Chinese Mandarin is the official language in China. There is also a local dialect in Shanghai. Today, the young generations are learning English as a foreign language. They are willing to communicate with you in English if you need help. In the meantime, most people working in travel agencies and other service industries (e.g. taxi drivers, shop assistants, waiters and waitresses) can speak some basic English.
The working languages of the program are English and Chinese. There will be alternative translation service provided during the program.
Shanghai has four distinct seasons: temperate spring, rainy summer, clear autumn, and cold and wet winter. The best seasons to travel in Shanghai are during spring and autumn, particularly in the months of April, May, September and October. Autumn is considered to be the best season to visit Shanghai, as the skies are clear and the weather is very comfortable. The average temperature throughout the year is 15°C with the coldest month in January (coldest temperature: -1°C) and the warmest month in July (warmest temperature: 38°C). The seasons of spring and autumn are shorter than summer and winter.
The unit of currency of China is Renminbi, sometimes listed as yuan, RMB, CNY or ￥.
It is advised that you exchange some RMB cash prior to your arrival in Shanghai. Many banks in Shanghai provide currency exchange service. You can exchange foreign currency for RMB conveniently. It is reasonable for you to keep a few hundred RMB at hand for daily use.
Cards issued by most of the international credit card organizations can be identified by the ATMs in China. Among them, the most widely acceptable ones are VISAs and Master Cards. Some others, such as American Express, Diners, Discovery and JCB are also acceptable, but can only be identified by a few ATMs in the city center. Therefore, we suggest you take a VISA card to China.
Getting Around the City
Shanghai has an extensive and very convenient public transportation system including subways and buses, and you are encouraged to explore these options when getting around the city. You can purchase a Public Transportation Card at any subway station and load money on to this card to use on buses, subways and in taxis. Generally, wherever you would like to visit in Shanghai, you can take the subway, get off at the nearest stop and take a bus or a taxi to the destination. The nearest subway station to Guoshun Campus of Shanghai Open University is Guoquan Road Station of Line 10 国权路站.
You can check Shanghai Metro Network Map on http://www.shmetro.com/EnglishPage/EnglishPage.jsp
Although the bus system is a little more complicated to initially figure out, buses are also very affordable and convenient (and help you to practice reading Chinese Characters!).
Taxis in Shanghai are plentiful and prices are RMB13+ 1 (gas surcharge) and RMB 16 + 1(gas surcharge) after 11pm for the first 3 kilometres.
Note: you may show the address of SOU in Chinese to the taxi drivers: 国顺路288号上海开放大学，近四平路.
Across the street from the campus gate there is a Agricultural Bank of China, ATM is available.
There are two Bank of China nearby campus. One is at 1616 Huangxing Road黄兴路, near RT Mart. The other one is located at 290 Guoding Road国定路, near Zhenghua Road, 10 minute walking distance from the campus. It is encouraged that student go to Bank of China for foreign currencies business.
Nearest Postal Office: 180 Zhengben Road 政本路 (10 minute walking distance). Postage varies according to how much a mail weighs. Get stamps at the post office.
Express Mail Services: should you need to send something via an express carrier (such as FedEx, DHL, etc. ), please make arrangement with the IIE office for pickup and payment.
There are two supermarkets near SOU Guoshun Campus, namely RT Mart and Walmart. RT Mart is located at 1618 Huangxing Road 黄兴路, second floor. Walmart is at 125 Songhu Road 淞沪路, 2-4 floor. Articles of everyday use and a big variety of food are available there.
Wu Jiao Chang 五角场: Wu Jiao Chang is the closest shopping center from SOU. It is about 15 minute walking distance from the campus. There is a Walmart, many big shopping plazas, banks, restaurants with a variety of cuisines, cinemas, gyms etc.
The city center of Shanghai is People’s Square. You can get there by taking Metro Line 1, 2 or 8.
There are not many foreign bookstores in Shanghai, however most major bookstores have an English and foreign language section.
Food and Drinks
Please keep in mind that you cannot drink tap-water before boiling it. If you are allergic to some food, please pay attention to the ingredients of food you eat and let us know before your arrival.
There are a number of restaurants in commercial center Wujiaochang, serving either local specialties or cuisines of different countries in the world. The cost of food in Shanghai can range from very cheap to very expensive – depending on where you choose to dine.
Off-campus Medical Care
It is recommended that students go to the International Health Center of Shanghai No. 1 People’s Hospital (585 Jiulong Road; 6324-0090 ext. 2101). If students have oversea medical insurance, it should be brought there. It is about 20 minutes by taxi. The Center is equipped with advanced medical facilities and its doctors speak foreign languages. If the student can speak fluent Chinese, he can also go to such hospitals nearby campus as Changhai Hospital (168 Changhai Road) and Xinhua Hospital (1665 Kongjiang Road, near Jiangpu Road).
Fitness and Leisure
On campus gym: Ping Pong(table tennis) and exercise equipment are provided free of charge.
Indoor badminton stadium: badminton court needs to be reserved, please contact IIE office for more information.
Country and City Phone Codes
- The country code for China is 86.
- The city code for Shanghai is 21.
- Mobile phones typically DO NOT have a separate city code; the number may be dialled directly from within China or from outside of China by adding the China country code at the beginning.
- Police 110
- Ambulance 120
- Fire 119