As I have traveled around China, I can say that Shanghai is definitely the most cosmopolitan city in Chinese mainland. Besides English proficiency, there are also a fair number of French, German, and Spanish speakers as well.”
from Chicago who is living in Shanghai for two years
“Before college, my biggest motivation to learn English was to get good grades. Now I think one’s English proficiency level is very crucial for his work. This is especially true for those who work for a foreign company,” said Yao Yankun, 22, a Shanghai resident who graduated from the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing.
Yao is currently doing a summer internship at an American investment bank’s branch in Beijing before heading to Hong Kong in September for graduate studies. She had started learning English since her third year in primary school and has been taking part in English contests and reading extensively as well.
Tang Kaihua, a 22-year-old IT graduate from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said that while 30 percent of his classmates take tests such as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) before they further their studies abroad, about 20 percent of them actually take these tests just to maintain their language skills after their college English courses were over after the second year. This also helps them to better comprehend papers written in English and browse forums.
Tang said that entertainment is another motivation for him and his fellow classmates to continue learning the language.
“We want to watch YouTube and play foreign games. Understanding English helps a lot,” he said. Wang Qifan contributed this story.
Given Shanghai's status