There is another group who payed more tuition fee and has more things going on for them, because the other group was a little bit busy while the trip to Totole factory were arranged, people from our group were allowed to go.
The time has gone very fast and its now time to leave Shanghai, i hope you could find decent information from this blog and imo this blog layout wasnt that good, its a pain in the ass to use VPN while the internet in my apartment were bad and this website was one of the blog website i found which you dont need VPN for, but it has a limited storage space so i would not recommend using this website for free. I would recommend checking the internet quality if you are searching for an apartment as most owners probably subscribe for the most shittiest internet connection to save money and profit from it more.
If you have any question, feel free to add me on wechat id:johnnyhtjb and i will try to help you as best as i can.
Another city close to Shanghai is Nanjing which you can spend 2-3 days at, the travel time is around 1,30-2 hours with bullet train, and the city reminds quite a lot of Hangzhou and Suzhou. Nanjing has the second biggest museum and a small mountain to climb with many attractions and a nice river ¨walking place¨ place where the Confucian temple is located and a few other places to visit also like the Nanjing massacre memorial which i didnt visit, if you dont like walking you can take transportation to the various places at the mountain for 10 rmb for one way. The ticket price for a one way train ticket from Shanghai is 140 rmb.
Remember to bring your student card and passport for half price discount for various attractions.
10 may was the day for the international day, there were many countries with its own booth selling snacks, food, alcohol and different kind of small goods and there were also performances. The countries which attended were African Union, Morocco, France, Germany, Finland, Moldova, Turkey, South Korea, Japan, Ukraine, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Iran, Mexico, Ecuador, Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan.
Its nearing the end of the exchange program and you really are torturing yourself if you picked 6 courses, every course wants a final paper handed in at the end of the course with around 3000 words so its been very busy the last few weeks when our group also piled all the presentation to the end of the semester but its soon done.
1 may was a national holiday called Labour day which is also called the international workers day, with this holiday most locals go on a 3 day trip somewhere so at this time most tourist places are really crowded, so its recommended not to travel at this time. We have some classes canceled now and then and if you picked courses so that you dont have any classes on friday or monday you could easily travel during non national holiday when its not too crowded to enjoy at the various places, spring season is usually the time when the Chinese travels when the spring is coming.
We decided to take a 3 days trip to Hangzhou which is 1 hour train ride from Shanghai, you could depart from Shanghai railways station which is located in the city center and from Hongqiao railway station which is 40 min metro ride from the city center. I chose courses so i had no classes on mondays so i could have a longer weekend but a 2 days trip to either Hangzhou or Suzhou is quite enough.
The ticket for one way to Hanzhou was around 70 rmb, you could buy the ticket from alipay or wechat or go to the station to buy from the ticket counter. Im not sure if the staff can speak English at the stations outside Shanghai but at the stations in Shanghai they can speak quite decent English and they even have a foreigner booth where they sell specifically for foreigners. There are automatic ticket machines but only locals with id can buy from them. Be sure to bring your passport when you go buy a ticket and some basic words in Chinese could help you buy a ticket outside Shanghai.
Im not very sure how this really works but one time when we checked the tickets on the website and app, the tickets were sold out but when we went to the ticket counter there were still tickets available so you can always try go to the stations and check for a ticket at the ticket counter but careful so you dont choose a standing ticket.
Theres only 2 reserve roasteries in the world and one is located in Shanghai, the entrance is free and you get to see them pack some coffee beans and buy some really expensive starbucks coffee, tea, and other fancy desserts and merchandises.
If you need things for your room i would recommend going to Ikea or order the things from the app Taobao, you can find lots of cheap necessary things from Ikea. I bought bed sheet, pillow, quilt, quilt cover for the total price around 400 rmb. One Ikea is located at shanghai indoor stadium station and the other Ikea at Dachang town station.
Some courses are good and some are not that very good, all the courses are 3:30h long with sometimes 1 or 2 15 minutes break or a 30 minutes break and most course are mostly graded by presentations, papers with no final exam.
Everyone uses it (chatting app). It is the same thing as whatsapp, telegram, kakaotalk but it has other functions. You can chat and post things like on facebook but the most interesting thing is that you can pay with it by scanning QR codes. You connect your Chinese debit card to the app and you can pay instantly anywhere with your phone by letting them scan your bar/QR code or scan theirs to pay manually. The locals usually do not carry any cash with them when you can also use the metro app to pay for the ticket and top the app up with money with Wechat or Alipay.
Funny thing is that I've seen people begging with Wechat or Alipay going around showing their QR code.
A problem with this technology is that you get too dependent on your phone so it might cause big problems if you lose the phone. There has been many incidents where phones has been pickpocket at crowded places and at metro stations.
Taobao (searching for treasure)
If you have not heard of Alibaba or jack Ma, you will sooner or later. Taobao is a subsidiary of Alibaba group which is similar to amazon and other e-market website but MUCH bigger. You can order anything from here very cheap and it will arrive to your door from 12 hours to 1-3 days or even faster. Some are very addicted to this site as this is a very normal website to order clothes also, but as said you can order everything from here.
Elema ( are you hungry)
A popular app where you order food, very convenient if you are too lazy to go out.
Payment app like Wechat but only for payment, Connecting my bank card did not work with Wechat but it worked with Alipay, Alipay is as big as Wechat in paying and is also accepted everywhere and some prefer Alipay.
A bicycle renting app which cost 1 rmb per kmi think? just been paying 1 rmb everytime. You put a 99rmb deposit and these bicycles are everywhere which are very convenient to get around.
Didi ( brother)
An app like Grab and Uber where you choose destination and get a estimated price, quite good to have when you cant communicate where you want to go and cheaper than normal taxi.
To be able to use Wechat or Alipay you will need a Chinese bank account, i heard some rumors which i have not checked that you can also connect to a foreign credit card but opening a bank account in shanghai is very easy. You will need your passport, Address, purpose for opening ( just say for rent, Wechat, Alipay) and a phone number and also a student card or any proof on that you are not here for tourist purpose. Some might require your residence paper but it depends.
You will not be able to open a bank account at the bank of china but at ICBC you will be able to.
I bought a prepaid from China Unicom which works ok but sometimes not very well, i know that China mobile is also very popular but i do not know how the internet works with them.
Other alternative instead of google
As google is blocked in china locals usually use the Chinese google version Baidu and Baidu map, if you want to browse in English you can try the legendary website Bing if you do not have a VPN.