Summer Joint Institute Students Tour Downtown Shanghai

The 2018 Summer Joint Institute students got their first taste of the city during an all day tour.

Early in the morning on Saturday May 19th, the summer students of the UM-SJTU Joint Institute boarded a bus headed for downtown Shanghai to tour some of the cities most famous attractions. As this was the first time being downtown for most students, the bus was buzzing with excitement for the full day to come.

The first stop was Yuyuan Garden in the northeast side of the old city of Shanghai. These ancient gardens, originally built for a wealthy family in Shanghai, now offer fantastic views of traditional Chinese architecture, design and art for anyone to see.  The students were guided through the sprawling complex, full of Choi ponds, intricate pavilions, and gorgeous jade art pieces early enough in the morning that it felt as if they were the only ones there.

The second stop of the tour was the Jade Buddha Temple, a traditional Buddhist temple located in the center of Shanghai. This temple, over a hundred years, holds one of the largest contiguous Jade stones in the world, carved into a magnificent statue of the Buddha.  In addition, the temple is full of ornate and meticulously kept gardens as well as numerous rooms for prayer and Buddhist meditation.  Here, the students were able to wander through the temple and absorb the wonders of this ancient culture and belief.

After a full morning, the students went to the Four Seasons hotel  for a much needed rest and lunch break.  Following lunch, the group made their way to China Art Museum at the at the former China pavilion of the 2010 Expo.  This magnificent museum, housed in an equally breath taking building, offered students an opportunity to learn about Chinese culture from the art that comes from it’s citizens.

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Once the students had a chance to explore the exhibits, they headed to their last attraction, the second tallest building in the world!  Shanghai Tower, standing at 632 meters tall looms over the skyline of Pudong, offering fantastic views of the city.  Unfortunately, that afternoon it had rained and the clouds were still low over the tower reducing some of the visibility, but the experience was still thrilling.

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After a long day of walking, the bus ride home was much quieter than the ride there, but it was a sign of a good day.  With this experience under their belt, many of the students will return to downtown to have their own adventures, exploring every nook and cranny of this new environment and providing invaluable memories for years to come.

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