Shanghai created many firsts for Tyler Rhorick who was born and bred in South Carolina: the destination of his first international flight, the reason he applied for his first passport, and where he landed his first full-time job.
"It was the first place that I truly felt like home -- the first place I set myself up as an individual, an adult living away from my parents," said Rhorick who graduated in May as part of the inaugural class of Shanghai New York University (NYU Shanghai), a Sino-American higher education institute.
He is a beneficiary of the ever-expanding cooperation between the two countries, which officially established diplomatic ties in 1979.
The state visit to China by U.S. President Donald Trump, the first head of state to visit China since the landmark 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), is widely perceived as key to defining future Sino-U.S. relations. [Special coverage]
As the birthplace of the Shanghai Communique released 45 years ago to lay the foundation for the normalization of China-U.S. relations, Shanghai has witnessed close bilateral ties in economy, education and culture.
Rhorick works as a new student program associate at NYU Shanghai, after obtaining China's first work permit granted to an overseas graduate on completion of his or her bachelor's degree, thanks to a policy change trialled in Shanghai. In the past, a foreign graduate required either two years of work experience abroad or a master's or doctoral degree to receive a work permit.
NYU Shanghai, which celebrated its fifth anniversary last month, has enrolled more than 1,500 students from 68 countries and regions, nearly half of whom are foreign students.
Liu Hongxia, its vice president, described the school as a "test field" for jointly-run education between China and United States. "It has immeasurable potential, since every student here is likely to become a catalyst for Sino-U.S. exchanges in various areas," said Liu who earned her master's degree at New York University some 30 years ago.
Some of the school's graduates might become future heavyweights in bilateral communication, such as ambassadors, according to Liu.
Another iconic Sino-U.S. cooperation project is Shanghai Disneyland which opened in June 2016.
Earlier this month, the theme park was awarded the Luban Prize, the highest award in China's construction industry.
It is expected to reach break-even point in its first complete fiscal year of operation, the fastest theme park of its size worldwide to break even.
Shanghai is an epitome showing that China and the United States can supplement and promote each other's development, said Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies of Fudan University. "They can be excellent partners," he said.
According to the 2017 China Business Report by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, 73.5 percent of 426 surveyed U.S.-funded companies in China reported revenue growth in 2016, recovering from the 61 percent in 2015.
Despite challenges such as structural problems in China's economy, the report said China will remain an important market for U.S. companies with substantial benefits for the two countries.
As General Electric (GE)'s second largest market after the United States, China will remain the most relevant growth market in the future for the multinational enterprise, Rachel Duan, president and CEO of GE China, told Xinhua.
Bilateral trade between the two countries grew to about 524 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 from 2.5 billion dollars in 1979. The world's two largest economies are each other's top trade partners.
The pair continues to open wider to each other.
A 100-day action plan initiated to boost cooperation after the two presidents' meeting at Mar-a-Largo in April has produced tangible results. After a deal to reopen the Chinese market to U.S. beef in July, American beef is back on China's menu.
Progress in bilateral cooperation has also come via high-level dialogue mechanisms focusing on diplomacy and security; the economy; law enforcement and cyber security; and social and people-to-people exchanges.
The two countries should strengthen cooperation to help attain global peace, stability and prosperity, according to Wu.
Liu said that the recent CPC congress drew grand visions for the country in the decades ahead, which will impact the world.
"The future of Sino-U.S. relations will be in the hands of the young 'citizens of the world' of the two countries," she said.
Although Rhorick is unsure about his next step after his job contract ends in three years, he has deep affection for Shanghai.
"No matter where I was in the world, I always thought about returning to Shanghai," he said.