After almost 2 months in China, it certainly opened my eyes with a whole world of new experiences. On the day of registration, it suprised me that there are many international students studied in China. This allowed me to have plenty of opportunities to explore the real China by socializing and interacting with both international and home students in view of the importance of networking.
Apart from coming to China to pursue academic qualification as my main priority but taking part in non-academic activities is also equally important to building a network of friends and adjusting smoothly to my new life in Shanghai.
International students at Shanghai University
My classmate from Madagascar
I am glad and happy to have a Russian girl name Rita as my roommate. It allows me to know more about her, Russian culture and the country.
My buddy roommate, Rita from Russia!
With my roommate Rita who really enjoyed hanging out with my Malaysian friends, we often hang out together and always have plan for every week. She also have some knowledge about Islam and doesn't have any problem if I want to pray or eat halal food.
She also enjoy Malaysian food that I made such as Nasi Lemak, Chicken Kurma, Ayam Goreng Rempah, Bergedil, and many more. Most of my class mates really jealous because I got a good roommate who understand each other even we come from different country and different religious.
In the last 2 months, she helped me lots in term of daily communication in Mandarin as she has been in Beijing for 3 years and able to speak and write decent Mandarin. Looking back where I have many Chinese friends and opportunities to learn Mandarin in Malaysia, I regret that I did not seriously pick up a simple Mandarin language skill otherwise it will be handy for me now in China.
Now I don’t have much problem if I wanted to go fresh market alone. Prior to this, I don’t have the courage to go alone because I can’t speak Mandarin at all. I need Rita to accompany me. People in fresh market know that I only knew number 1-10. If I have to pay more than that they showed me the calculator to let me know the price. I can go alone to fresh market now without the help of my roommate.
Sometimes I have the instinct and feeling that I understood what Chinese people talking about but I just don’t know how to reply back in Mandarin. I believe, slowly but surely things will turn better about my Mandarin language skill as I am immersing myself to learn the most difficult and widely-spoken language in the world.
To further improve our Mandarin, teacher also took all of us for an out of classroom Mandarin lesson at a bowling centre in Shanghai. Laoshi just wanted to see how well we can interact with Chinese community. It's fun and memorable ways to learn Mandarin and the experience simply unforgettable.
Outdoor Mandarin class activities at bowling centre
As a Muslim, practicing my faith in Shanghai is non-issue at all. There are many mosques in Shanghai such as Shanghai Songjiang Mosque (oldest Islamic mosque in Shanghai built in 1364), Shanghai Xiaotaoyuan Mosque, Shanghai Huxi Mosque and many more.
Huxi Mosque in Shanghai
During my visit to Huxi Mosque, I met few teachers at the Mosque. Although I can’t speak Chinese with them but they spoke with me in Arabic because some of them studied in middle-east countries. My life looks more interesting now where I can improve my Arabic language and learn Mandarin at the same time. Soon I will be better off in language skills compared with my counterparts in Malaysia where I can master 4 languages namely English, Bahasa Melayu, Arabic and Mandarin.
My bicycle I bought from the compensation money received from airline company due to flight delay and lost baggage! No worries, the beg was found and returned to me the next day!!!!
I also met some of Chinese Muslim students at Huxi Mosque. Some were studying at Fudan University and Shanghai Jiautong University. They came from different provinces in China to study in Shanghai. In one special occasion where all Chinese Muslim students in Shanghai held a gathering, they invited me to join the dinner and it was really a pleasant surprise for me and this invitation also paved way for me to understand and know more about Muslim student life in China.
Chinese Muslim students
At the gathering with Chinese Muslim Students
In Shanghai, I also met a Malaysian family in Shanghai and she introduced me to another Malaysian who is working as an intern with a Malaysian company based in Shanghai. My networking with Malaysians who studying or working in Shanghai is expanding fast. We had several gatherings during the weekend. Their warmth and generous hospitality make me feel homey and lovely family life in a foreign land thousands miles away from home. At one of the gathering, I invited my roommate to join in order for her to know more about Malaysians working in Shanghai and also learn the diversity of culture in Malaysia.
Malaysian families in Shanghai
Food wise, plenty of halal food inside and outside the campus. Muslim restaurants are everywhere in Shanghai. There are many western cafes around university as well. I also found many Malaysian snacks at Walmart Hypermart near my university. Halal food is good and abundance in Shanghai. Many Malaysian's brand food products like Munchy, Julie, Oldtown coffee, Aik Chong, Ipoh White coffee can be easily found in Shanghai too!
Whenever I saw Malaysian products on the shelves and sundry shops in Shanghai, I feel proud of it and would not hesitate to introduce it to my classmates. The shopkeeper at one of the international shop always gave me free gift because she knew I am from Malaysia and always bought a lot of food stuff from her shop.
Homemade ABC and all ingredients sourced in Shanghai!
I am very impressed with the public transport system in Shanghai. It is very clean, cheap and efficient. The public buses and the Metro lines were well planned and well connected. If you travel around using public transports, almost all attractions in Shanghai are just right to the door step. I once accompanied and sent off my mom and cousin to Pudong airport from the university. Although it was a long journey of 2 hours but the train ride was so pleasant and enjoyable. The point to point connection cost only a mere RMB 8 per trip compared with my home country where it cost around RM 40. Travel by metro in Shanghai is so easy, convenient and very comfortable despite with the fact that it is crowded everywhere. I can now ride metro to move around Shanghai city on my own without any help.
Muslim prayer room at Metro Station
Without hesitation if given the opportunity to practice my internship after graduation in China, I certainly would like to stay back as the Chinese people are very helpful, kind and friendly. The beauty of Shanghai city has certainly captured my heart with its robustness and vibrancy as the largest city in China as well as world leading financial hub.
Taking this opportunity, I express my sincere gratitude to my family of their unconditional and supportive roles to me to further studies in China. Without their encouragement and the efforts of Mr Lee from PREC Edu services, I couldn't have realizing my dream to study in China.
Syarah Athirah from Shanghai.
My first "Golden Week Holiday" in Shanghai
A visit to craft museum in Shanghai