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6 posts from July 2012


day trip to zhujiajiao old town

13 July 2012: students take an afternoon exploring the old water town of Zhujiajiao (朱家角). Founded more than 1,700 years ago, the old town features 36 delicate bridges of different shapes, styles, and materials—from wood to stone to marble–which were built nearly 500 years ago. The most unique, Fangsheng Bridge, is the largest stone five-arched bridge in east China. Students perused local handicrafts, picked up souvenirs, and tasted traditional food, all the while enjoying the historic buildings and getting to know the local people.


chinese cooking class: dumplings!

6 July 2012: students learned to make and cook dumplings, one of China's staple dishes on a Friday after class. Yummy!


educationUSA panel

9 July 2012: four ACL students were invited to serve as panelists for the US Consulate General's EducationUSA series in conjuction with the Public Affairs Section.  The students spoke to prospective Chinese students interested in studying in the States or who have already been accepted to undergraduate or graduate programs in the US about campus life, time management, academic culture, student organizations and clubs and other aspects of campus life.  The panel was extremely informative for attendees and panelists.

Patrick Colligan of Georgetown University

Pictured starting second from left: Alex Levine (Fordham University); Patrick Colligan (Georgetown University); Maria Chappell (Arizona State University); and John Tackebary (UNC-Chapel Hill)

orientation week

Greetings from the CIEE Study Center in Shanghai! I am Tian Song, Manager of Student Services.

On June 24th, the Summer 2012 students arrived at Shanghai Pudong airport, and CIEE staff and Chinese roommates awaited excitedly outside the secured area to welcome them and escort them to the East China Normal University campus. From there, students checked in to their residence hall or settled in with their host families. The three-day orientation began on Monday, June 25th, and CIEE students had the opportunity to become familiarized with the CIEE Study Center, the ECNU campus, academic programs, Chinese language program and the city of Shanghai. During orientation week, students also had ample time to engage in cultural and social events such as welcome dinners with Chinese roommates, host families, and CIEE staff and an amazing acrobatic performance at the Shanghai Circus World. The week’s activities culminated in the CIEE students’ own version of the Amazing Race in order to become acquainted with some of the city’s most well-known and important landmarks and sites.

Winners of the Summer 2012 CIEE Amazing Race (pictured from left to right): Victor Huynh, BLC (Penn State); Alex Birch, ACL (University of Washington); Renee Harrison, ACL (Brigam Young University); and Danielle Siemer, BLC (Ohio Wesleyan University)

The winners won a 100 RMB massage voucher to a popular Shanghai spa located in the Former French Concession.


Lessons Learned

There's so much to learn here in Shanghai besides what I'm getting from the textbooks.

1) Everywhere is BYOTP, Bring Your Own Toilet Paper. Everywhere.

2) I hate rice porridge more than anything in the world. Imagine the blandest oatmeal you've ever eaten, times 10 grosser.

 3) Don't be afraid to try the frog legs.

4) Sometimes its okay not to know what you're eating. You're better off that way and you'll enjoy more food.

Yup. Important life lessons!


First week done!

Well, one week is completed in the Accelerated Chinese Shanghai program! Its been a fast-paced week so far and I can only imagine that the rest of the 7 weeks will go by just as fast!

Arriving here in Shanghai was super exciting. This trip is my first time out of the country and, of all the places to go, I ended up in the largest city in the world!

 The first night that every one was here, we all went to this awesome Sichuan restaurant and tried all the food and watched a short "face changer" show. From what another student told me, its a type of opera from that area. There was loud, fast music and the performer was dancing and every few moments, they somehow managed to change the mask they were wearing in the blink of an eye! I don't know how they did it, but it was amazing! One of the great things about the program is how personable the staff are. The program director, Dr. Chao, sat at my table and introduced all the dishes to us.

Wednesday was the first day of classes! Four hours of classtime a day plus the one hour with a tutor and one hour with a one-on-one teacher each day will be intense, but I'm sure my Chinese is going to get better faster than I could ever imagine!  I think to give our minds a break from the first day of class, all of us went to an acrobatic performance called Era. The acts were really fun and varied from guys doing flips and dives through hoops more than 6' off the ground to 8 people on motorcycles in the same metal orb!

On Friday, the staff had a activity prepared for us to get us used to Shanghai's public transportation, our own little Amazing Race. My team wasn't the fastest(we took one of the longest legs of the  journey by bus instead of train and that set us back a whole hour), but we had fun at all of the stops and talked to a lot of people on the way. We saw a Buddhist temple, The Bund, the Shanghai Museum, and the place of the first national communist party meeting.

Saturday wasn't fun. Often times, when a person travels, their bodies need to adjust to the food. Well, the food, while all of it has been great, finally caught up to me. My host mother was nice enough to give me some fish oil pills...a whole handful...  What made things better is that I didn't have a bottle of water on me, so my choices to chase the pills down were warm rice porridge water, which my stomach refused to eat, or almost boiling water. Yeah, neither of those options ended well... A really long nap later that day after foolishly trying to go out sightseeing at the Bund and I was all better though! All better in time for dinner and then Karaoke with my classmates!

Well, for now, zai jian!