Going into school in Shanghai, I wasn’t sure what the professor relationships would be like. My Chinese friends at UBC had told me that, in their high schools, it was very much a large power distance between them and their teachers. So for universities, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Out of the classes that I'm taking, I have a mix of both foreign lecturers and Chinese professors, all of whom are amazing. Something neat about the foreign lecturers is that they all work in Shanghai in various industries and since I want to work in the city after graduation, I have been asking for advice.
I have found them to be really willing to offer tips, tricks and internships which, based on their wealth of experience, have been amazing. One of the things about the professor-student relationship I found surprising is that instead of using email to contact the prof, you add their WeChat and talk with them there. For those that don’t know, WeChat is basically a good app that is a mix of Facebook, Apple Pay, Booking.com and basically every other useful app you can think of.
At first it seemed like a weirdly casual way to reach profs, as some allow you to view their moments (basically a Facebook wall) where there are family pics, party pics and the like. But after getting used to that it, I realized it’s an amazingly convenient way to send files, ask questions and let them know you won’t be in class because you are “sick”— although once they see the travel pics on your WeChat, they will know the truth.
Besides the communication difference, the professors and lecturers here have been really similar to UBC — a good classroom balance of lecture and discussion and passionate teachers.