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My First Impressions: Shanghai, China

  As my plane first landed in Shanghai, I felt like I had just gotten out of a time machine and arrived in a new world. A world where everything was high tech, a world where hardly anyone spoke English and where I was on my own. The only thing I could read was my name written on an iPad as the cab driver waited for me to take me to the university. Everything was absolutely different, the smells of the streets, the freeways, the buildings and even the weather; I could hardly contain myself as it had finally sunk in that I was not in America anymore and Shanghai was my new home now. 

  I was very excited as well as a little nervous, but I was willing to receive this new experience with open arms and specially an open mind. The first few days in the city were a bit overwhelming as I didn't know where anything was, I was completely lost. I didn't speak any Chinese and it was very intimidating to get out and explore. Shanghai seemed so big and busy; cars, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians all on one street, it was a zoo! Since I was not used to this back in the states it was a complete culture shock for me, but I figured that the best thing for me to do was to get out there and see what the city had to offer.

Regardless of my apprehension towards a new environment, I managed to see Shanghai in a new way, I started to admire its people, ride the subway which is very easy for anybody to get around and understand, and eat the local food, which is absolutely delicious, healthy and very affordable! After three days of being here, I was beginning to adjust and understand my new lifestyle. Crossing the street was starting to get easier now, and I remember where things were around my campus. I was also picking up a bit of the language, so it didn't seem so strange to me anymore. This new city was really beginning to feel like home very quickly, and it has been very easy for not only for myself to adapt, but also my other friends in the CEA program. 

  One of the best things about Shanghai that we all agreed on is that Shanghai is such an international
city, a Mecca for networking and making friends and this has allowed for all of us to meet so many wonderful people from all over the world. I am truly happy I am living in this beautiful city filled with culture, fashion, technology, beautiful parks, exciting events and most important a city where it has open its doors to me and let me discover not only it's beauty, potential and growth but also the warmth and hospitality of the Chinese people.

Below are a few more photos from my first weeks studying abroad in Shanghai. Enjoy!

Katherine Guevara is the Fall 2013 CEA MOJO in Shanghai, China. She is currently a senior at the University of Houston.
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