From the minute the plane landed in Shanghai my mind was blown. It all seemed too surreal. The weeks dwindled to days and the days passed, leaving only wee hours before it was time to leave my life back at home, it all happened too quickly, and my brain was still trying to register the fact that I was no longer in my comfortable nest.
The moment my feet hit the Shanghai pavement was a wake-up call, the weather was completely backwards. From freezing to boiling, dry and wispy breaths to moist and humid pants, from the crisp smell of nature to the stuffy, pungent smell of pollution. It was positively scary and breathtakingly strange. My first week in China flew by, I stayed in a quaint little AirBnB in the Jin An district, where my sister and I roamed the streets and explored the city’s main attractions. Most of the locals don’t speak English but they were still incredibly kind, friendly and helpful. I didn’t expect the language barrier to be as challenging, but I was definitely proven wrong, luckily the translating apps did a fine job of getting my point across. The culture shock was daunting, but once you begin to assimilate it feels amazing, like you’re becoming one of the locals.
Upon arriving at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC), my mind was blown for the second time in a week. The campus is practically a small town. The layout is impressive and harbours a nature-meets-modern-town vibe. They have an array of shops and facilities, from cafes to bookshops, banks to hairdressers, restaurants to cafeterias. If that’s not enough they have plenty of local malls and grocery stores where you can also sometimes see international brands that remind you of home.
I’ve decided to pick up two language classes (Mandarin and Spanish) which I never would’ve had the opportunity to do back at home and I’ve joined the boxing club and partake in Pilates classes provided at the gym. A gym that’s fully equipped and even comes with an impressive rock-climbing wall!
Above all, I’m incredibly grateful for the friends I’ve made thus far and am eager to add many more great experiences and adventures to my journey in China.
Bachelor of Business
University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC)
Endeavour – Cheung Kong Student Exchange Program Mobility Grant recipient.