Shanghai is very different from Beijing in many ways, in terms of city vibe, history, aesthetics, food, and especially in my case, academics. I wanted to quickly highlight how CET Shanghai is different from CET Beijing so far…
The most noticeable difference is immediately the absence of the language pledge. While speaking Chinese is encouraged, and there is daily Chinese class, the language requirements in Shanghai are much more relaxed in comparison to Beijing’s program. This is in order to take elective classes in English and to compensate for about a third of the students in the program who are learning Mandarin for the first time. While it almost seemed relieving at first, I’ve found that I miss the challenge of constantly needing to use Chinese, and I try to push myself to practice as much as I can, and esp. with my Chinese roommate!
Class schedule – in Shanghai there are two tracks of academics one can choose from, the first being the track which includes an internship component and the second track excluding this element. I chose to follow the internship track, which means taking 4 classes along with a part time internship. Chinese class is for one hour daily (significantly less than in Beijing). Outside of Chinese class, all other classes are three hours long and meet once a week. One course is based around internship theory and explores working in a Chinese/international office environment. My two chosen elective courses are International Marketing (which I love!) and the Chinese Economy. CET Shanghai also offers options related to history, literature, and political science.
I think both programs have certain advantages and disadvantages, but I have found that I am really happy challenging myself and learning in both environments. The class schedule here feels much more like being at an American college, leaving some days of the week really busy and others much more open; these are great days for clocking in hours at your internship or exploring the city! I look forward to writing more about my internship and excursions in the near future 🙂