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My Advice for Studying Abroad in Shanghai, China

Isabel spent her year abroad studying Chinese language courses at Fudan University, Shanghai. Studying abroad in China can be a very different experience to someone studying in Europe, for example. Isabel has decided to put together her top tips for studying abroad in Shanghai, China.

Do you have any recommendations on accomodation?

I stayed in Holiday Inn Wujiaochang, Shanghai for a month before moving into my flat in Shanghai. The rooms especially the twin rooms were a very reasonable price and breakfast was provided. The hotel is also near to metro line 10, which goes straight into the city centre.

Best places to eat, drink and go out?

Family mart a Chinese convenience store was our go to store for day to day essentials. The best cheap bar in my area was a bar called Commune in Wujiaochang, near Fudan University. The bar had a huge selection of drinks, especially cocktails and craft beers, at a very reasonable price. If you are staying in the city centre of Shanghai I would recommend Captain’s rooftop bar. It offers panaoromic views of the Shnaghai skyline and is a lot more affordable than other rooftop bars in Shanghai.

Be careful about fake alcohol. If the drink prices are very cheap, the alcohol is most likely fake – this is also a very common occurrence in nightclubs. Also be careful of street food as you will often get an upset stomach from randomly eating streetfood in Shanghai and the rest of China.

Best day trips?

From Shanghai I would recommend day trips to Suzhou and Hangzhou, which are two cities roughly an hour on the bullet train from Shanghai. Also if you are interested in Chinese history I would recommend a trip to Nanjing, which is a two hour bullet train ride from Shanghai. Be careful of your belongings at train stations I got my phone stolen at a train station.

How to get around?

I would recommend taking the metro wherever possible in Shanghai. The metro in Shanghai is very clean, safe and cheap. As for taxis, they are also a very good option as the Shanghai metro closes at midnight. So if you are on a night out, you will need to take a taxi home. Make sure to only take taxis from an official rank at the airport. There are a lot of bike share options in China which are very useful, so I don’t think it is necessary to buy your own bike.

What about money advice?

The currency is RMB, but your debit card should work in China. I would recommend bringing a lot of cash with you as it can take a while to set up a bank account and you can only have a bank account in China if you have a residency permit. You cannot have a bank account in China if you are only going for one semester abroad. You will incur quite hefty charges using your debt card in China so be careful.

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