Study Away Spotlight

This article is part of a series highlighting study away students at NYU Shanghai.

Alanna Bayarin, NYU New York

Alanna Bayarin came to NYU Shanghai for the Global Media Scholars Program, an honors program that is part of her Media, Culture and Communication major at NYU New York. The program requires two semesters abroad, so Bayarin went to Paris before coming to Shanghai.

“Paris was to spend time with my family in Paris,” Bayarin said, “and Shanghai was to completely go out of my comfort zone. I wanted to push my boundaries and challenge myself.”

Shanghai has been a bit of a challenge. The language barrier became painful when Bayarin went to a Shanghai hospital for a common minor infection. “I had to go back and forth on Google Translate with the doctors. That was fun,” Bayarin said.

“NYUSH is super cool,” Bayarin said, but that does not mean it has been a breeze. “Why are the outlets so weirdly placed? Why is there only one soap dispenser in the bathroom, but multiple sinks? Totally makes for an awkward shimmy to the soap dispenser from the sink, usually bumping into other sink users. Why is there hand sanitizer in every nook and cranny of campus but not the gym?” Bayarin also had a poor experience at Health and Wellness when she was sick and was only given two tabs of ibuprofen.

Bayarin has spent her most of her free time at NYU working. “I like to work,” she said, “I would say that is my hobby.” She is using this experience in job applications for her post-graduation plans. “I hope to land a career in the television industry writing/producing and have been working in the industry since I was in high school,” Bayarin said.


Hannah Hess, Georgetown University

Hannah Hess, from Chicago, came to NYU Shanghai to continue studying Chinese. “I needed to find a program that also offered math classes taught in English so that I could continue to get credit towards my major,” Hess, a math major with minors in Chinese and Computer Science, said.

Hess interned in Shanghai over the summer and is excited about this “amazing opportunity.” She hopes to work in Asia after college and continue improving her Chinese. “NYUSH is really helping me with my Chinese language skills, and using Chinese everyday is a huge advantage to this,” Hess said.

“NYU Shanghai was a perfect fit,” Hess said. However, she wishes that the dorms were closer to Puxi. “There is a lot of cool ex-pat style out there, but it is a bit far from us,” although Hess also praised the nice facilities and feels the distance is simply an adjustment. “I really love all the food and how there are many close restaurants and getting around on the subway is really easy,” she said.

That doesn’t mean that China was an easy move from America. Hess’s troubles included “the temperature and the humidity, all of the oily and fried food, using the subway and Mobike to get everywhere, using a VPN, having to use Chinese for most everyday things, being away from my friends and having to work around a 12-hour time difference to stay in touch.”

However, Hess is enjoying her time in Shanghai. “I love how much there is to do here. All of the food, all of the cool restaurants, bars, museums, markets in Shanghai. The list keeps going of how much there is to do here. And not to mention how easy traveling within China is, and how much there is to see. I love how there is so much to do, it is always very exciting and I’m never bored here,” she said.

Hess is a student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where she is a member of the Varsity Sailing team.


Nastasia Kutuyev, NYU New York

Nastasia Kutuyev also came to Shanghai as part of the Global Media Scholars program, through which she spent last semester in Prague. “I ended up choosing Shanghai because it was the furthest from home, and now seems as good a time as any to subject myself to a 13 hour flight. I also felt that in the past my education has centered a lot around Europe and the western hemisphere, leaving a gap in my knowledge on the history and culture of this region in the world.”

Kutuyev has enjoyed Shanghai so far. “I find myself really liking the city and being happy with my choice to study here, and with the language barrier I’m eternally grateful that people here are very patient with dumb foreigners just trying their best,” Kutuyev said.

Kutuyev is in awe of how vast the city is in comparison to New York City. “Especially when it comes to nightlife, it seems like most everything is at least half an hour away by subway, but maybe I’m just really bad at finding bars and clubs,” she said.

Yet, NYU Shanghai’s campus is much smaller. “I do miss having more than one building for classes; my schedule is set up so that I’m often stuck in the academic building for the entire day because there isn’t quite enough time to take a shuttle in between classes,” Kutuyev said. She also misses the comedy group that she is part of in New York and her friends there.

Kutuyev is happy overall with her experience in Shanghai. “At the end of the day, though, I’m grateful that I get this chance to explore the world and push myself out of my comfort zone, and Shanghai has been super fun to explore.”

This article was written by Alessandra Hallman. Please send an email to to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Maya Williams

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