The city of the future

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I spent some of the most amazing time of my life this fall in one of the world’s busiest cities: Shanghai. Since I was a little girl, I have develop a deep fascination towards the Chinese culture through the countless stories I’ve heard from family members who have travelled there for business, so I really can’t put in words how excited I was to finally explore the way of life on the other side of the world myself.

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And I’m happy I did it. During the 3 month period that the China Program lasted I learned to get through sticky situations with a big silly smily on my face and by only using sign language, not to mention some essential Mandarin for everyday use that I picked up. I got lost in the city more than once, travelled a bit around China, spend a weekend with the NBA organization and met a bunch of interesting people from around the world. I got used to the massive crowds during the rush hours in the metro, teared up a little when I first saw the Great Wall and a lot more once hiking up the never-ending stairs. And of course, lived the regular day-to-day life including lots of rice dishes, taxies, Nihao’s, practicing Chinese characters and pronunciation, misunderstandings and steady flow of glittery champagne. And that’s not even half of it. It’s easy to say that life in Shanghai was a dream: everyday we learned something new and saw things that either amazed or amused us.

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I also want to especially mention how kind,helpful and understanding the Chinese were to us strangers. Even though we didn’t have a common language and we might have made some etiquette mistakes along the way, the Shanghainese always took their time to guide us with a big smile on their faces. The professors at the University, especially our Chinese teacher, became a good friend to the group during our stay and was a big support through out the entire stay. I feel so lucky to have met such incredible people as I did in Shanghai!!

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I want to encourage anyone who considers Shanghai as a exchange destination to DO IT!!! Go and you won’t regret choosing the exciting city that has something different to offer for each day of your stay there.

Have a great year of 2015 everyone!! 

Oona Vitikainen

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