Voices from Abroad
Dimitri Pun in Shanghai - Part 2
— December 19, 2018 by Dimitri Pun
Undergraduate student Dimitri Pun shares his experience studying abroad in Shanghai.
大家好 (Hey, all)! After an exciting, dynamic, and challenging semester abroad here at NYU Shanghai, I can’t believe it’s already time for me to leave this amazing city! Over the past semester abroad, I have seen places I’ve only dreamed about, experienced the rich culture in China, and learned about myself, my academic and professional goals, and life in general. Although bittersweet, I am excited to wrap up my experience here and provide a glimpse into what studying abroad here in Shanghai was like. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Studying at NYU Shanghai was a challenging experience, to say the least! Business classes were similar to those at Stern back in New York City. I took Organizational Communication (OrgCom), as part of the Social Impact Curriculum, and Management and Organizations (M&O), as part of the Business core, but with a little twist. In Professor Raymond Ro’s M&O session, I had the opportunity to dive deeper into what it means to be an effective manager and even role-play as a management consultant for a Chinese firm. OrgCom was a high-energy adventure and in-depth exercise in how to effectively communicate ideas, and, as Stern professor Brian Hanssen words it, “get what you want!” in a nice way. My Introduction to Programming class was perhaps my most challenging academic experience so far but I was always able to find someone here at NYU Shanghai to help guide me.
Living in Shanghai was a rollercoaster that involved getting lost many times, trying amazing food, interacting with people from different walks of life, and even dancing at one of the city’s many hotspots. Shanghai, as a city, is a unique fusion of western influences from around the world and Chinese culture, so there is something for everyone. I had the opportunity to visit other parts of China such as Beijing, Hangzhou, Huangshan, and the Shengsi Islands, and even other parts of Asia, including Thailand. I am also excited to spend my upcoming winter break in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
I learned a lot from both the high and low points that come with studying in a foreign country. At times, studying in China can be a challenge due to the language barrier and cultural differences that can lead to a lot of difficulty when trying to get around. The biggest lesson I learned was how to adapt and that the world is so much bigger than I previously thought. I learned that sometimes I need to step out of my comfort zone by trying foods I never thought I’d like, or spending hours learning how to read and write a language which sounds and looks completely different than what I’m used to. The courses at NYU Shanghai are academically challenging as well, so I improved my time management skills, and, as Olympic figure skater and NYU Shanghai guest speaker Michelle Kwan put it, learned how to “pivot”. Pivoting means seamlessly changing one’s course when faced with a roadblock. Shanghai taught me that pivoting will be continuously necessary as I continue to take on new challenges.
With that, I hereby sign off to a great semester at NYU Shanghai and move on to my next learning experience: listening to diverse narratives through the NYU Israel Experience this winter break. I also can’t wait to begin my next semester abroad at NYU Sydney! If you ever have any questions, you can always message me on Instagram @dimitripun!