Meet Zhicheng Pan

Program and Location:

Spring, Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Shanghai, China


Computer Science

Why did you choose to study abroad?

Because I was stuck in China due to the travel restriction and covid-19 and I didn’t want to study fully online for a whole year. Also, I thought it would be fun to study in a Chinese university not only as Chinese but also a “foreign student”. Plus, I was not able to get into that university through Gaokao (Chinese SAT test), so I liked seeing what Chinese top universities are like.

What did you learn about yourself?

One cannot live without poetry.

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?

I took a poetry course. It is the best course I have ever taken in my college life. Also, I met a wonderful German professor in SJTU. We’re still in touch! The professor hosted some fun activities such as Board Game Night. I had some much fun there.

What was your experience with navigating COVID-19 abroad?

Hard to travel to China, even though I’m a Chinese citizen. 14 days quarantine. Strict health-check policy. Few flights. But the good thing is, China controlled covid-19 pretty well in Spring 2021. So, it was like there was no covid-19 thing in China. I did not even wear a mask.

In what ways did your identity have an impact on your experience abroad?

People consider me as Chinese without any conversation or anything. This made the experience less fun because I’d love to be in another country without speaking their local language. I think this is an interesting way to explore another culture as well.

Where did you find support to navigate any challenges you faced abroad?

I met a rude person who works at SJTU. Her job is to deal with exchange, or foreign students. When she was dealing with non Chinese students, she was polite and patient. But when it came to Chinese students, either “go local” students or exchange students like me, she was impolite and impatient. I talked this with advisors of the program and they talked this out with me and I felt much better after that.

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?

Don’t be afraid of trying out! You won’t lose anything by trying. There is no point living your life if you don’t try out things.

Would you do it again?

Sure! I would absolutely study abroad again and recommend it to other students. (I’m actually doing a summer abroad internship.)