“Time flies, whether you’re wasting it or not.” Well, in our case, we made the best of it!
For the past 4 months in Shanghai the CEBS students had a great semester full of incredible experiences and interesting events. An overview of our semester was necessary to keep you up to date!
Looking back, we can now truly say that we are true China experts; not only in terms of cultural awareness but also business knowledge and local management skills.
Regarding our adaptation to local culture, we are now completely at ease among the 25 million inhabitants of this busy city. Even though at first we could felt choked surrounded by such a dense population, always being stuck to people in the metro and always facing big crowds in the streets and popular areas, we got more and more used to it.
We can now easily have short conversations with the locals and small store merchants, thanks to our improved level of Chinese. Even though we don’t know the city like the back of our hands yet, we are all (more or less :p) able to find our way back home from pretty much anywhere in the city.
By now, we all know the nightlife well, like the best places to party and hang out, according to the day of the week.
We also adapted to the Shanghainese life, through a seemingly simple step, but integral part of the Chinese lifestyle: mastering the most popular Chinese app, WeChat. This amazing application, gathering more than 800 million users, is known to be the Chinese WhatsApp equivalent, but trust me, it’s not comparable at all.
In addition to the classic chatting feature that Whatsapp offers, WeChat allows you to link your bank account with the application. Hence, we pay our groceries and everyday items through this app, directly in the stores, by scanning QR codes. We also pay our utilities bills or transfer money to each other through it. Next time you don’t have enough cash on you, think about the ingenuity of such an app! And that’s not all: we are also able to order a taxi or food online. Last but not least, WeChat also offers a social media feature, which allows us to share pictures or videos: now you know how Chinese can people survive without Facebook!
But the Chinese technological cleverness does not end there. For example, can you guess what CEBS girls’ new favorite hobby is? Biking in the crazy city of Shanghai, thanks to amazing bike sharing apps. How does this work? Pretty simple: through the app, which tells you where the nearest bike is, you scan the QR code of the bike, then enter a combination, which will unlock the bike. As soon as you arrived to your final destination, you can leave the bike wherever you want (no station needed!)
It is so much fun to be a cyclist rather than just a pedestrian in Shanghai! It allows us to discover the city every day from another perspective and be at one with the incredible movement of people around the city. Avoiding the cars and buses obviously turns out to be challenging but is also part of the exciting life here.
Even though we miss our AMS friends a lot, we are so grateful for the amazing time we have spent here in China and for the 2 remaining months to come! We are already on our way towards professional life, by currently working on our Consultancy Projects for companies located or setting up in China.
Time flies, it really does. But it's up to us to be the navigators.
To be continued in the next blog post… !
Your correspondent in Shanghai,