Fudan University has successfully launched its English-language Chinese philosophy programs (a one-year Visiting Student program, and a two-year M.A. program) this fall, and is now offering information for those who want to learn more about applying to begin in Fall 2012. Please see this poster for the basic information, and this document with further details. Anyone who has experience with the programs, please let us know in the comments!
Oh, hello there. I am currently enrolled in the international philosophy program here at Fudan University in Shanghai. We’ve just completed our first semester here and it’s been wonderful so far. Below, I’ve provided a very short summary of a few aspects of being a student in Shanghai.
Both our professors and our Chinese peers provide insight into a different perspective on the Chinese thinkers; this is something very valuable and refreshing for those of us who have a tendency to approach philosophical issues from only one angle. There are currently ten EMA students enrolled in the program. We are all from different countries, and the our age varies from 22-27 years old. Most of us are either working on our MA somewhere else, have completed our MA, or are currently pursuing it at Fudan University in the 2 year program.
Unfortunately, I do not live in the dorms so I may not be the most informed person to go to, but I do spend a lot of time there. Since most of your classes will be held in the Guanhua Building (the two really tall towers), I suggest purchasing a bike, otherwise it’s about a 15 minute walk from the dorms to class. Most of my friends have their own room but share a living space with three other people; there are two bathrooms but no kitchen (although there is a shared kitchen among the foreign students, I think it is somewhat inconvenient to use). The current cost is a little less than $300 US a month for this sort of housing.
I currently live in an older apartment area about 10 minutes away from the east gate of Fudan (on Guoding Rd. and Zhengli Rd.). Some are more difficult to secure, since you must be able to communicate with the landlord in Chinese, but I believe others can speak English. Because I am Chinese and speak it as a native language, I was able to find a really nice place for about 2000 RMB (about $320) a month. It includes a kitchen, a small dining area, a bathroom, and a fairly large bedroom. Three other EMA students (one of which doesn’t speak Chinese at all) currently live around the French Concession, but prices are much more expensive around that area and it’s at least 30 minutes away from campus.
Living in Shanghai
– The Cons
Shanghai is… an interesting place. The fact is, you probably won’t bump into the nicest people here, and you’ll probably do a lot of bumping into too. It’s pretty much crowded everywhere you go, and people can be very impolite. Also, it is imperative that you realize that pedestrians come last. Even if the light is red, make sure to look all three-hundred eighty-seven ways before crossing the street, and try to cross with other people if you can. Finally, do not leave your things unguarded for even a second. There are tons of petty thieves scattered around Shanghai. So far, I know seven people that had their iPhones stolen (one of the students had his phone stolen while he was listening to it!). These unfamiliar cultural hiccups might take some getting used to, but I promise that everything will settle down eventually.
– The Pros
Like I said, Shanghai is an interesting place! The food here is amazing. Although I am a vegetarian, there are still a lot of options. Tons of street vendors fill the street both during the daytime and during the night, and both the vendors and restaurants stay open till around 3:00am if not later. The city itself is beautiful and modern (depending on where you go), and most of the metropolitan areas are lit up by the myriad of neon lights. There are quite a few districts to explore here, each with its unique qualities and things to do. Whether you like sightseeing, clubbing, drinking at a bar, or just sitting in your room and studying, Shanghai seems to have it all.
The Metro is extremely convenient and the trains come about every three minutes. Fudan is located more on the northern side of Shanghai, and it takes around 20-40 minutes – depending on where you live – to get to, say, People’s Square or Nanjing Rd. Most students take Line 10 (which is new) near Wujiaochang (the Jiangwan Stadium Station), but some students take Line 3 (sorry I’m not familiar with this line) to get around.
Cost of Living
Although Shanghai is considered the most expensive place in China, it’s still comparatively cheaper than living in the States. If you’re looking to save money, street food usually costs around 5-7 RMB (or about $1) and the average meal will cost around 10 RMB. I tend to cook a lot more since I have a kitchen, and cooking is perhaps even cheaper and healthier than eating out. Of course, you can go to a lot nicer places and spend about as much as you are back home, but I like to live frugally (and indulge in the occasional ice cream cone). 🙂
I am currently teaching English here, but I’m making significantly less than what others are making. I make around 110 RMB/hr (approx. $17), while others make at least 200 RMB/hr (approx. $32). From what I know, it’s not difficult to find a teaching job here, and everyone who wants to teach finds a job rather quickly.
These are all the categories I can think to mention at the moment, but feel free to ask me any questions since what I’ve provided is extremely general. Overall, I am more than happy that I took the opportunity to come to Shanghai. I’ve had the chance to meet some lifelong friends, study and participate in a community of people who share the same interests, and explore a unique Chinese city and culture.
