Two expat students talk about life in Shanghai

  • Laura Miens et une photo d'illustration de
Published 2019-09-16 14:39

Ahead of the Expat Show Shanghai to be held from September 20 to 22, we offer a series of expatriate profiles living in this Chinese city. Meet Annick-Ange Logmo and Laura Miens. They’re both foreign students at the ESSCA School Shanghai but their experiences are different...

What are you studying in Shanghai?

Annick-Ange: I have just finished the MBA Master's program with a specialization in digital marketing and business, a double degree offered by ESSCA and EFAP.

Laura: I chose the "MSc in Luxury Management", a double-degree between ESSCA and the EFAP school of communication. The program starts in Paris for a month and is then delivered in Shanghai for the rest of the year. All luxury sectors are studied, from fashion, to hotels, wines and spirits. I chose this Master for the creative dimension that adds to that of trade and for its international aspect, as well as my interest in luxury.

Why did you choose to study in Shanghai?

Annick-Ange: I chose to study in Shanghai because I wanted an international career. I grew up between Europe and Africa but I had never been to Asia. Shanghai is a big city that I have always wanted to visit and the fact that ESSCA has its own campus here and offers several exchange programs and masters made studying several semesters here possible.

Laura: Shanghai is a dynamic city, it is full of energy. Like Paris, Shanghai is a central place for luxury consumption. I also wanted to take Chinese classes because I think it's important to have a knowledge of Chinese nowadays. But also, having Chinese origins, I was curious to discover life in China.

What do you prefer about Shanghai?

Annick-Ange: Shanghai is a very dynamic and diverse city. We are both at the heart of Chinese culture and surrounded by international influences. This amazing contrast allows for a very enriching experience and to boost one’s open-mindedness.

Laura: I love the contrast between modernity and tradition, for example between the impressive skyscrapers and the charm of the lilong districts. I also like the fact that life happens at a very fast pace and that there is a vibrant international community; no time to be bored when you’re always having exhibitions, events and outings with friends.

How were the steps to obtain a visa for your studies in China?

Annick-Ange: I found it rather difficult to find information on my own about what was required to obtain a visa for China, because the information online is not always up to date.

But the school provided us with a step-by-step guide which made things easier. Once I gathered all the necessary documents, I went to the visa center to file my application and was able to get my visa back a few days later. The procedures are quick and easy, but it is useful to have someone who is acquainted with the procedures around.

Laura: It was not difficult to get a student visa. However, on arrival, you must make an appointment for a medical examination.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to study in Shanghai?

Annick-Ange: I think Shanghai is one of the Chinese cities where adaptation is made the easiest and the quality of life really allows students to indulge the experience.

However, adapting to life in China still requires a minimum of preparation; from a practical point of view, especially. I think it is important to learn about the applications commonly used here, because it is for example very difficult to survive without WeChat.

From an intercultural point of view, even though Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city, it remains an important city in a country where culture plays a significant role, and very different from Western culture. It is important to be open-minded and expect things to be done differently as in one's own country.

I think we should take advantage of this opportunity to open up as much as possible and try to learn as much as possible about Chinese culture.

Laura: Keep an open mind and do not forget to download a VPN. I recommend studying in Shanghai, it is an unforgettable experience.

What are your plans after your studies? Are you staying in Shanghai?

Annick-Ange: After my studies, I intend to return to Europe. I had the chance to live here for more than a year, and now I would also like to work in major European cities.

Laura: After my studies, I decided to pursue an internship for 6 months here (with a student internship visa). It's a little complicated to get a work visa because it takes 2 years of professional experience, so I do not think I can stay right now, but something tells me I'll be back soon ...