A Sleeper Train and a Shanghai Fashion Week Experience

Apr 19, 2018 4:30:00 PM / by Irene Kanthan

CAPA_Jolena Hou_Shanghai_Headshot.jpg

Jolena is an official CAPA vlogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Finance and International Business major at University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

In this week's post, Jolena talks about taking a sleeper train to Hangzhou, visiting West Lake, and getting a chance to experience Shanghai Fashion Week.

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In this blog post I’ll be describing our CAPA excursion to Hangzhou and attending a Fashion Weekend event in Shanghai!

CAPAStudyAbroad_Shanghai_Spring2018_From Jolena Hou - On the Sleeper Train to Hangzhou

Two weeks ago, our CAPA group set out on an adventure to Hangzhou. We took the sleeper train which was a really cool experience. The sleeper train is basically broken into sections with six bunks within them. It was something I’d never experienced before, and as cramped as it may sound, a lot of us agreed that we really enjoyed our naps on the train. While you’re on the train there are also snacks, such as fruit and different beverages, being wheeled on carts and sold for a small price. Before long we arrived at the Hangzhou Railway Station and our hotel was conveniently located right next to the station! It was an unfortunate first day due to rain, but we managed to walk to the West Lake and have a brief walk through before we all decided to return to the hotel and stay indoors.

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Fashion, Transportation

Connecting Global Cities: The U.S.-China Case Study

Apr 19, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

Connecting Global Cities” is a monthly column written by Colin Speakman, Resident Director for CAPA Shanghai.

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There are times when studying abroad that important global events occur and this provides the opportunity to examine them in a different culture.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Spring2018_Shanghai_From Colin Speakman - Shanghai, the World’s Top Cargo Port by Value Photo: Shanghai, the world's top cargo port by value from Colin Speakman

In the second half of the 1980s I was teaching International Economics and International Finance at an American university in London—where there were more than 100 nationalities on the campus with a significant percentage of students from the U.S. There were some important events to use as case studies.

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Global Cities

Academics in Shanghai: From Intensive Chinese Classes to Business Courses

Mar 27, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

CAPA_Jolena Hou_Shanghai_Headshot.jpg

Jolena is an official CAPA vlogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Finance and International Business major at University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

In this week's post, Jolena shares what it's school is really like on her study abroad program in Shanghai and the differences between classes in the U.S. and China.

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How has it already been a month since I’ve arrived in China? Time is moving unusually fast, and it’s hard to believe how confused and out of place I felt a month ago. Now I’d say I’m able to live like a local by going through the basic motions of life without fearing that I’m going the wrong way on the subway or ordering a mystery meal while out.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Shanghai_Spring2018_From Jolena Hou - ECNU in the Day

And now that life in Shanghai is in full swing that means going to school. Being an international student is such an odd concept. Back at home, we barely see the international students around or interact with them—and it’s pretty much the same here and I feel like I’ve reversed roles. The international students interact with each other because we’re pretty much on the same boat, whereas we don’t really have classes or chances to meet native Chinese students. It’s a bit unfortunate, but I can understand because the school system between countries can be very different.

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Academics Abroad, Classes

Connecting Global Cities: Economic Power of Global Cities

Mar 22, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

Connecting Global Cities” is a monthly column written by Colin Speakman, Resident Director for CAPA Shanghai.

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New York may have been unhappy at being knocked off the top spot on A.T. Kearney’s Global Cities Index by London, but they will be happier to note that a survey of global cities by “economic power,” compiled by Oxford Economics, puts them at number one.


CAPAStudyAbroad_Spring2018_Shanghai_From Colin Speakman - George Washington Bridge-Wiki Commons.png
Photo: George Washington Bridge from public domain

Economic power here is measured by GDP of different cities when converted to U.S. dollars and Oxford Economics have produced an interesting list. However, there are some important caveats. Firstly, the survey is future focused to project the ranking by 2030, not the current state of play—and things can change.

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Global Cities, Globalization

The Movie Theater Experience in Shanghai

Mar 20, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

CAPA_Jolena Hou_Shanghai_Headshot.jpg

Jolena is an official CAPA vlogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Finance and International Business major at University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

In this week's post, Jolena finds out what it's like to watch a movie in Shanghai and tells us why this global city has it all.

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This past weekend I got the chance to watch a Chinese movie at the theater, go out for a hot pot dinner, and visit the Yuyuan Garden!

CAPAStudyAbroad_Shanghai_Spring2018_From Jolena Hou - Movie Theater.png

What is the Movie Theater Experience Like in Shanghai?

On Friday a group of us went out to watch a movie at the theater and then get hot pot for dinner afterwards. Many might ask, what’s so special about going to the movies in China? Well in comparison to the U.S., it’s a bit different. What sparked the interest of going to the movies was that a group of students wanted to see Black Panther, and it’s offered in 4DX here. 4DX isn’t common in the US and I believe there’s only a handful of theaters. Here, we were able to find one pretty easily that was close by and for a decent price. Although many wanted to see Black Panther, I, and a few others, opted to see Operation Red Sea, a Chinese action/war style movie.

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Activities Abroad, Food in Shanghai

Excursions to Suzhou and Zhujiajiao

Mar 13, 2018 11:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

CAPA_Jolena Hou_Shanghai_Headshot.jpg

Jolena is an official CAPA vlogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Finance and International Business major at University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

In this week's post, Jolena takes part in a CAPA Shanghai excursion to Suzhou and visits Zhujiajiao to experience more of China.

