It’s been almost two years since I’ve lived in Shanghai now. I first discover Shanghai when I came to study abroad in good ol’ Shangs through my American program at UW aka U-Dub aka University of Washington. It was the best experience I’ve ever ventured on. I went through the transition of being a student to graduating to working in Shanghai. I know the difficulties and I know how incredibly wonderful it can be.
Discover Shanghai: What’s so special about the city?
Overall, I loved it starting from day one. The city is amazing if you’re a big city person. I’ve always grown up in the burbs back home in the States so this city offered so much more. The convenience of everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is awesome. No need for a car – you’ve got subways; no need for legs – you can order meals and groceries online; forgot to brush your teeth, comb your hair, put on socks, and eat breakfast on the way to work? Well don’t you worry, my friend, you can get all these things on the street along the way! Just stop by the hairbrush pedlar who also sells mirrors in his cart, then visit the sock lady’s sock box next to him and buy 4 pairs for 10 RMB (wool, cotton, or leggings – your choice). After all that shopping, take a break to brush your teeth along the sidewalk given that you brought your toothbrush in your purse/murse. And of course, breakfast is all over the place from street vendors or small shops. Feel free to pick up some extra sandals, bowls/cups/plates, roasted chestnuts, and a giant stuffed teddy bear (human-sized) on the way home. Your day is complete! Completely fabulous.
There are so many things about Shanghai I could talk about but it would go on for pages, and there are some things I can’t even express in words, they’re all inexpressible feelings captured from the wonderful experience and growth I’ve encountered over the months. I feel so blessed for having this unique opportunity to break myself apart from the usual American life. The life where Americans are number one on top of the cheerleading pyramid inside a bubble where the rest of the world points and laughs at our American-centric attitude…. But we won’t get into that. Teehee (world peace, everyone, world peace…)
Anyway, I used to be a baby at heart, being the youngest and all, but look at me now, Mom! I’m a grownup who took a chance to move aross the world by myself and learned how to cook/clean my own place, and simply be satisfied with the independence I harbor to live strong as an individual detached from regular comforts I’ve known all my life. Loving my new adventurous soul! It’s a story of a lifetime.
But seriously, can’t wait until I go home and have Mommy’s cooking again, none of this nonsense I’ve been making myself.
Go Abroad? A life-changing experience!
Over time I’ve developed a huge heart for those who are eager to study/work/move/live abroad – not just travel, but actually reside for more than a few months in a brand new city or country, especially among the young people because I’ve been there myself! It’s the best challenge anyone can take on. Why? Because it totally puts you out there where you’re afraid and alone, and right in the face of brand new opportunities. Life-changing ones. Not little ones like trying a different burger from a different joint. How about try the xiaolong bao, fanqie chaodan, chao mian, and yuxiang qiezi. That’s right, what the heck are those, a bunch of x’s and q’s. Come find out! Well most importantly, you’ll discover an amazing personal growth in character and broaden your world perspectives. It is something to be commended for and the memories will last forever.
Jennifer Kwong advises students in their process of joining the NSC program as the Program Advisor. Born and raised in the United States, she moved to Shanghai after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies from University of Washington (Seattle). She is fluent in Chinese having studied three years of Mandarin. With a passion for world cultures, Jennifer always enjoys traveling to new places and has a strong interest in global development and international relations.