Erfahrungsberichte

zur Übersicht

Wer

capozza.fr[at]gmail.com

Typus/Richtung

Austausch - OUT

Jahr

11/12 WS

Universität

CN-
Shanghai - Fudan University - School of Management

Studienfach

Betriebswirtschaftslehre (3010)

Gesamteindruck

The overall impression of the exchange semester in Shanghai at the School of Management, Fudan University is very positive. Concerning the school, there is the opportunity to meet many students from all around the world and therefore I could know different methods of learning and studying, thanks also to the fact that I attended MBA courses which propose a different study approach. The courses are not difficult and are quite interesting. Moreover, I definitely took advantage from the opportunity of having an important cultural exchange. In fact, the thing from which I took most benefit during this exchange is the fact that I have lived for 5 months in a culture and in an environment completely different from Europe, by meeting people from all over the world and being able to stay in contact with Chinese people and their culture. This experience has enriched me culturally in a way that really matters. I never thought that this exchange in Shanghai would have given me so much in terms of personal development.

Vorbereitung

Once you receive the confirmation of your enrollment at the Fudan University by the coordinator exchange, you will receive within a couple of weeks all the necessary information by email and by post. Please be sure to keep all the hard documents you receive by post and bring everything with you in Shanghai because you will need them for completing your registration at the school once you arrive and for other easy administrative things.

About 2 months before the beginning of your courses you will be asked to select and register for the courses you want to take at Fudan. You will receive a login and the school will communicate you the days in which the course selection is available (generally you will have only 3 days for booking your courses). Syllabus of each courses are provided on the faculty's website, once you receive your personal access.

Once you receive all the documents from the Fudan University (if your semester exchange is the fall semester, you will receive the documents by the end of June) you can apply for the visa at the Chinese Consulate in Zurich or at the Chinese Embassy, depending of your canton of origin. Me, given I come from Ticino, I had to go to Bern for requiring the visa. You have to go there and show the documents required (usually your passport, the invitation letter from the school and a form to fill in that you can download from the embassy's website), then go again after 5 days to pick up your passport with your visa. You do not need any appointment. Remember that the invitation letter from the school allow you to apply for a X visa with only 1 entry.

 When you book the flight consider also that you will need a lot of kilos to board, especially when you come back. If you think you will buy a lot of clothes and accessories (it will be the case, like every student), I suggest you to bring with you from Switzerland only necessary stuff. As far as I experienced, I would recommend you to choose a flight company which allows you to board at least 30 kg. With AirChina I could only board 20 kg and therefore I had to buy further kg, which is not cheap at all. From what I know, Fly Emirates (30 kg), Qatar Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Swiss are the best.

I suggest you to start looking for an accommodation  2-3 weeks on some websites like smartshanghai.com, usually you will find a lot of announcements for free apartments/rooms. In case you do not find a good deal before to arrive in Shanghai, do not worry. In fact, people use to spend the first 4-5 days in an hotel or hostel and look for an accommodation directly in Shanghai. It is very easy to find a room in very few days, since the availability is high and people enter and exit from the city fast and often. 

Ankunft

The enrollment at the School of Management, Fudan University is pretty easy. The exchange coordinator, Maggie Yu, helps the students by providing all necessary information. She is a very nice person and you will not find any difficulties for arrange all the administrative things. Chinese is important in the sense that Chinese people generally do not speak English. However, any exchange students know any words of Chinese, and me I arrived in Shanghai with no knowledge of the language. Therefore, you can easily live without speaking Chinese. However, you will learn some expressions that you will need for day-to-day activities (with the taxi, at the restaurant). The school will offer a free course of Chinese, two sessions per week. Concerning the visa, the school invitation allows students to apply for the F visa with one entry only. However, once in Shanghai, it is possible to change the visa made in Switzerland with a temporary residence permit which gives you multiple entries (so that you can enter and exit in and from China as many times as you want).  To do so you will need only few steps and documents, and you will be informed about everything by the school once you arrive in Shanghai.

At your arrival, generally 3-4 days before starting the courses, the school organizes a meeting where you are asked to go to school with all the documents required (the school inform you about everything) to complete the registration. At that moment you have the opportunity to do physical examination that is mandatory if you want to apply for a multiple entries visa. However, if you do not have time it is possible to do it on other available dates. The school also organizes a welcome party with all the exchange students and the Asian students that follow MBA courses, in order to meet everyone and to visit the campus.

