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October 2013 issue

Contents
News
News Round Up
Inside the industry
Agency Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus

Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
Direction
City Focus
Market Analysis
Grapevine


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The old and new Shanghai

Proud of local customs and traditions, Shanghai has embraced modern thinking, creating two very distinct cultural personas and differentiating it from other Chinese destinations. Nicola Hancox reports on this city’s many attractions for international students.


As Marliese Herrmann at MandaLingua Chinese Language School describes, Shanghai is an interesting mix of traditional and modern thinking which is expressed in the city’s architectural style, cultural identity and cuisine. “I think it’s thrilling how people are able to choose their lifestyle in Shanghai. You can choose to live in a Chinese or in an international way, in a calm or outgoing and busy way, in a simple or extravagant way. Shanghai offers everything and this is simply amazing.”

Jasmine Bian, CEO of Mandarin House, agrees, adding that it is a “giant mixing bowl of international and local cultures” and the city’s rapid modernisation has not gone unnoticed by the world and its influx of travelling students. “Shanghai is where it all comes together,” she says. With a large expat community eager to learn Chinese, the school opened its second Shanghai branch in May this year. The new Hongqiao centre is located in a residential area to the west of the city centre, while its People’s Square branch is situated just off the main shopping thoroughfare, Nanjing Road. “We can provide everything a student needs, including internship placements in order for them to realise their goals in China,” she relates.

People’s Square, formerly a racetrack until communist rule banned gambling, also contains People’s Park, an oasis of green in a concrete metropolis. Bian says that parents of unmarried children flock to the park at weekends in search of a potential suitor for their offspring. Information such as age, job, income and zodiac sign are written on pieces of paper and displayed on a wall at this unofficial Shanghai Marriage Market. “They bring the resume and photos of their unwed children to negotiate potential marriages,” says Bian.

Lujiazui in Pudong, a relatively new area of Shanghai, is where the city’s modern persona is largely concentrated, says Herrmann. “The shining, modern financial and economical centre of China has been developed in only about 25 years. This example shows perfectly how fast this city is evolving and changing its appearance,” she adds. Skyscrapers Jin Mao Tower (home to the world’s highest post office), the Shanghai World Financial Center and the Bank of China Tower (used in the filming of Mission Impossible 3) stand impressively tall, while the Oriental Pearl Tower and Super Brand Mall – one of Asia’s largest shopping centres – are other landmark buildings in the area.

Xavi Recchi, Director of UIC, an online information portal for international and China-based students, recommends students take the elevator to the observation deck of the Shanghai World Financial Center for a bird’s eye view of the city. “That’s a stunning view,” he enthuses. He also suggests students visit the China Pavilion – built for the Shanghai Expo in 2010 – which has since been converted into Asia’s largest art museum and is twice the size of Buckingham Palace.

Legend, however, has crept into even the most modern of constructions. Pitched beneath one of Shanghai’s busiest sections of elevated roadway is a golden pillar, adorned with images of circling dragons. Bian details its interesting origins. “The story behind this says that workers [constructing the freeway] found the ground impossible to dig, no matter how hard they tried and finally they called in a Buddhist priest who told them they were trying to dig right into the middle of a dragon’s lair and it wouldn’t move until they honoured it. The city government hastily ordered the pillar to be built in its honour so that construction could continue.”
Old meets new at The Bund, a riverfront area in central Shanghai, complete with shops, bars and restaurants. It’s also home to a rather eclectic mix of architectural styles from Romanesque to Gothic which look slightly odd pitched against the towering backdrop of Pudong. The waterfront is certainly a place students can enjoy on foot, as is the Former French Concession, says Herrmann. Governed by the French from 1849 to 1946, a lot of the area has since been redeveloped but it has retained its French verve. Herrmann relates that there are many “hidden beautiful corners” that are best explored on foot or by bike.

She also recommends the “absolutely lovely” neighbourhood of Tianzifang, “with plenty of small shops selling all kinds of art and souvenirs, bars and restaurants with rooftop sitting areas”. Older students should head to Sinan Mansions – in the heart of the French concession and where some of Shanghai’s early 20th century elite lived – to have a meal and sup colourful cocktails or Xintiandi, an affluent shopping, eating and entertainment district. Springing to life at night, Yongkang Road has plenty of small bars where patrons can enjoy a few drinks.

People’s Park isn’t the only greenspace in the city. Herrmann talks of vivid green areas such as Fuxing Park. She says, “Chinese people love to practice Tai Chi in the early morning, dance any kind of ballroom dance in the afternoon, have picnics, play traditional Mahjong [a Chinese tile game] and also many children fly their kites [here].”

The extensive Yu Garden – conceived during the Ming Dynasty – and the ancient water town of Zhujiajiao are well worth a visit, says Mandy Li from WOWO Mandarin Language Teaching Center. Shanghai’s ‘Venice’ is over 1,700 years old and a myriad of narrow waterways, bridges, houses and willow trees.

Given Shanghai’s extensive transportation system, travelling around the city, or even out of it, is relatively easy. Bian notes that Shanghai’s South Railway is a landmark in itself. With a 50,000 square-metre roof it holds the title of the world’s first circular railway station, while the 1,424 -route bus system is also the world’s largest. A must-visit place outside Shanghai is Hangzhou (two hours by train). The famous West Lake, a freshwater lake that has inspired Chinese poets and painters, is here. “Many people travel here to take their wedding pictures,” says Herrmann.

