July 15, 2013, by Tony Hong

Summer School 2013

By Abdullah Ahmed Nur,

Studying Civil Engineering at the University of Nottingham Malaysia.

The University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus Summer School made my summer of 2013 count as one of the best summers of my life. I chose to attend the course “China, the Rising Superpower” to learn and experience Chinese culture, which is one of the oldest cultures of one of the largest countries in the world. The course addressed the birth and modern history of China. And also the dynamics and complexities that make the study of China an interesting subject.

Upon arriving in China, the first seemingly insurmountable barrier that I was faced with was the language. However little by little and under the practiced tutelage given to me by the mandarin teachers, student helpers and others at the University of Nottingham Ningbo campus I began to make progress and engage with people.

The course included the art of calligraphy, one of the most well-known aspects of Chinese culture. It was at this point that the splendor of Chinese culture really began to open up to me. We learned all about the necessary tools to do calligraphy right, different historical styles, and even the way to hold a brush. This stylish brushwork has been around since ancient China and is still valued even to this day.

Aside from the course, the Summer School itself had a lot to offer, including city tours, field trips, and various parties and events in between. Shanghai, was probably the best city that I have been to as part of the summer school trips. It is well known for its European style architecture, and a walk along the bund (wàitān). The bund was one of my favorite areas in Shanghai because of its magnificent views and open space to walk along the Huangpu River. In Shanghai, unlike other cities in China, the buildings are well designed, clean, and stately. In my opinion, the evening is the best time to see the bund as the buildings light up and make the views even more stunning. Below is part one of my photo series on Shanghai.

“Visiting distinctive cultural places and being exposed to the Chinese customs is an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life.”

“I also made some friends from different countries and I could not have had a better summer.”

Chinese cuisine has so much variety to offer, some which are favourable to foreigners and some which are not so enjoyable. The tastiest dinner I had was in Shanghai – it was a fish dish with some vegetables. Shanghai offers significantly more variations in food than other parts of China. My recommendations for food in China would be Kung Pao chicken and fish with noodles. As simple as they sound, they’re delicious.

I am exceptionally grateful for the opportunity that the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus scholarship gave me to attend the summer school programme and would recommend the experience to anyone. I hope to return to China in the near future, but next time focus more on volunteer work.

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