Life at Fudan University
In her second letter from Shanghai, Vivi Feng describes daily life as an exchange student
Jan 31, 2020
A normal day at Fudan University usually starts when my alarm goes off at 7:00 or 9:00 a.m., depending on when I have class. To get to the university, I walk like most students do or rent a bike. On the way, there are places on almost every corner to get something hot and fresh for breakfast: steamed dumplings (包子, Baozi) and Chinese wraps (煎饼果子, Jianbing Guozi) cost less than one euro.
After Chinese class and lunch with friends in the student cafeteria, it is time to do my homework. But it’s easy to procrastinate here. You can order basically anything you can think of with the shopping app 淘宝 (Taobao) from clothes to groceries, even furniture. Even if you are not really planning on making purchases, there is always some silly thing that you don’t actually need, but end up ordering anyway.
Of course, online shopping aside, there are plenty of other activities to do in the afternoon at Fudan University. Karate, drawing, mahjong – there is something for everyone. I joined a dance group at the beginning of the semester, which gave me the chance to pursue my hobby while I'm here, but it was also an opportunity to get to know Chinese students.
At the start of the semester, evenings were often filled with going out to bars or clubs or attending different welcome parties. Over the course of the semester, karaoke also became a favorite evening activity. Even if you are like me and aren't a talented singer, it is still a fun way to spend an evening with friends – especially because it isn’t something I usually do in Germany.
But in winter it’s hard to get up the motivation to go out again in the evening. When it’s dark and rainy outside, I prefer to stay in the dorms and order comfort food. Ordering out here is not just practical, it’s also cheap – which makes it very popular. In fact, it’s so popular that there is a little window built into the fence around the dorm building where you go to pick up your delivery.
Unfortunately, the first semester is already over. Many of my classmates and I had planned trips to Thailand, Vietnam, or other Asian countries during the break between semesters. As luck would have it, many of us had to cancel our travel plans due to the recent spread of the coronavirus and the risks associated with it. Some have returned to their home countries, while others are staying on campus in Shanghai over the break. There is a lot to say about the situation that has developed in response to the coronavirus epidemic. I will be sure to go into more detail in my next article.