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Who said Chinese universities only teach language? Given the number of students itching to make a leap into the Chinese business world, business schools may be the perfect package to bridge that gap.

Many of these programs fit smoothly into an Australian winter or summer semester and pack your trip to the brim with business, culture and language. Antai Global Summer School is the business school of Shanghai Jiaotong University, at the beating business heart of China.

With a university Winter break looming, Michael Liu leapt at the chance to survey Shanghai as a business school student and reported back to AO with the goods.

How did you find out about the Antai Global Summer School and what initially attracted you?

I found out about the program through flyers stuck up around my university, the University of Melbourne. I was attracted to the program by the opportunity to learn about business in China and the chance to study at one of China’s most prestigious universities. All in the space of one month, I saw it as a great way to spend my Winter break.

Can you tell us a little about how the program works?

The Antai Global Summer School consisted of a total of 84 students, both undergraduate and masters students, from 27 countries.

The 3-week program aims to broaden students’ understanding about everything that is China. It is a great program for those who have had little exposure to Chinese culture to broaden their understanding about the world’s most populated country and the Eastern way of life.

The program is split into three components: Academic lectures, cultural visits and Chinese language courses. Lectures were delivered by high-profile academics and professionals. They provided a theoretical understanding of the Chinese business landscape and the issues that confront modern-day China, complemented by excursions to large Chinese companies. Cultural visits to Shanghai’s main attractions exposed us to the traditional aspects of Chinese culture in modern and fast-developing Shanghai. Culture was directly taught through Chinese language courses where we learnt about the most spoken language in the world.

The program is held at the Antai College of Economics and Management – the business school of Shanghai Jiaotong University. Students attend classes and activities on weekdays, which start at 9.00 in the morning and usually finish at 4.30 in the afternoon.

We stayed at a three-star student hotel at the Shanghai Jiaotong University Xuhui Campus, which was convenient. The whole program set me back 3,600 USD, including accommodation but not including flights.

Did you enjoy the program? What is the one most valuable thing you will take away from it?

Being able to live in Shanghai was the most valuable experience and something I will treasure. To experience life in Shanghai as a student was invaluable and something that cannot be replicated just visiting as a tourist. I consider myself extremely lucky to have the opportunity to study at one of China’s best universities, since university entrance exams in China are notoriously competitive and selective. Furthermore, the program provided many networking opportunities with other students and even the staff, which made this program memorable.

Like most of the students in the program, I have been fascinated by China and its importance in the world. Hence, I hope to further explore China in the future whether it is to study or to work. It has become somewhere I want to live for an extended period of time.

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Finally, do you have any tips for students to make the most out of Antai Global Summer School?

Of all the good things I can say about this program, I would mainly recommend this Summer School because it is one of the few opportunities out there where one can truly experience life in China. This is the perfect program for those who are not willing or able to participate in a semester-long exchange program in China.

My university did the heavy lifting for the school registration – leaving just a few visa responsibilities to the students. All the same it was lucky I applied early to give a bit of wiggle room for inevitable back-and-forth over a couple of months. Students not applying through a university will need to manage school registration and visas themselves and may need to give a longer lead time.

Visit the Antai Global Summer Program website for more details on the application procedure, hear and see what the school is like, and read the Asia Options Housing in China Guide, to get a handle on Shanghai’s top districts.

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Will Breedon

Will graduated from Monash University with degrees in Economics and Arts (Mandarin) and studied at Soochow University as a Hamer Scholar.

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