Spending Summer in Shanghai

Through Immerqi and UTS BUILD I was given an opportunity to undertake an internship in Shanghai, I had family in Shanghai, so this trip would cover multiple bases.

My flight arrived in Shanghai early which was nice but when I came out of the airport it was sub 10 degrees which was quite a drastic change from the 30+ degrees weather I had experienced before I left Sydney.

The next day was orientation at Mandarin House, where I’d be taking Chinese classes twice a week for the next 6 weeks. Since I wasn’t staying at the university accommodation this would also be the first time meeting the Immerqi staff and the other UTS students who took this summer program. The orientation was a briefing of each company, the methods of transport to take, etiquette in China, protocol if anything went wrong and Chinese class timetable.

After the orientation we went to have lunch at the Shimao Festival City, a large shopping centre on the famous Nanjing Road. There was a 30-40-minute wait for the restaurant we went to, but it gave us an opportunity to explore the shopping centre. When out table was ready it was in a boat, it was a cool concept however it was a tight fit with 8 people. The food was good delicious and quite unique, hadn’t seen most of the dishes before.


Following lunch, we went for a walk down Nanjing Road exploring a bit and taking some photos, it had been raining so it was still a bit wet and the weather wasn’t too great. The end of Nanjing road was The Bund where Oriental Pearl Tower and Shanghai Tower resided, however due to fog the view was obstructed, the view of the bay was still quite nice, and the area was quite packed with tourists.

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During the weekend I would just prepare for my first week of my internship, as I was unpacking I realised I had forgotten to pack my laptop charger, something that would be vital during my time in China. Luckily, I saw an Apple Store on Nanjing Road, so I headed there on the weekend.

The Immerqi program consisted of interning Monday-Friday from 9:30am to 6pm, and Chinese classes on Monday and Wednesday classes, with the weekends free. Waking up early and working 8 hours a day made me appreciative of the weekend. I was fortunate to have a friend from Australia who was in Shanghai when I was, he was able to show me around to new places, we had a fancy hotpot afterwards walking to West Nanjing Road where we went to the biggest Starbucks in Shanghai which was connected to a major shopping centre in the area.

I was there for Chinese New Year, which in China is a public holiday for the whole week. The briefing suggested that many people left the Shanghai to go overseas and it would be like a ghost town, I didn’t believe this until I saw it, a busy street crowded with cars and people was deserted during Chinese New Year. There was a lot of celebrations and promotions that week, it felt like an Eastern Christmas which lasted the whole week.


The internship was good experience and was able to learn a lot about the marketing industry and working in China, I was also able to improve my Mandarin through the Chinese classes. It was definitely a good way to spend the summer.


Kuang Wu

Chinese Language and Doing Business in China

Share the experiences of three students who completed the Shanghai University-UTS SILC Winter School Program.

Group calligraphy lessons


How did this BUILD Abroad Program relate to your course or future goals?

As a business student, the SILC program offered subjects that were particularly helpful for my management course. It was basically a crash course about business in China, covering Chinese economics, human resources , and entrepreneurship, which are exactly the subjects I’m learning in the spring session. SILC allowed me to view my management course through an international perspective which will be definitely helpful for my future. The business tours SILC arranged were particularly helpful as they allowed us to see what we learnt in action ! They took us to Coca-Cola and Sinsun (a very innovative robotics company).

– Chia


What was the most memorable/impactful part of this BUILD Abroad Program?

The most memorable part of the experience was when some friends and I took the train to a city called Hangzhou, only 1 hour out of Shanghai. We spent the whole day there exploring different temples and pavilions, enjoying the views of the lake, joining in with locals dancing by the water, and of course eating delicious food! It was a little get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Shanghai and it allowed us to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture and history!

– Hugo


Is there anything that you would recommend to be changed or improved in this BUILD Abroad Program?

There is very little I would change about the experience! The program was organised well, allowing students to learn some everyday phrases in mandarin, achieve an insight into Chinese culture as well as experience one of the world’s most incredible cities! I am very grateful to the BUILD team for providing me with the opportunity!

– Luke


To find out more about SILC and other BUILD Abroad programs check out our BUILD Short-term Program Database.