There are several Unesco world heritage sites to be discovered outside of the main city, including the Classical Gardens of Suzhou and the Yellow Mountains. “Chinese people say that after seeing these mountains you do not need to visit any more mountains,” says Herrmann. The mountain tea farms of Moganshan, 60 kilometres north of Hangzhou, are another suggestion, says Bian, while the historic town of Wuzhen – around an hour away from Shanghai – is a suggested day trip, says Li. The extraordinary Bridge within a Bridge – if viewed from the side it looks as if one is positioned beneath the other – is a popular photo to capture.

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), an international higher education institution based in Suzhou, is an alternative study destination for Shanghai-bound students. Over an hour away from Shanghai, Suzhou is best reached via train, and the two cities’ close proximity is appreciated by students, says Kirsty Mattinson, Head of International Student Recruitment at XJTLU.

Despite a population of over six million, the city is relatively quiet compared with Beijing and eastern neighbour, Shanghai. “The pace of life is slightly slower than that of other big cities, and that adds to the student experience here,” says Mattinson. She goes on to describe how the Italian merchant explorer, Marco Polo, once described it as the “Venice of the East” and “Paradise on Earth”, and it has a rich history dating back over 2,500 years, with highly regarded gardens, temples and canals.

The city is also undergoing modernisation with construction of one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers soon to commence. “Once it’s completed it will stand over 700 metres tall,” says Mattinson. For cultural insight, she recommends students visit Pingjiang Road, while Taihu Wetland Park is brimming with “exceptional scenery” sure to impress any keen photographer.

The main university campus is based in Suzhou Industrial Park, and despite the modern township being over 20 years old, it is clean and modern, relates Mattinson. Harmony Times Square is a commercial hub within the park complex and comprises recreational and catering facilities. A 500-metre-long LCD screen hangs above the main walkway providing a variety of light shows. On Valentine’s Day, however, it is used by romantics to convey sweet messages. nicolahancox@hothousemedia.com


Agent viewpoint

“Shanghai is an ideal starting point for students travelling to China for the first time. It’s a modern, sophisticated city that offers all the amenities and comfort and still gives you the possibility to get insight into Chinese culture and way of life. Among younger students, Shanghai is popular because of its booming nightlife, trendy bars and restaurants. Personally, I still recall the city as it was in the 90s when I studied there…the way it has changed is simply amazing, starting from the number of subway lines, to the number of skyscrapers and the flashy shops and malls on Nanjing Road and Huaihai Road. Still, the identity of the city is very much unchanged. The Shanghai populace has always been open and outgoing, so for foreign students, it’s very easy to get into contact with local people. Shanghai is also a good starting point for weekend trips to other famous places like Suzhou, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Yangzhou, Ningbo or Nanjing.“
Andreas Van Leeuwen, DIREKT Sprachreisen, Germany

“Mandarin House is very well located. Students find very good places to go, besides the traditional tourists places. The nightlife is also very good in Shanghai. The ‘French quarter’ is a very exciting part of the town as far as shopping, eating and nightlife are concerned. Taxis are very cheap, so you can go anywhere without spending too much money. The sidewalk by the Huangpu river is also very nice. The whole city is exciting, as you have a lot to do there.”
Renato C. Silveira, 2001 TRAVEL, Brazil

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Study Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

Name

Company

Country

Telephone

Email


ACCOMMODATION
Britannia Student Services  
ESL Townhouse  
Sakura House  
Sara's New York Homestay LLC  
UK Guests Ltd  
Urban Nest Accommodation  

ASSOCIATIONS/GROUPS
English UK  
EduSA  
English Australia  
Groupement FLE  
International House World Organisation  
MEI  
Quality English  

AUSTRALIA
English Australia  

BELGIUM
CERAN Lingua International  

CANADA
Algoma University  
Centennial College of Appplied Arts and Technology  
Peace Wapiti School Division  
Pickering College  
York University English Language Institute  

CHINA
Mandarin House  
Sino-British College, USST  
Xi'an jiaotong-Liverpool University  

ENGLAND
English UK  
Chichester College  
GSM (Greenwich School of Management)  
International House Bristol  
International House World Organisation  
INTO University Partnerships  
InTuition Languages  
Kaplan International Colleges  
The Language Gallery  
Lila*  
London School of English  
Quality English  
Queen Ethelburga’s College  
St Giles International Brighton  

EVENTS
Alphe Brazil  
Alphe Brazil  

FRANCE
Accent Francais  
Alliance Française Lyon  
CAREL  
Groupement FLE  
ILCF Institut Catholique de Paris  
Institut de Touraine  
Institut Linguistique Adenet  
IS Aix-en-Provence  
ISEFE - Université de Savoie  
Langue Onze Toulouse  
Lyon Bleu International  
Paris Langues / Club CEI des 4 Vents  

GERMANY
Carl Duisberg Centren  
F+U Academy of Languages  
Goethe Institut Berlin  

GUADELOUPE
IMLC (Inter-Media Langues Caraïbes)  

HONG KONG
English For Asia  

IRELAND
Cistercian College  
Galway Cultural Institute  
MEI  

JAPAN
Manabi Japanese Language Institute  
Yokohama International Education Academy  

SCOTLAND
Oscars International  

SOUTH AFRICA
EC Cape Town  
EduSA  
EF International Language Centers  
English Language School of Cape Town  
Eurocentres of Cape Town  
Good Hope Studies  
inlingua Cape Town  
Interlink School of Languages  
IH Cape Town  
Jeffreys Bay Language School  
Kurus English  
LAL South Africa  
Language Teaching Centre  
Oxford English Academy   

SWITZERLAND
EF International Language Centers  
TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism Authority  

USA
Brown University Continuing Education  
Educatius  
ELS Language Centers  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  
Global Language Institute  
University of Arizona  
University of California Berkeley  
University of Maryland Baltimore County  
Zoni Language Centers  


  




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