Harri Suominen, Asia Exchange co-founder and CEO, studied abroad at Shanghai University during autumn 2005. Read his story below and find out how his journey started.

Harri Koh Lipe

I was about to graduate from my university that autumn but saw an eye-catching add on a campus notice board about going on an exchange in Shanghai. I didn’t have to think it twice. I’d been on an exchange in Athens, in Greece, before and knew what an astonishing and altering experience a study abroad semester could be. I applied to Shanghai the next day.

I was soon accepted to the program and was very pleased to be going to one of the largest, and moreover, most rapidly growing business and finance centers in the world. I saw this as an asset considering my future career in business.

shanghai pudong

As soon as we landed, at the airport, I couldn’t help but really take in how massive of a city Shanghai is. 18 million people was a bit more than what I was used to in Tampere or Athens.  The billboards, buildings and infrastructure were bigger than what I’d ever seen, anywhere – and the air was duly thicker with traffic pollution. I knew instantly that I wasn’t going to be bored for the next three months.

Many international students lived on campus, with other international students, and I stayed there in the beginning as well. With a couple of my friends, we moved to a privately rented apartment after a couple of weeks, however, and halved the rent we would had had to pay in the university accommodation. I lived with three of my friends in a very spacious apartment near the campus and paid, in total, 500 euros a month. There would have been several other accommodation options available as well but since we were only staying for a few months, the shorter leases were harder to come by. We lucked out.

shanghai study abroad

The study load wasn’t too overwhelming but you always had to be prepared in class, and in attendance! The grades were mostly based on the essays we wrote but there was an extensive final in the Chinese language. We had been able to pick freely from a choice of electives and I took ‘Chinese Language, Culture and History’ and ‘Chinese Economics’. The language studies took most of my time, with 12 hours of class a week, but I also felt it was the most important thing for me to study there. Chinese isn’t an easy language to pick up but slowly you did get to hang of it. In addition, you learnt a lot every day when eating out, shopping and taking taxis since you cannot really communicate with the locals in English.

Even though Shanghai is surely the most Western city in China, it’s definitely not short on fascinating and exotic thing to see and explore. The people, the culture and the architecture are so different. Everything is really very affordable and you can really make a hobby of eating out in restaurants as well as shopping.

Everything doesn’t work as it does at home but in general I had an overwhelmingly positive experience. I’m pretty sure I’ll return to Shanghai one day!

Find out more about studying abroad in Shanghai

Viimeisimmät blogikirjoitukset


What You Need To Know Before Starting Your Studies in Bangkok

Our Bangkok student Maike gives 5 tips on what you need to know before starting your studies in Bangkok My semester abroad in Bangkok is…

→ Lue lisää


An internship while studying

Karoliina is doing an internship while studying in Bali. Karoliina Rehnberg is a Finnish exchange student at Udayana University in Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia. She has…

→ Lue lisää


Life As a student in Palmerston North, New Zealand

What can you do as an exchange student in Palmerston North? My first month at the IPU in Palmerston North has already passed. After I…

→ Lue lisää


Semester Start in Bali Autumn 2019

A look at the start of autumn semester 2019 in Bali September has come once again and in Bali that reckons the beginning of an…

→ Lue lisää


How to travel safely in Bangkok?

Tips on how to stay safe in Bangkok Bangkok, the lively capital of Thailand, is a central hotspot in Southeast Asia and one of the…

→ Lue lisää


Challenges of Studying Abroad

5 of the most common challenges you might face while studying abroad Studying abroad is always an adventure filled with excitement, fun, joyfulness and challenges. In…

→ Lue lisää


List of Study Abroad Expectations vs Reality

Do Your Study Abroad Expectations Meet Reality? Before you start your semester abroad you will most likely build up plenty of high expectations. Doing so…

→ Lue lisää


What Can You Do in South Korea As A Student?

5 things to do in South Korea as a student  Are you planning to study abroad in South Korea? Or maybe you’re already there and don’t…

→ Lue lisää

Hakuajat ja kiehtovimmat tarinat suoraan sähköpostiisi

Tilaa uutiskirjeemme

Saat myös ilmaisen University Profiles -oppaan
Join Our Newsletter

Your information is safe with us. Unsubscribe any time.

Asia Exchange, Vuorikatu 3 L 3 33100 Tampere, Finland
Email: info@asiaexchange.org
Tel: +358 45 322 1230, Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm (GMT +2)
WhatsApp: +358 45 322 1230

Privacy Policy

Site by Atomi

© 2007-2019 Asia Exchange