When thinking about the BUiLD abroad programme I just completed, I now realise that there are a lot of things I have to reflect upon. A few key memories come to mind at first, from visiting Hangzhou a city nicknamed the city of heaven to sitting around the largest lazy Susan I’ve ever seen with so many new faces. This programme has definitely been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever taken part in. I will never forget my time at Shanghai University’s SILC Summer School.

The first day started out a little rocky; I remember feeling anxious to meet the people I will be spending the next three weeks with and I wasn’t disappointed! Everyone on the trip was kind and interesting, but most importantly, eager to make new friends and explore new experiences, just as I was. We all quickly became acquainted and by the end of the first day, we felt as though we had been friends for a while. We celebrated the end of our first day of class by going to Japanese BBQ where we quickly warmed up to each other over a few (many) bottles of sake!

The classes were interesting and engaging and covered a wide range of topics like Chinese economic policy to Chinese logistics and entrepreneurship. Alongside these practical classes, we had Mandarin language classes which enabled us to meaningfully interact with the cultural setting. I found myself amazed that after only a few lessons I was confidently navigating my way around Shanghai and ordering food and drinks without hesitation.

At the university, we were grouped with local students who acted as our buddies throughout the programme, some of whom we became quite close to by the end of it, forming meaningful friendships that we still maintain even today now that we’re back in Sydney. They joined us on planned events and outings and came with us when we wanted to explore the city. They proved invaluable as guides and as friends.

The academic staff at the university were kind and welcoming to all of us, and over the course of the trip, their official roles became more like the roles of mentors and more maternal. Emma and Fei Fei were the two mentors we had the most contact and interaction with, and I will admit it was hard to say goodbye to them after everything that they had done for us.

The activities we participated in helped to shape my new and informed view of China as a whole. Before this trip, I can now confidently say that my view of China was very superficial. I had been to Hong Kong before with family but that in no way prepared me for an authentic experience of Chinese culture and Chinese people. There was an element of culture shock which I’m sure many of us experienced upon arriving in China. To put it simply, in China… anything goes!

The people we interacted with live a very carefree life, there are many times we would come across whole masses of people dancing in public all seamlessly in time to each other. On street corners, people sat and engaged in many leisure activities. Life looks simple but it looks good, with an emphasis on the small things and not at all caught up in the fast-paced constantly on the go cultural phenomena we’re used to in Sydney.

In the third week of the programme, we had a change of scenery as we ended our classes and headed to Beijing for a week of Chinese cultural immersion. We visited historic sites such as Tiananmen Square, the forbidden city, the great wall, as well as local Hutong communities. Our trip to Beijing is one that I will never forget as it provided us with an insight into a different aspect of life in China. Shanghai and Beijing are polar opposites in terms of international cultural influence, with Shanghai being a global city with many cultures being represented and Beijing being a more traditional Chinese city. The differences between the two are immeasurable but both provided a unique experience for us as cultural observers.

Reflecting upon this experience I can say that I have come out of it a changed person. Interacting with people on the programme from Australia and the UK and USA helped develop my interpersonal skills while engaging with the foreign landscape and culture helped me refine and develop my cross-cultural communication skills and helped me broaden my sense of global citizenship. Skills that I believe I will be able to utilise and demonstrate throughout my life.

Language & Culture in China

From reading about the SILC Business Program on UTS’s BUILD Abroad website, I was interested in being able to learn Chinese from a beginner’s level whilst sightseeing and learning about the business culture within China’s biggest financial hub. From the day I left Sydney the buddy system implemented by the SILC team was tremendously helpful – from organising my taxi pick up service at the airport to making sure I had a point of contact with a local at all time via WeChat. The stress of arranging accommodation, transportation to and from the airport, researching places to visit, learning Chinese, communicating with hotel staff was drastically reduced since SILC’s staff and buddies provided prompt and useful information and helped solved any problems which arose – even the not so pleasant issues such as a clogged toilet. SILC’s friendly atmosphere made me fall in love with Shanghai because although there are some unpleasant Chinese people, there are many more lovely and caring people who go above and beyond to help during difficult situations. My buddy was extremely helpful and kind enough to take time out of her weekend to take me and those who arrived early around the Jiading district. We got to know one another as we took a stroll inside the gardens which encircled the Confucius temple and had a banquet lunch where we got to try tea infused with slices of carrots, apples and other fruits. It was weirdly refreshing.

