Apart from the great academic opportunities that Shanghai offers, the chance to study Chinese in Shanghai also gives you an opportunity to live a more cosmopolitan lifestyle than almost anywhere else in China. Shanghai is a global city with a huge variety of exciting pastimes and opportunities, if you only know where to look. In order to get the most out of your time learning Mandarin in Shanghai, here are some tips on where to find culture, mix with interesting people and engage in a varied and enriching list of activities.
When you want to take a break from the classroom but still get in some study time, then Shanghai’s café culture is the perfect choice. Favourite venues in Shanghai include the Old China Hand Book Room and L’s Book Café and Wine, both of which are cozy venues where you can enjoy a good cup of coffee whilst sitting in comfort and catching up on your latest Mandarin language lesson notes. These cafes are also a great place for a quiet night out, or offer an informal yet practical option for an afternoon meeting. These are places where daydreamers and intellectuals alike gather, and they offer a counterpoint to the usual preconception that Shanghai is only about commerce.
If café culture is getting bigger, it is still some way behind Shanghai’s truly world-class restaurant and bar scenes. With all types of food from around the globe and some of the trendiest, most interesting bars in Asia, Shanghai has exciting eating and nightlife for all budget levels. However, for a real treat you can try the Alchemist Cocktail Kitchen, where molecular gastronomy and unique cocktails combine in a truly elegant location.
A nice dinner and an evening out isn’t all Shanghai has to offer away from your study abroad program. In order to make the most of your Mandarin language lessons, it is important to take in the culture and history of China. Shanghai has its own unique areas of culture, particularly in the visual arts. In order to contextualise your Chinese language study with cultural references, go and visit the Shanghai Museum in People’s Park. This large museum has a comprehensive collection of jade, bronze, ceramics and sculpture, but it is the traditional paintings that steal the show.
Shanghai has long developed its own style of painting, and the Shanghai Museum has some of the best examples in China of this beautiful art form. This will give real cultural significance to your Chinese study in Shanghai.
Shanghai’s charm is that it combines the ancient culture of China with many modern and Western values. This is often referred to as hai pai culture, and makes Shanghai unique amongst Chinese cities. This is the place where you can take part in a tea ceremony one day, and then eat at a fancy Italian restaurant at the top of a skyscraper the next.
Whilst you will certainly be busy during your time in Shanghai, the cosmopolitan lifestyle you can lead makes it truly inspiring to study Chinese in Shanghai.