Exploring and Studying in Shanghai with CET

Photos taken by Aurora Brendtke (University of Michigan), Student Correspondent for CET Shanghai, Summer 2024

Public Transportation

People sitting while riding the subway in Shanghai

The very first transportation I took in Shanghai was the subway, or Di Tie, an endless dragon that can take you anywhere. I rode it from the airport to Donghua, the CET program host university. From 3 to 10 yuan (.50 to 1.25 USD), you can go just about anywhere in Shanghai, and it is hands-down my favorite mode of travel!


Donghua University Cafeteria

A display of packaged foods from breads to other baked goods at the Donghua University Cafeteria

This is just one area of Donghua University’s unbelievably cheap and delicious ready-made food that you can buy any time the cafeteria is open. I prefer Cafeteria 1 over the others because they have warm sushi rolls for 6 yuan and healthier food options in general. They all look so fresh and delicious. It’s tempting not to splurge.


Chinese Homework at my Dorm

Chinese homework, a pencil case with pens and highlighters, and flowers in a vase, on a desk

A view of my desk in the best rooms at Donghua (no joke!). Here, I’m working on my first Chinese homework and writing down the words I learned in conversation and from daily life. I bought my little vocab book from the Xiao Hong Lou where they have everything you need, including stationery. Also, I brought a few decorations from home, but I do have this cute flower vase!


CET Shanghai City-Walk

A view from orientation—a Shanghai city-walk with CET classmates and (some) local roommates. We walked the streets of Shanghai, guided by our program director, Jeremy. We got the rundown on the weather, the elderly dancing in public parks, the best places to eat or get coffee, traffic rules, amenities like rentable bikes, and more.

Our CET city-walk orientation continued to the huge ChangNing Mall, where you could buy cute goods, toiletries, clothes, food—you name it! Chinese malls are cheaper and more popular. This one is only one subway station away from Donghua, but it’s about 20 minutes if you prefer walking. Since settling in, I often come to window shop with my roommate or buy food for the week.


Hike in Ningbo

Me, my roommate, and a CET student (one of our friends) Victoria. Here, we are getting ready to climb a mountain in Ningbo with everyone. It was scorching hot, at about 87 degrees! I could only keep my jacket on for about half the way. The sunburn didn’t matter anymore! Vibrantly green trees, blue sky, and turquoise water lead our way to the peak.

You might think that climbing so many stairs up a mountain makes you tired, but when everyone screams jia you! in unison, it’s hard to lose steam. In a long snaking line, we made our way up step by step and down back again to reach quaint village shops and houses for a rest.


Kayaking

CET Shanghai students kayaking in pairs on a lake

To cool off, CET staff and students reached a beautiful lake and kayaking destination after the long hike, tall islands and green bamboo waiting in the distance. We teamed up two per kayak: whoever was able to catch the most balls thrown wouldn’t get tipped over! But who wouldn’t want to get in a lake as warm as bathwater? We were tipped several times, gladly.


CET Friends

CET Shanghai student and two other locals posing together with peace signs

One of many great things about Shanghai, the people are so warm and welcoming. My roommate took me to eat tacos (yes tacos) with her friend, Xiao Yu. The tacos were a delicious blend of Asian and Mexican cuisine and only 4 USD for two! Afterward, we walked around the city, petted a cute dog, listened to music, and talked about daily life.


The Bund

Shanghai’s most famous sightseeing spot is The Bund (Wai Tan). In this picture, we’re all on the other side of the river, looking back at the side we usually stay on. During this CET Adventure, three groups split off to do tasks and earn money. In total, we earned about 600 yuan! ($80 USD). With our spoils, we got milk tea and dinner for the 11 students in our group.


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