As part of a scholarship program for NYU’s study abroad program I will be posting regularly about my experiences in Shanghai. In addition to fulfilling requirements, this blog will help me to formulate my thoughts on Shanghai, China, and my study abroad experience. Most importantly, I hope that this semester I will be able to understand China better as a nation, a people, and a culture.
My name is Evelyn Cheng （郑怡伦）and I’m a junior studying journalism along with urban design and architectural studies. As a native New Yorker, I am fascinated by cities — their construction, their infrastructure, their culture, and their legacies. The way a city is designed deeply affects the lifestyles of the people within it, consequently impacting society. Given its rapid expansion in the past few years, Shanghai has much that New York City can learn from, and vice versa. As a journalist I want to convey the significance of these often overlooked details, especially in a cross-cultural context.
I’ve arrived in Shanghai a bit before school starts next week to get a feel for the city and its people. This is my first time in mainland China and my first extended stay abroad. Although I grew up in America, the food and culture are familiar to me; my biggest challenge is becoming fluent in Mandarin. Being Asian American is both challenging and interesting as I strive to determine my identity. For in America I may feel Chinese, but in China I realize that I am still partly American. Working with Generasian, NYU’s Asian American interest magazine, for the past year has shown me that my dilemma is not uncommon.
Perhaps my greatest achievement this semester will be to find myself.