A Summer in Shanghai

Ana Ture, a third-year student at the University of Birmingham spent a summer in Shanghai in 2014. Here's what she got up to...


I’m Ana and from a very small village in East Yorkshire, England. I am currently a third year reading history at the University of Birmingham. In 2014 I was selected to receive a bursary to study at an International Summer Session at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. I wished to see an entirely different culture and to live by Chinese practices, and to also meet people from all over the world.

I was nervous about travelling alone, and not being able to speak any Mandarin, however I hoped to see the culture and be truly immersed in it, I also hoped to see a great deal of Chinese history.

I attempted to become completely involved in Chinese culture by trying absolutely everything, by eating, drinking and travelling. I aimed to refuse nothing and no opportunity while I was there.

What I got up to

I ate chicken feet, dog, frog, eel, everything. And attempted to learn certain phrases in Mandarin in order to speak to some people. I travelled to Beijing and saw the Great Wall, where I spent the night alone on an overnight train in a cabin with a Chinese family. It was a completely new experience and I learnt so much from it, not just about Chinese culture, but about the world as a whole and about myself. I saw a great deal of Chinese history, and understood their customs and rules. I also met and made friends with people from all around the world.

I aim to influence others by promoting any opportunity to travel and to ensure they truly learn and become involved in the country's way of life. I did not for a second believe I would receive the bursary when I applied and yet I did, and I had the best and most life changing summer of my life.

What next?

I hope to use much of what I saw to continue to learn about other cultures. My mind was completely opened, and many more need to understand the differences and how beautiful these differences are. I would like to persuade others to visit this beautiful country, which has such a rich history and vibrant culture. While it is so different to England is it not wrong, it is just different, and understanding this was life changing.

My ambition is to become a historical researcher in film and television. I wish to work in media opening people’s eyes to other cultures and attempt to counter racism that exists by showing how a different culture is not wrong, it is just different and should be equally respected.