy, spicy, spicy. If there’s one thing I miss dearly from Shanghai, it’s the 90 cent dinners. I tagged this location outside of university because the vendors know where the hungry uni students live and set up shop - I’ve never found better street food than right outside of a school.
Bicycle Heaven in Shanghai
Three-legged chickens, taxis, and metro aside, the best type of transportation in Shanghai is a bicycle. Or a moped. Or a motorcycle. But mostly a bicycle. You can purchase a used bike off the streets at a local bicycle vendor for around 200 yuan (bring your bargaining skills) and can also purchase locks and baskets from them, as well. “But what do I do when I have to leave Shanghai?” you ask. No problem, the vendor you originally bought the bike from, or any ole’ bike vendor, will gladly buy the bike back from you. Beware, it might not be for the same price you bought it for; the best bet is to assume you’ll receive about half of what you paid. It’s also good to try and negotiate the lock, basket (if you want one), and bike all in one price instead of purchasing them separately. Like street food, the best bike vendors are right outside the universities. Tip: Bikes get stolen all the time in Shanghai. I think I read somewhere that an average Shanghai resident will have at least 2-3 bikes stolen in their lifetime. I was lucky enough to keep my trophy bike for my entire trip.
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