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And just like that I’ve been in Shanghai for two weeks. Although the first week felt like a vacation it soon came to an end as we quickly dove into classes. I can’t comment much on school yet because the only classes I’ve had so far are through East China Normal University’s (ECNU) Global Chinese Program; and these were Chinese and Chinese Philosophy. This coming week I’ll be starting my Global Business Institute classes, so I’d consider this week my first “real” week of school. Once I’ve experienced them I’ll be sure to update but today I wanted to talk about last weekend’s CAPA excursion and the ECNU excursion I went on yesterday.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Shanghai_Spring2018_From Jolena Hou - Suzhou Town.png

Last Saturday we visited the “Venice of the East,” aka Suzhou. We woke up early to get to the subway and rode a few stops to Shanghai railway station. From there we rode the high-speed rail which was a cool experience. We made it to Suzhou in 25 minutes when it typically would take hours by regular train or car. To be honest, we were all pretty worn out by the end of the week and were expecting to nap on the train, but within a blink of the eye we’d arrived in Suzhou!

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, My Global Education, Activities Abroad

Shanghai: A City Like No Other

Mar 6, 2018 1:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

CAPA_Jolena Hou_Shanghai_Headshot.jpg

Jolena is an official CAPA vlogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Finance and International Business major at University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

In this week's post, Jolena gets acquainted with Shanghai and shares her observations about this big city.

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It's been a week and a day since arriving in Shanghai and things have been pretty wild. But at this point in time I'd like to say that I feel pretty integrated which is surprising. I didn't think I'd get the hang of things this early on.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Shanghai_Spring2018_From Jolena Hou - The Bund.jpeg

The first couple of days we had CAPA orientation. We were shown around campus and the city and were briefed on our classes for the semester. We got to know where to buy our basic necessities, and we ate good local food! We ended the four-day "orientation" by going to the Bund—probably the most iconic view of Shanghai.

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Orientation, First Thoughts

3 Ways to Make Packing Easier

Feb 20, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

CAPA_Jolena Hou_Shanghai_Headshot.jpg

Jolena is an official CAPA vlogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Finance and International Business major at University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

In her first post, Jolena lists 3 packing tips to help you start your study abroad journey on the right track.

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I have had my suitcases out and open on my floor for the past two weeks because I just can't seem to commit. There are way too many things I need and too little space in these rolling boxes. Why am I even writing about packing when I'm struggling with it myself? So that you and I can read this now and then probably read about all the things I didn't need later. Today I'll be sharing three packing tips I've read/received. Hopefully it'll help those who plan to study abroad or travel!

CAPAStudyAbroad_Shanghai_Spring2018_From Jolena Hou - Predeparture_1.pngYou can find a packing list on Pinterest.

1. Get a Packing List

First off, I have too many clothes. And when it comes down to narrowing them down, you might as well be asking me to pick my favorite child. Along with this I'm a major procrastinator, so I've been putting off packing for as long as possible. But because I am planning on being abroad for about five or so months (traveling after my semester ends), I really can't procrastinate this (as much as I'm trying to). My first tip is to write a list of what you need and tape it up on the wall. If you're lazy like I am, just pull one off of Pinterest or Google! BAM! Your essential needs are written out for you so you won't forget them. For China, there were a couple of packing lists up on Pinterest already (made my life 10 times easier); I also looked up the weather for the months I'll be there and modified the list based on that.

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations, Tips

Connecting Global Cities: Celebrations and Tribulations of Chinese New Year

Feb 15, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

Connecting Global Cities” is a monthly column written by Colin Speakman, Resident Director for CAPA Shanghai.

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“Xīn Nián Kuài Lè” (Mandarin - Happy New Year) or “Kung Hei Fat Choy” (Cantonese - Happiness and Prosperity) were sayings echoing out around Asia and beyond, even as far as London’s Chinatown when the Chinese New Year celebrations got underway as a near global event from Friday, February 15 (New Year’s Eve and China National Holiday) ending by Thursday, February 22.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Spring2018_Shanghai_From Colin Speakman - Chinese New Year Parade in London 2018.pngPhoto: Chinese New Year Parade in London by Colin Speakman

Of course, these holidays are found in other parts of Asia and, in 2017, I celebrated in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in the period of Vietnam’s Tet. This time I was in London and Western countries have no holidays for Chinese New Year (though China has National Holidays for January 1—three days this time). Thus, it was on Sunday February 18, a couple of days’ later, that London’s Chinatown held the famous parade and events in Trafalgar Square. I was there to celebrate the Year of the Dog even if with the help of a Snake (it was not the Year of the Frog!).

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Global Cities, Cultural Insights

Connecting Global Cities: Expats Away from Home

Jan 18, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

Connecting Global Cities” is a monthly column written by Colin Speakman, Resident Director for CAPA Shanghai.

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Happy 2018! The stimulus for this topic came partly from being sandwiched between the Western New Year and the Chinese New Year this month and partly from a contribution I was asked to make by China Daily on ex-pats’ reflections on being away from home for the holiday season, Christmas to some. You can read that article here.

Photo: December 25, 2017 in Shanghai by Colin Speakman

It shows that there are some celebrations that are quite hard to replicate in foreign parts for expats abroad. Even in cities ranked as global cities, it is not always possible to find authentic celebrations from back home.

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Posted in: Shanghai, China, Global Cities

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