For more on my experience here in Shanghai, go to http://jonnymnemonic.wordpress.com.
Upward and onward,
Thanks for sharing! …
…There are tons of petty thieves scattered around Shanghai. So far, I know seven people that had their iPhones stolen (one of the students had his phone stolen while he was listening to it!)…
This is so funnily true – I have to say – and so interesting to have a foreign perspective on my own hometown … I still remember having my own new bicycle stolen when a student at Fudan almost 20 years ago…seems that things are getting even worse now… really you cannot be too careful about your belongings in Shanghai – but I guess the key is that you just don’t want to behave yourself as belonging to the ones who “have” in any way so that the thieves will not take you as a target 🙂
All in all – considering the relatively cheaper expenses for living, it may be a good idea to count the things stolen (as long as they are not personal treasure) as part of the tuition you pay: for the society is the real classroom – as the locals would say …
My name is Richard, and I am a student at the Fudan international philosophy program. Jon has done very well in summarizing what our first semester at Fudan has been like, so I will just try to add on anything I can think of related to our experiences so far.
I think that the first thing that everyone taking the course will agree on is that the overall experience so far has been fantastic. Shanghai is a really exciting city to live in; there is kind of vibrancy to the city that is really refreshing and enjoyable. I am from a relatively small city in Ireland, and Shanghai has a population about 4 times greater than all of Ireland put together, so the experience of moving to such a massive city has been amazing!
The course itself is everything you would expect from a top university: the classes are interesting, the lecturers themselves are highly motivated and clearly care about the course, and the students are all fantastic. What is particularly good here at Fudan is that there are students from several different academic backgrounds taking the course, so class discussion has been really open. I have found that people will approach issues from angles I never would have considered, and this has really enhanced the whole experience.
Something that Fudan had no control of, but which has been possibly the best part of my experience in Shanghai so far, is the friendship between classmates. There are 10 of taking the course this year, and we have all become great friends in a really short space of time. Everyone is really supportive of each other (something I am particularly thankful for because I only started learning chinese when I arrived in Shanghai!), and there is always someone willing to have a beer or a coffee with you if you have nothing to do. I know that that might seem a somewhat trivial point to make, considering some people are taking the one year course and so will be gone after the summer, but I think that these kinds of things have a habit of continuing through the years as people come and go, and I am sure that in future years the atmosphere will be just as enjoyable.
I live in the dorms, and I think they are a great option for people who are coming to Shanghai for the first time. There are hundreds of foreign students living there, so it is really easy to make friends, and the rooms are nice and clean (if not a tiny bit small). I felt at home there very quickly. They are pretty reasonably priced too, and it is nice to be able to cycle or walk to classes quickly. I know some people in the class take the metro to Fudan every day, and although they are happy to do so I am just too lazy for that!
As Jon said, the cost of living in Shanghai is very reasonable. Near the campus you can get dinner in a decent restaurant for about €2.50, and the cafeteria food (which is quite good – I eat there a lot!) is much cheaper and has plenty of things to choose from. It miht take a week or two to get used to the food (it was a big change for me!) but once you work out where to get the nicest food your worries are soon over. Being such a huge city, there is always something to go and see, and the metro, as Jon said, is both ridiculously cheap (I think I went 25 stops once to get to the airport for less than €1!!), is always on time and can take you virtually anywhere you want to go.
When I was first considering going to Fudan, my professor in Ireland introduced me to a PhD student who had studied in Beijing. When I met him and started asking questions about living in China, the answer he gave was always “It’s great – just do it”. Having lived here for a few months, I can see what he meant. Any issues I had about moving so far from home or to such a different culture melted away within a few days of living in Shanghai. I had braced myself for a long period of slowly getting used to the city, the people and the culture, but now that I have lived here for a few months, I have realised that the process of ‘getting used to things’ is a lot of fun – the thing I was most worried turned out to be one of the best parts about living in Shanghai!
I found that when I was looking into coming to Fudan it was hard to find information about general life in Shanghai, and maybe that is why I have focused more on my personal experience of Shanghai rather than the classes themselves. That being said, I should repeat that academically speaking, Fudan is top notch. I have certainly learned a lot since I arrived, and on top of that I found that learning the language (as I said, I barely spoke a word when I arrived) is something that the university makes really enjoyable. Expect a really motivated group of lecturers and interesting, interactive classes.
That is all that I can think of for now – I will leave my email address at the bottom of this comment, and if any prospective students have any questions I’d be happy to help out.
I’m also going to steal Jon’s blog address and post it too – the man is a wizard with a camera, and the blog really shows off what we have been up to over the past few months!
Wow, Richard; that’s probably some of the most important information a lot prospective students will get for a program like Fudan’s. Thanks so much for taking the time to post it on our blog! Much luck to you in your further academic plans.