March 3, 2015, by Tony Hong

Love at first sight

By Ismail Sadurdeen

Student at Nottingham University Ningbo Summer School

From the many options available to choose from I picked the Ningbo Summer School program as it was located in China. I had always wanted to visit the Great Wall from a young age so I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to combine leisure and education. I arrived in Shanghai Pudong airport and was taken aback by the sheer size of the airport, this was my first impression of China. After a few hours we arrived in Ningbo campus, it was much smaller compared to University park in England but I felt very welcomed. After our induction we had our first series of lectures, we were taught Economics, Culture, Religion, Politics etc. from the best lecturers. The program was very flexible as we had the evenings free to explore the city of Ningbo, it was a well planned city and had excellent night life for its size. We also had the opportunity to learn Tai Chi, Mandarin and Calligraphy, things which I had never done before. Tai Chi was a form of soft martial arts, I felt my concentration and balance improve by the end of my two weeks. I never enjoyed drawing when I was a kid but calligraphy is more than just drawings. It is the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner.
In addition to these we also had an overnight trip to Shanghai and day trip to Hangzhou. I was completely taken back by the resemblance of ‘the Bund district’ to London and I personally felt the night life in Shanghai was much better than in the UK. From our Hanghzhou tour we were enlightened about China’s soft power. China is trying very hard to promote itself culturally and it was no doubt we were invited to a wonderful reception showcasing local talent which was organised by the Ningbo City Council. At this event we performed a famous Chinese song called “Tian Mimi”. It was great fun learning and singing it.

The two weeks I was in Ningbo was the fastest two weeks of my life, I made a lot of memories which I will cherish for the rest of my life. It is safe to say I became very close with 32 summer school participants from various countries and the volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure we had a fun and safe experience. By participating in the summer school I gained first hand knowledge of China which I otherwise would not have known if I relied on traditional news sources and I really like it there. The people are very warm and friendly and the West can learn a great deal from their culture. Before visiting China I never considered it as an option for higher education but after the summer school I am considering pursuing a Master’s degree in China.

Overall the China Summer School was the best two weeks of my life, I would definitely recommend it to anyone!

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