Overall I had a blast at Hutong School in Shanghai, and the fact that I only stayed for 2 months was regrettable.
For starters, whatever the teachers do, they do so in the interests of their students. They are professional and they try their best to cater to our needs and preferences. My laoshi kept me interested and engaged in every class, and she gave me more than I requested. She helped me to reconnect with my Chinese heritage that I went home with a newfound appreciation for the culture and the elegance of the language.
What the city has to offer, from a variety of Chinese cuisine to innumerable scenic and historical spots, is also a reason why this programme is highly recommended. Although Shanghai may not be as formal as Beijing, the culture is still very much alive there. One of my personal favourites was the palpable solidarity among the elderly during Guangchang Wu! In addition, the public transportation is superb, so it’s extremely easy to get around in Shanghai as well as to explore out of Shanghai.
Participating in school activities is a must! Some can be overpriced, but there are plenty of them to pick and choose from. If I hadn’t gone to any, I wouldn’t have been able to further experience the true lifestyle and culture of Chinese society, and I wouldn’t have met some of the most interesting people coming from all corners of the world.
Certainly, not everything went smooth and perfect. In my case, the application process took longer than necessary. Should the same thing happen to you, I recommend calling the office directly to get immediate and clearer response to your queries. Another tip is to contact the programme director or your consultant in private in case of any urgent matters since not all staff are readily available to assist 24/7.
For me, the trouble at the beginning was totally worth the fun and learning I experienced in Shanghai.