你好 (Hello) from beautiful 上海 (Shanghai)! I’m writing this blog post from across the globe, where my study abroad adventures in China have just begun. Because of the way the Chinese New Year falls, the spring semester in China begins in late February and runs into the summer. In practice, this meant that I had a wonderful 10-week long winter break to spend with my family, but it also meant that I was waiting at home while all my friends either returned to campus for the spring semester or took off for their study abroad sessions. All that aside, I am now happily settled and (mostly) over my jet lag here at East China Normal University in Shanghai.
Shanghai is one of Notre Dame’s smaller study abroad programs. This semester, I am one of four Notre Dame students here at ECNU. My classes are all offered through part of a larger program that includes about 80 students from universities across America. Although I have not yet been here a week, I have already had multiple moments where I am thankful for my Notre Dame education, and especially for the spectacular 老师们 (teachers) in the Chinese department. Every test, quiz, and homework assignment I have had over the past five semesters has really prepared me well for life in Shanghai. It’s amazing to measure my progress against students from other universities with the same length of study, and both my Chinese roommate and the various Chinese people I interact with on a daily basis have been very complimentary about my Mandarin abilities. Thank you, Notre Dame!
This is my fourth time in China (see my previous blog posts from this past summer doing research in Beijing!) but this country still manages to challenge and delight me every day. I will be blogging about my semester in Shanghai on a roughly weekly basis, so check back here to keep up with my experiences as a semi-fluent foreigner with a penchant for adventure and new experiences!