Editor’s note: Students in the MRED Program are traveling around the world – literally! Seven graduate students had the opportunity to travel west as part of an immersive study abroad class in summer 2016. Here is the first post from Bradon Welker, one of the students on the journey. 

This morning, we woke up bright and early at 5 a.m. to go to Incheon Airport and catch our flight to Shanghai Pudong International Airport. On the flight over, we were accompanied by a large and lively Korean tour group. We enjoyed an in-flight meal of beef and mushrooms with rice.

When we arrived at the airport, we proceeded through customs with some delay. The officials took our passports and went through them thoroughly, along with our itineraries, in order to make sure we qualified for our temporary 144-hour visa.

We met our Resident Director Emma, who took us on the bullet train from the airport to Pudong, which reached speeds of 300km/h (186 mph). Then we all hopped into our small group bus, which was parked next to a KFC and McDonald’s (we felt right at home). The driver took us from Pudong across Huangpu River Bridge to Puxi, where we checked into the Lee Gardens Hotel. We then had lunch at a delicious noodle restaurant next door.