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Study in Shanghai: Western Pursuits

By Maureen Hayes Subscribe to RSS | June 18th 2012 | Views:

Studying Chinese in China will of course mean that you want to get involved in the local culture and language as much as possible in order to make the most of your time abroad. However, there are times when you will want some home comforts or some familiar sights and sounds. Fortunately, this is not a problem for those who study in Shanghai, given the wide variety of cultures represented and intentional options that are available in this city of more than 20 million people. Despite this, even familiar things can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look in such a bustling metropolis. This simple guide gives you some information on how to find Western pursuits to keep you occupied in between your Chinese language lessons.

Although not strictly a Western pursuit, many of you will want to know where you can meet up with fellow expats and Chinese locals alike to play a variety of sports. Whilst basketball and table tennis are extremely popular in China, other sports are growing and you can find just about any sport you want in Shanghai. There are running clubs, triathlon training, Chinese and non-Chinese martial arts including capoeira, football, golf, motorsports and much more. Not to mention that Shanghai is a world-class city for seeing sports, with the highlight of the year likely to be the F1 Shanghai Grand Prix. You are certainly spoilt for choice in terms of sports when you take a break from your study abroad in China.

Cultural events are also important for many students, as this helps them to feel like they belong even when they are abroad studying Chinese. Being able to engage with like-minded individuals is important for us all, and Shanghai is full of community events and groups that can help you meet others with similar interests. These include cooking classes, charity groups, and art groups and speakers associations. Even if there isn’t a group already running, you can put your Mandarin lessons to good use and start up your own group for expats and locals, perhaps adding further to Shanghai’s diverse cultural influences.

If you really don’t have the time to get too involved in community events or are not a fan of sports, then Shanghai still has plenty to offer. The nightlife and restaurant culture of Shanghai means you can hop from a bowl of noodles and a local beer to a cocktail and some tapas in one city block. For those missing their local brews there is the Shanghai Brewery, and for those craving live music there is Mao Livehouse. Shanghai regularly hosts international acts ranging from classical music to modern rock and everything in between. You can also see how your favourite genres of music are performed by local bands – giving you yet another opportunity to make practical use of your Mandarin language lessons.

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