Melinda Papp spent her 5th semester in China. As a freemover, she participated in various courses at the East China University of Science and Technology. She shared her experiences with us in a short interview.
How did you like your semester abroad?
All in all, I am satisfied with my semester abroad. I gained a lot of experience and got to know Chinese culture. The courses I attended were also very interesting. I received enough support from MCI to successfully organize my trip abroad as a freemover. The staff at the host university were also very nice.
What do you think of the quality, workload and exams of your host university?
The courses I took were all very challenging. The lecturers were very knowledgeable and helpful. A reasonable amount of material was delivered and questioned. The exams were very well organized.
What advice would you give to students who would also like to spend a semester abroad there?
I would recommend doing a good job of researching the courses offered and expect that some courses may not start.
Were there any language problems/barriers during your stay?
The lecturers very often spoke in Chinese at the university. In one subject, the lecturer spoke exclusively in Chinese. However, I was able to download many materials to prepare myself. The lecturers' knowledge of English was acceptable. The staff who dealt with organizational stuff knew English well.
Do you have any recommendations regarding accommodation, living expenses, etc.?
The apartments in Shanghai are very expensive. The university offers accommodations for international students. They are much cheaper. I was very satisfied with my apartment.
How would you rate the leisure facilities and public transportation?
There is nothing in Shanghai that you can't get. The city is very modern and there are many entertainment options available. There are many bars, restaurants, stores, malls and so on in the city. The university is easily accessible and the public transportation lines are very good.
What did you like most about your semester abroad? Was it worth it for you?
It was definitely worth it to spend a semester abroad in China. What I liked most was the city and that it had so much to offer. In addition, it was very interesting to get to know the culture of the Chinese and to make friends. I visited numerous places in China that I might never have seen otherwise. I also learned Chinese, which I found very exciting and interesting. I have developed a lot personally and I believe that I can benefit from these experiences in the future.
Were there any problems? Or did anything not go according to plan during your stay?
Getting a visa in China is not an easy task and needs to be well organized. It was especially challenging because of the current situation. In the end, these problems have been solved.
What tips and recommendations would you give to students who plan a semester abroad?
Organize everything well, think it through, prepare for the cultural differences, learn some Chinese if possible. Find people who have been to China before and find out about life in China, as it is very different from Europe.
Impressions from Shanghai and surroundings. Photos: Melinda Papp