The NYU Shanghai Bucket List

Whether you've been at NYU Shanghai for one year or four, there are some things you can't leave NYU Shanghai without doing!

Get Called on in a GPS Lecture

This sacred rite of passage is also one feared by every class. Pretty much the only motivation for doing the weekly GPS readings is the dimly looming threat of your name being slightly mispronounced at the front of the auditorium, and nearly three hundred pairs of eyes turning to look at you, filled with relief that they escaped the weekly gauntlet while they watch you sweat under the watchful gaze of all the Recitation professors.


The FamilyMart Diet

Whether it is finals week, midterm week, or just a regular ol’ week, nothing is more tempting than the sweet, welcoming dingle of the FamilyMart song when the doors open. Without the blessed triangle sushi or six RMB ice cream, it is doubtful I could have made it through late study sessions in the library without starving half to death.



We’re an itty-bitty school full of ambition and drive and challenge and change, so it makes sense that any pressing issue instantly grabs everyone’s attention. Off the top of my head, just in the spring semester of 2016, NYU Shanghai students have protested art projects, the cafeteria food, Student Government, and the phase-out of the GAF program. Unlike other huge schools, NYU Shanghai is small and new enough to be extremely flexible, and change has been generated through student movements and efforts. Keep making noise, young activists!


Get in a Facebook Fight on the All Classes Page

“Hey, did you see the post in All Classes?” This standard small-talk sentence refers to the Facebook conscious of NYU Shanghai, from the harmless “Did anyone see my phone?” post to the post that literally lights the world on fire with controversy and argument. Debates rage on for forty or fifty comments, complete with cited sources, quotes, and ideological warfare. The person with the most likes on their comment is the unofficial winner of the battle.


Eleme Your Life Away

Is it bad that so much of our bucket list so far involves food and fighting? Well, too late now…Eleme, the Chinese food-ordering app, has been known to cause extreme laziness and hermit-like behaviors. Nothing quite says “I’m a lazy, broke student in China” like ordering food from the restaurant right across the street for two weeks in a row…and then bribing another poor, unfortunate soul to go downstairs and pay the motorcycle delivery man every time.


Party (Too) Hard

Shanghai’s nightlife is certainly an experience. Whether you haunt dimly lit dive bars or clubs with skyline views, it’s just too easy to throw your former country’s drinking laws (looking at you, American students!) out the window.  After a straight week of going hard, at least you have an excuse to order way too much on Eleme or Sherpas and stay in bed to recover, at least until the weekend rolls around again…


Spend All Your Money on Taobao

If every single product in the world suddenly was on sale, it would look a bit like Taobao–China’s most popular online market sells everything from groceries to a boyfriend, all for outrageously cheap prices. Suddenly, everything you’ve ever wanted to buy ends up in your Taobao shopping cart, and you find yourself carrying twenty packages filled with dog hair dye or a Putin flask back to your dorm room and a roommate who is most certainly sick of your ridiculous purchases piling up in the corner.


Become Fluent in Chinglish

You no longer greet your friends with “love you,” it’s definitely “wo ai ni.” Keyi, bucuo, henhao…NYU Shanghai text slang is different from any you’ve ever known. If you don’t know how to read or pronounce those, you will definitely learn. Chinglish blurs the line between English and Chinese,  but also has the unfortunate side effect of seeping into your “normal” conversation when you’re trying to stick to one language. Good luck trying to explain to your parents and friends back home where Shiji Dadao is, or struggling to translate English phrases like RA (residence assistant) into Chinese!


Karaoke in the Academic Building

China’s beloved Karaoke Television (KTV) pastime with an NYU Shanghai twist: there’s no better way to take advantage of all the empty classrooms in the AB than by hosting a bootleg KTV night. All it takes is a laptop and the classroom projectors, as well as food and a large group of people ready to sing along to Beyonce. Hang around after the late buses leave the AB to unwind with this treasured NYU Shanghai tradition–though, fair warning, KTV might not be taking place sober.


Fall in Love with Shanghai

Shanghai, quite simply, is one of the best and craziest cities on earth. No matter what your experience at NYU Shanghai is, it’s inevitable that the sight of the Pearl Tower will fill you with nostalgia after you leave here, and you will have no shortage of crazy China stories to tell. You’ll head back home with a network of friends from around the world and the knowledge that you can handle anything life throws your way. NYU Shanghai is an experience like no other, and the city of Shanghai is the perfect place to grow and prepare to make your mark on the world.

This article was written by Savannah Billman. Please send an email to to get in touch.
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