Shanghai is a continually evolving and extremely dynamic city. With this comes a need to not only find your place in it, but to also find value in what you are doing. Whether you have lived here for years or are new to this thriving metropolis, the desire and opportunities to reinvent your existence are ongoing. Friends come and go, and circumstances change, often prompting us to step back and re-evaluate the things that make life fulfilling. This is where our Mind, Body and Soul cover story can help.
Instead of providing a back-to-school guide for the kids as the summer draws to an end, this one is for the moms and dads out there. Our three sections are filled with inspirations to help you settle into a healthy routine and re-establish yourself within it after a relaxing summer holiday.
We all know Shanghai as the city of dreams, a place of infinite possibilities. However, the process of finding your place in this concrete jungle can often prove daunting and overwhelming. Luckily, the city has an extensive array of classes and groups run by understanding individuals to help nurture your interests, develop new skills and foster valuable friendships along the way. If you have an unfulfilled pursuit such as cooking Chinese food, exploring the possibility of a business start-up, or learning to code, we are here to assure you there are many ways to craft that skill in Shanghai.
Start Your Own Busines
Boss Lady & Mentor Walks China
Of all the bustling cities in China, Shanghai is recognized as one of the best places to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, due to its receptive market and generous investment opportunities. To be successful, however, requires support and counsel from the community. Thankfully, local organizations such as Boss Lady and Mentor Walks China are here to help. Once a month, Boss Lady hosts a business-themed breakfast get-together at a boutique cafe, chaired by its founder Rachel Barac. A high-profile business leader usually starts the conversation, and the easy-going atmosphere allows for networking and brainstorming to navigate newcomers through the business world.
Also operating on a monthly basis is Mentor Walks China, through which you can spend a productive morning talking to established, Shanghai-based businesswomen. Powered by Mentor Walks Asia, M on the Bund, the International Professional Women's Society and international chambers of commerce, the program pairs each mentee with someone at the top of their career and takes them on a leisurely stroll through the central Jing'an Park. It's a great way to learn from someone who has years of experience in your field.
Boss Lady Breakfast. From RMB120. WeChat coming soon. Scan the QR code below for more information
Mentor Walks program. RMB50 per person. 7.45-9am. Scan the QR code to RSVP for the next walk.
Pick Up A Language
While living in a foreign country, conquering its native language always brings down cultural barriers and makes life easier. With many Mandarin schools available in town, a notable highlight is Hutong School Shanghai. Having opened language and culture schools across the globe, Hutong School's TCSL-trained teachers know how to teach languages effectively. In Shanghai, they offer three types of lessons to accommodate learners at different stages of Mandarin proficiency. This structure includes part-time group lessons at four hours per week, or intensive programs at 20 hours per week. You can also ask a teacher to come to you for one-onone lessons if attending regular classes is incompatible with your daily schedule. In a nutshell, the classes are progressive and flexible, and you can always try one for free before committing to a program.
See listing for Hutong School Shanghai here. Group lessons from RMB85 per person per hour; Private lessons from RMB160 per person per hour.
Cook Chinese Food
Shanghai's streets are blessed with an abundant array of Chinese cuisine to enjoy. That said, to cook a Chinese banquet at home is even more gratifying. If you prefer to learn hands-on from a welltrained local chef, try attending a customized cooking class with a small group of friends (maximum of six) at Cook in Shanghai. This interactive, three-hour class is conveniently located in Xuhui. Before you arrive, the instructor will have you select three traditional recipes to cook, and subsequently take you to an ingredient-sourcing trip at a local wet market as the first step of the cooking lesson. Once back in the kitchen, chefs at Cook in Shanghai will guide you through the basics of Chinese cooking: from wielding a cast iron wok to mastering the steam. If you're looking to expand your Chinese culinary knowledge and skills, this is the place to do it.
See listing for Cook in Shanghai here. From RMB320 per person per class.
Discover Your Inner Artist
Our fast-paced modern lifestyle often sees us casting aside creative hobbies for more pragmatic and sustainable vocations, yet personal experience tells me that a creative workshop has the power to bring together a group of strangers like no other. Whether it is photography, painting or handicrafts that you're interested in, Community Center Shanghai and Craft'd Shanghai have got your back. To document passing moments and Shanghai's dramatic cityscape, look no further than Community Center Shanghai's 'Looking Through the Lens with Johan.' Led by photographer Johan Prozesky, this class takes participants through camera setting, composition for travel photography, all the way to advanced editing and adding finishing touches on digital photographs. As for the artists out there, Community Center Shanghai also hosts a creative workshop with Shanghai-based designer and illustrator Celine Menard. This intimate session walks you through the basics of acrylic painting, sculpting with resin and rubber stamp carving practices, and arms you with creative skills which are not only fun to try with a like-minded group, but also great to take home and share with the kids.
To get craftier with a small group of people, check out Craft'd Shanghai's diverse programs. From crocheting, DIY cosmetics to parent-child workshops, its former French Concession studio is a great place to spend a few hours. You'll have time to pick up a new skill and create an original piece to take home or give to a loved one. With workshops running daily, there's bound to be something which suits your desire to create.
See listings for Community Center Shanghai here. Photography classes at RMB5,000 per person for ten sessions; Art workshop at RMB1,700 per person for five sessions.
See listings for Craft'd Shanghai here. Workshops run daily. Scan the QR code below for more information.
Learn to Code
Le Wagon Shanghai
Coding is an essential part of today's digital age, and this is particularly true in Shanghai, where the majority of us rely on a plethora of apps to manage our daily lives. As inexplicable as it may sound, coding can be easily demystified with a little handson training. While the city's numerous Apple Stores host free, introductory coding workshops, you can also find programming schools like Le Wagon Shanghai to develop a firm foundation. Since opening in 2016, Le Wagon's intensive nine-week boot camp has been consistently rated the best by local netizens. It is designed to help beginners develop the necessary skills and confidence to build apps on WeChat and Ruby Rails through progressive stages. Whether you are looking to launch your own business or work as a programmer at a tech company, Le Wagon Shanghai's classes are open to all ages, and anyone is welcome to register their interest.
[Cover image via Pexels]