Secret Shanghai: An Insider’s Guide to the Most Unique Places in Shanghai
Are you tired of visiting the usual tourist attractions? Are you looking for more unique experiences? We have a few suggestions for you that you may not have heard about. Having lived in Shanghai for years, we have gained insight into some of the most unique places to visit.
Learning about Cultural Differences in China
People often wonder if being an expatriate in Shanghai is a challenge with language barriers and other differences, but after immersing myself in Chinese culture, I have learned to speak the Chinese language, appreciate the arts of China, and savour Chinese cuisine. Immersing yourself in Chinese culture and stepping outside the terrains of your comfort zone will provide you with opportunities to make new friends and become more open-minded. Taste a couple of delectable local snacks with your family and friends. Have fun celebrating Chinese holidays, and educate yourself on the history behind them. Enhance your Chinese language skills, and visit the many galleries that display ancient Chinese calligraphy or pottery. In our Chinese Studies class, we have learned about the origins of the Chinese language and culture, and we have also played many fun Chinese board games. These lessons have encouraged communication and sparked creativity, helping students collaborate with their classmates over rounds of Chinese chess, and igniting a passion for the Chinese arts. Throughout the years, I have realised that understanding and engaging in cultural differences can facilitate your growth as a global citizen, and give you a more diverse outlook on the world. Embrace cultural differences, and you will see that a little variety will always spice up your stay in Shanghai.
How Studying at YCIS Has Improved My Chinese Level
YCIS takes pride in the fact that it is an international school with a bilingual focus. Being a student at YCIS benefits my studies in Chinese in many different ways. For one, I am immersed in Chinese culture since I am living in Shanghai, and a lot of the students at YCIS speak fluent Chinese. Course programmes are set up as CAL (Chinese as an Additional Language) and CFL (Chinese as a First Language). In my CAL class, our teachers give us frequent dictations as well as daily writing. While this is a challenge, it actually keeps all the characters that we are learning in our heads!
Pursuing My Musical Dream with the Help of the In-School Individual Instrumental Programme
Music has been my most loyal companion ever since I can remember. I began learning the piano at the age of four and took up the violin at five years old. I started out as a classically-trained musician, but in the last few years, I have immersed myself more in a completely different world, playing rock, pop, and jazz to name a few. My love for music only grows, as does my desire to learn six new instruments. It sounds unrealistic, but I have passion and determination, and the school’s music department is more than supportive – in fact, the In-School Individual Instrumental Programme (IIIP) gives me the perfect starting point.
How my Family and I Settled into Shanghai
The initial thought of moving to Shanghai, was, for my 15-year-old self, incredibly daunting. At the time, I was preparing to leave behind London after four years to head back home to Australia, so the thought of having to make yet another fresh new start definitely took me out of my comfort zone. I had lived in Shanghai when I was young, but almost all of my old friends had since left, and everybody seemed to tell me just how much the city had changed since we were last there. Furthermore, this move would be my family’s first time living apart. For the first time in my life, it would only be my mum and me, as my brothers and dad had decided to stay behind both for university and work. Despite my uncertainty, however, I looked towards my move with enthusiasm, and with the spirit of new beginnings.
What is Your Favourite CCA and Why?
My favourite Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) would probably be Swimming. I’ve been doing the Swimming CCA for around two years now. Even though the training sessions are twice a week – Tuesdays and Fridays – and pretty late (for Black Squad), it’s still really nice to get to dive into the cool, refreshing water. You can let all of your worries wash away after a long day at school. It’s especially great on Fridays because you can end your week with some exercise, and after that hour of swimming, you always feel nice and refreshed and ready for the weekend.
Beginnings: The Start of Our IB Journey
This August, the Year 12 students from YCIS Puxi took a trip to Sun Island, a rustic getaway on the outskirts of Shanghai. There, we hoped to learn more about the long and rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) journey that awaited us.
The Benefits of a YCIS Shanghai Education: Alex Interview
Alex attended YCIS Puxi for seven years. Watch his video below in which he explains why he recommends YCIS to other students, tells us about the importance of a balanced life in high school, the value of being part of a team, and explains how learning from older students at YCIS helped develop his musical talents and allowed him to become a confident performer. To learn about the YCIS Shanghai Secondary Programme, click here.
The Benefits of a YCIS Shanghai Education: Zuzanna Interview
Zuzanna is Polish and attended YCIS Puxi for eight years. Watch her video below to learn why she attributes taking part in art and drama at YCIS to helping her develop confidence and why taking part in sports can allow students to relieve stress and take time for themselves.