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The day finally came when we had to start class. I don’t think anyone of us wanted to wake up at 7am but the free breakfast buffet at our hotel was enough incentive to drag us out of bed. The classes we had were not at all what I imaged. The relaxed, interactive classroom environment made it easy to engage with what our lecturers were saying. It was fascinating and eye-opening to learn about China’s lifestyle, such as traditional tea ceremonies. For instance, we not only learnt, but witnessed, WeChat being used as the main method of payment rather than cash and credit cards.

Other than mere classes every weekday, the SILC team arranged tours with the lovely FeiFei as our guide. Her  friendly and happy personality made every trip with her so much more enjoyable. One such trip was to Su Zhou – a city known for its canals and bridges – where we were given free time to meander through the various lanes of traditional architecture.

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Additionally, the program provided us with an opportunity to enter a kind local’s home and enjoy the delicious homemade feast prepared by a local mother. Such an opportunity to interact with the locals on such a personal level opened my eyes to the lifestyle of a local. Shanghai’s lifestyle was not only limited to this, we were also able to experience the rush of lunch time at Shanghai university as students scurry left and right to snatch up the food before it’s gone. By joining in with the local retirees at the retirement centre in activities such as dancing, ping pong and singing it was an unforgettable memory as we wouldn’t have been able to live like a local for a day without this program. The students  from Shanghai University’s music campus in Baoshan were so talented and exposed us to the traditional musical instruments which are now rarely played.

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Overall, SILC’s program exceeded my expectations because the classroom environment was not like quiet and boring classes I normally take – both the business and especially the Chinese lessons were interactive, funny and most importantly made me want to learn more. The tours and trips we were taken on were unforgettable and are an experience of a lifetime. Not many tourists get to first-hand experience and immerse themselves into the life of a Shanghai local!

 Helen Ngo

Shanghai University SILC Summer School Summer 2017

Shanghai, is a multifaceted city; a mixture of traditional and modern, and a mixture of Asian and Western culture. The Shanghai University SILC program was the perfect introduction to this enchanting city. The business classes, culture classes, Mandarin classes, tours and free time were all excellent but my favourite part of the program was the company I had. Shanghai University is extremely accommodating, especially the staff members and student volunteers (mentors). Even before I landed in China, I felt welcomed by Shanghai University through our interactions via email and of course, Wechat. My fellow peers from UTS were of course the highlight of the program for me. All the UTS students on the program (all females coincidentally) quickly bonded and we had a great time exploring the city together.

On the weekdays, we would have Mandarin language classes with Fairy, business lectures with different lecturers on their specialised area of teaching, various cultural classes such as traditional Chinese music and tea ceremony, and tours around different areas of the city. The rest of the time after class and on weekends, we had to ourselves to do whatever we wished. We really enjoyed the nightlife over there although some nights we did stay in for “Chinese TV and chill” just to unwind, play games and get to know each other better.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe traditional Chinese gardens and architecture were amazing to look at. It was simultaneously relaxing and exciting to explore. I also enjoyed interacting with the locals. We all had a great time using the Mandarin we learnt but when all else fails, there is always body language and pointing. 

The cool weather in Shanghai was a sweet relief in contrast to Sydney’s blazing heat. Although I did miss Sydney’s fresh air. Being over there made me grateful (not for the first time) for being able to live in a country where I have access to clean air and water. The differences in culture, language and lifestyles were interesting to observe and appreciate.

I was initially apprehensive that two weeks would be too short a time to explore such an exciting city but it was the perfect amount of time. It was sufficient enough for me to do the things I wanted to do but left me slightly wanting more. It was a good taster for the city. I will definitely visit again in the future where I will no doubt look back on this experience with amazing friends that I would never have met otherwise. I definitely recommend this program (or any other overseas opportunity) to fellow BUILD members.


 By Theresa Duong