You will have a lot of free time and therefore you will spend the first days in discovering the area surrounding your home and the school, as well as starting discovering this wonderful world which is Shanghai and Chinese culture. Within 3-4 days after your arrival in Shanghai, do not forget to register yourself by the police (you just need to show your accommodation contract, as well as your passport with visa and a document provided by the school once you complete your registration). There are several police station around the city and you just have to go one time by one of them and then you are OK. 

Zimmersuche
Wohnen

I lived in downtown for the entire duration of my stay. All exchange students live in downtown, because the campus is a bit far from the city center. I highly recommend finding an accommodation in “Puxi” area (west side of the river). The central area is the one where it is easier to move during the day and during the night, since the main attractions are located in this area. In addition, students generally attend university classes about two or three days a wee and thus most of the time is spent in the city center. So, in order to fully enjoy your stay and being able to socialize in a consistent manner with all students, downtown is the best solution. I highly recommend to seek an accommodation close to the metro line 10 that leads directly to the school, areas such as Laoximen, Yu Yuan Garden, People Square. However, the west area such as West Nanjing and Jing An district is slightly uncomfortable. I lived in Laoximen which is 9 metro stations far from the Fudan University, about 30 minutes in total. The monthly rent for a room in a nice and comfortable apartment in the designated areas varies between 2500 RMB and 4000 RMB (between 350 and 500 Swiss francs) and it is surely the best solution for price-quality ratio. In addition, the city is very safe and there is absolutely no danger to move around during day and night, even alone. Under this aspect, China is truly safe. Moreover, in the central area there are many low and middle cost restaurants and consequently eating is not a problem at all.

Universität

You have a choice among 10-12 courses and you may generally choose between 4 to 6 courses. A course of 2 Chinese credits, which actually corresponds to 4 ECTS at the UZH, is composed of 6 lectures of 4 hours each. The schedule may vary according to the Professor exigencies, which means that can last for 6 weeks (1 lecture per week), or 3 weeks (2 lectures per week) or even 1 week in a row (6 lectures in a week). The syllabus of each course, available on the university’s website, provide all the necessary information. 

Since all courses are part of the MBA program, the method of study varies slightly from the University of Zurich. In fact, professors tend to involve more the students in an active oral participation during the lectures, by asking to share personal experience and opinions. A large percentage of the final grade is generally attributed to the presence and participation. Almost all the courses do not have a final written examination, but short group presentations and projects or they ask to hand in reports. The presentations are rather short, ranging from 5 to 15 minutes per group, depending on the course. The content of the projects, reports and presentations is generally on case studies or on a specific topic chosen. The teachers often work in the field of management and are experts in their field. It is very interesting to listen to their experiences and practices and, in particular, I found very interesting the fact that their reference point is China and Asia in general. Consequently, one can often listen to experiences and anecdotes about countries for which we know little or nothing, since by us we tend to take Europe or the United States as an example. In my opinion, the level is not very high given the background of a UZH student, in the sense that he / she will not find particular difficulties in performing well and being satisfied with the final grades.

Leben/Freizeit

Shanghai is am incredibly international city. One of the best advantages of staying in this city is the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. In fact, this stay allowed me to confront myself with many different cultures and enriched my personal background. I believe that few cities in the world offer this international dimension and Shanghai is definitely one of them.

As for leisure, Shanghai offers a myriad of different activities. During the day, there is the opportunity to visit many museums and temples, as well as all special areas such as Old Town, the Bund and the parks. In addition, there are many beautiful areas outside of Shanghai, for instance, the famous “watertowns”, or cities such as Hangzhou or Suzhou. During the evening, one of the great benefits of the city is the presence of numerous restaurants of all ethnic groups and at a very affordable price, especially compared to Swiss cost level. I personally found very interesting the opportunity of tasting kitchen from a lot different countries that you cannot find in Switzerland. After dinner, there is the opportunity to hang out at locals of all kinds: from typically Chinese  clubs, to those frequented by expats, to places where you can enjoy a quiet drink, or the famous ktv, places where you have fun singing Karaoke style (Chinese people adore KTV). A suggestion I would like to give to future students is to come with luggages pretty “empty” because during your stay you will buy many clothes and accessories which are cheap, especially tailor made clothes (such as business suites, shirts, coats). For every kind of suggestions or questions, feel really free to contact me and ask me all the questions and information you need.