22 Aug An Enlightening and Intriguing Experience
I didn’t quite know what to expect when I arrived in Shanghai — I hadn’t been anywhere like it before. China itself seemed like such a big entity to me at the time that to conceive what I would expect seemed like an impossible task. So after the first few days of living in Shanghai I was able to build a relationship with it and understand it a bit more with each passing day. I have found that there are many cultural similarities between Shanghai and my country and even state.
First off the fashion in Shanghai is very much like Austin, TX. The streets are crawling with people who care about their image which I appreciate. The culture behind it is also very inviting and accepting because anything goes. Second, Shanghai and Austin both share their love of food and their variety. Shanghai has some of the best food I’ve ever tasted and for such good prices! Restaurants have dumplings, convenient stores have ice creams, and the streets have an infinite supply of skewered meats. You can’t turn a corner without your mouth watering. Third, tourist attractions are aplenty. There are so many different types such as temples, museums, art exhibitions, music in parks, just like Austin. Although these places have different histories, they all reflect their distinct cultures through these mediums.
Some may see the differences between the two cities as a negative, but I have been able to see it as an enlightening, and intriguing experience. The language of course it the first huge difference. Since I didn’t take the time to learn a little Mandarin before my arrival there is definitely a language barrier, but not a big enough one to take away from the Shanghai experience. There are many resources one can use while they stay here like Pleco – a Chinese dictionary app.
In addition, the Chinese demeanour is quite different from the American demeanour. The Chinese tend to be more focused on their close family like parents, children, sibling as well as friends therefore, situations in which you are seen as another in the crowd they won’t particularly pay attention to you or be very polite. Now some may view this as rude, but if you allow yourself to understand their perspective it makes sense. Traveling by subway is one example of this. There is a lot of pushing and shoving and breaking of personal space, and it may, at times, seem unnecessary, but to them it is a means of getting to where they need to go and you are background noise. Although there are cultural differences, Shanghai has proven to be a great city to live in!