Monthly Archives: May 2010

Shanghai World Expo 2010

On May 24, our group went to the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The World Expo is a type of World’s Fair that occurs anywhere from every 3 to 20 years. The Shanghai Expo, themed “Better City, Better Life”, is the largest and most expensive ever, which fits with the estimate of 70-100 million visitors over the 6 month span. For more information on the Expo itself, click here.

We arrived at the Expo at 8am and stayed until 11pm. During the day we were able to see 7 pavilions sponsored by countries, corporations, or selected themes. In addition, just walking through the fair grounds offers stunning sights of the pavilions and unique chances to interact with people from all over the globe.

The main impression I came away with is a promising and unified effort for progress as we move forward with technology. From the green, self driven vehicles presented by General Motors to the goal of a truly globalized population shown by Spain, it became apparent that across the world people are realizing the importance of the implications of new technology as well as simply what it does.

Here are some of my favorite scenes from the Expo. I know I will go back soon to see much more!

Presentation by SAIC-GM of their 2-person cars for 2030 Shanghai.

Netherlands - one of the more creatively designed pavilions

Saudi Arabia


Creative Process in Pontlevoy, France

Hi Everyone!

My name is Genevieve Davis and I just finished my second year at U of M.  For the next few weeks, I will be in Pontlevoy, France (along with TJ) taking the same course that explores our creative abilities.  I am in the School of Kinesiology at Michigan, majoring in Movement Science, which honestly doesn’t typically involve much creative thinking.  I haven’t ever really thought of myself as a creative person, so I wanted to take this class as a kind of change of pace for me.  It doesn’t hurt that the class is in the French countryside either.

eiffel tower

Here I am at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which I visited during my travels before my class began.

Even though I don’t speak a word of French, I have really come to like France so far.   Before my class started I spent about a week in Madrid and Paris, neither of which I had been to before. I spoke enough Spanish to get around in Madrid, but Paris was a completely different story.  I didn’t realize how extremely difficult it would be to function in a place where you really don’t speak the language at all.  Fortunately, one of the girls I was traveling with spoke French so she could do the translating for me.  Since coming from Paris to Pontlevoy, I haven’t been affected as much by the language barrier.  I think that this may be because Pontlevoy is such a small town (I believe it has a population of 1,500)  and because I mostly hang around the abbey where we are housed, so I just don’t really encounter that many French-speaking people.

Well I’m off to go start our first class assignment: a stop-motion animation. I’ll keep posting about once or twice a week to keep you all posted on my trip!

France! (The Start)

Abbey of Pontlevoy

Outside the Abbey of Pontlevoy

I came to Pontlevoy with no expectations about the town or the Creative Process class.  Being a business student, I understand that this course will be a complete change of pace for me; however, I understand that if I put forth maximum effort, I will reap the benefits of an innovation course such as this.  Creativity is the combination of experiences and observing other things that have been created. These words were uttered of the mouth of Prof. Van Gent and they really resonated with me.

During our first exercise, we were required to come up with terms that we equate with creativity. One of the word that came to my head was “philosophy”.  Some of classmates might have wondered why I said this since I didn’t get a chance to explain my thought process. Basically, I have been studying to go to law school in doing so, I have come across many cases and arguments. For a successful argument and in philosophy in general, there is a certain level of creativity involved that helps solidify your points. Again, it is not that you are creating arguments out of the blue, but rather, you are taking a current problem/situation and applying previous arguments to it.  The creativity comes into play when you decide to either use the previous rationale for or against the current situation. To me, this is very interesting and I took this course to improve my thought process in relation to problems such as these.

Our 1st Day in Downtown Shanghai

On Sunday, May 9, we took our first trip to downtown Shanghai. To get from our campus to the center of the city we took the metro. Shanghai has the longest subway system in the world, with a total of 13 lines right now and even more under construction. The ride from SJTU takes about an hour including 2 transfers.

Once we got downtown, we toured historical, modern, and unique sites only found in Shanghai. Our day started at the location where the Communist Party of China was founded in May 1921.

The main display inside the site of the founding of the CPC

Next we headed to Xintiandi, a shopping and eating district with a modern mall along with many dinner/bar style restaurants. When we visited in the morning, there were not many people in this area. However, at night the place comes alive, with people packing patio dining areas and younger tourists and residents enjoying one of the two nightclubs on the top floor of the mall.

Our tour continued with a trip to the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre. Here we got to see the master plan for this incredible city. When the first person tells you that the population of Shanghai is 12 million, you gasp or just stare. But after seeing the scale model of Shanghai in 2020 in this museum, you start to believe them. Other displays focus on the transportation systems (bus, subway, maglev train, and airports) and the World Expo, a type of World’s Fair going on right now in the Pudong area of Shanghai.

3-D model of the plan for Shanghai by the year 2020, located in the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre

Our day ended with a walk along the Bund, a river walk area across from the main skyline of Shanghai. We walked along the entire pathway and then took a river cruise up and down to get an even more stunning view of the skyline. I am going to let these pictures do the talking.

The buildings on the Bund side of the waterfront

Water show on the river along the Bund

Swedish Summer

A view of downtown Helsingborg, set off the waterfront of the sound

Hey Stamps,

William Petrich here, Stamps Scholar Class of 2011. I will be spending two months in the south of Sweden this summer, in June and July. My trip has two primary academic purposes; I will be working an unpaid internship at a public library from which I will earn three credits in the Scandinavian Department, and I will be performing research for my Senior Honors History Thesis about the genesis of the Swedish Baptist faith and its development in Minnesota between 1853 and 1900.  I have been taking Swedish language classes at Michigan for three years and can read it pretty well, but not speak or listen as strongly. This immersion experience promises to help me enormously in this respect.

The town where I will live is Helsingborg, Sweden’s 9th largest city, located about 30 minutes north of Copenhagen, Denmark. Helsingborg is situated beautifully on the crisp, blue sound between Sweden and Denmark; a mere five minute international ferry ride separates the two nations. I have a small apartment in the city that’s only a few blocks from the library, where I will be a shelving assistant. When I return in early August, I will write an account of my trip in Swedish for the Scandinavian Department, thereby earning the final three credits I need for my Scandinavian Studies minor.

I will be performing research for my thesis at the Swedish Emigration Institute in nearby Vaxjo, Sweden as well. Additional help from the Stamps Scholarship has helped made my trip possible.

I arrive in Sweden on May 31, and will update at least weekly thereafter.

William C. Petrich

Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute

The skyline during our first day downtown.

Hi Everybody!

I am Jon, a mechanical engineering major at Michigan. I am currently in Shanghai, China studying at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute for 8 weeks.  I will be updating this blog with what our group is doing here in China, as well as my impressions of the culture both past and present.

Hope you enjoy!