April 15, 2014, by Guest blog
Connecting with the culture, the people, the way of life but most importantly the university lifestyle
After spending the majority of my life in the Western part of the world, nothing excited me more than moving to China for the second half of my year abroad. I was excited to experience new things and discover an intriguing part of the world. However, I do not think anything could have prepared me for the complete culture shock I received upon arriving here.
I should state that I am studying and living in Qingdao which is a city in the North Eastern part of China in the Shandong province. I chose to study here at Qingdao University instead of the University of Nottingham’s Ningbo Campus because I wanted to fully immerse myself in the Chinese culture. It is safe to say that I have more than fulfilled that self-made promise, and after visiting the Ningbo campus last week, I am glad with the choice I made.
Since arriving I have found that I have had to make a plethora of connections; I have had to connect with the culture, the people, the way of life, and most importantly the university lifestyle. With regards to the culture there have been a few things that I have come across, that are not apparent in the West, but I have had to accept as the norm here. For example the Chinese do not use western style toilets, so a trip to the bathroom requires you to squat while doing your business. The culture aspect that I have yet to get used to is the incessant amount of spitting. Though I was warned about it before arriving, it still came as a shock to me, and I doubt I will ever really get used to hearing and seeing it, but I have learnt to take it in my stride.
I have found it rather easy to connect to their way of life; I have adjusted well to the pace of life, and I have whole-heartedly enjoyed their cuisine to the point of trying Donkey meat, which was extremely tasty. At first I was worried I would have trouble adjusting to the university system here but that has been the easiest of all. Although classes are intense, they are only during the morning and I then have the rest of the day to enjoy the city. I have been very lucky in making connections with the other students here; Qingdao University boasts quite a diverse range of students so I have made friends with Koreans, Thais, and even French students.
So far I have enjoyed all that Qingdao has to offer; China is definitely making a good impression on me. I cannot wait to move to Shanghai in the summer to continue making more connections, not only with people, but with China as a whole.
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