A Year in China

By Andrew, GB
China Unlimited Europe 2015If you are in your late teens or twenties, and you are studying a degree programme, I personally don’t believe I could ever give you any better advice other than; live in China for at least one year of your life.

Here, in the UK, we live in a country saturated with binge drinking and images of glossy men and women with perfect bodies dipping their toes in the seas of Ibiza and Aiya Napa. My advice to you is; avoid these places, and invest (yes I said invest) in a trip to China. Please allow me to explain why I see it as an investment, by describing my year in China (one of the best years of my life).

When I touched down in China, it seemed quite dark and smoggy, I had been here before, but only for two weeks. This time, I’d arrived in Beijing again, but for a year of my life. Here, I would be studying, and trying my hardest to learn fluent Chinese. Before I had left, I had been prepared by two years of intensive Chinese learning, which I enjoyed thoroughly, as I found learning characters to be enjoyable, and I had confidence in the way in which I was taught, as I had read that UCLan was 7th out of 116 universities for Chinese studies at that time (today it is still 13th for East and South Asian Studies). So upon my arrival at Beijing, I felt nervous, yet confident.

Upon arrival, I was lucky enough to have been able to stay with my teachers parents for a short period, after this, I had found a vendor in the streets who arranged ‘home stays’ on the college campus, her son took me to the home of an elderly couple who I decided to stay with (for a small fee). I also had the daunting task of going to the university to register, which was intimidating, but I found other foreigners who were more than willing to help.

During these first six months, I spent all of my time studying, and working part-time in a Chinese office where I had been lucky enough to find a job. I avoided all contact with English speakers and spent the majority of my time speaking Chinese. There were a mix of nationalities in our class, but my close friends were a Japanese guy, a girl from the Philippines, and Two North Koreans. I was so happy to have been able to meet people from North Korea, and I was surprised at how open they were, the whole class, however, was always careful not to ask questions about their home county (I later learnt that their government didn’t allow them to carry cell phones whilst out in China).

After six months of working extremely hard whilst straining to continuously improve my Chinese, I must admit, I began to flag, most likely suffering from burn-out, but this was the part were China became magical.

During this period, I began to open up to English speakers, which is usually a no-no. I began to go to bars, I moved to my own flat minutes away from the 24/7 coffee shops, books stores, and nightclubs, for a really cheap price. I would spend my days reading in the coffee shop and my evenings drinking in the bars, although I wouldn’t exactly recommend drinking, the aspect of socialising with foreigners and English speakers was absolutely brilliant, I encourage everybody to try it. I would go out most nights, and could walk in to any bar and find a friend. Even if I didn’t, people were so friendly that I could sit at a random table and make friends. During these last six months I met people from the majority of countries around the world, and it was fantastic hearing stories about their own culture and language and their life experiences. I learnt bits of many languages, and found every conversation to be incredibly enriching.

I made a large group of good friends and we really enjoyed China together whilst also studying. We won a Laser Quest competition, we went to a beach party under the moonlight at the end of the Great Wall, we went to an organised party on an abandoned disused Russian aircraft carrier, we visited the far out sections of the Great Wall and landmarks closer to home (Such as the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace), we sang karaoke together and had surprise parties in one another’s flats, I even joined a football team in an organised league, becoming friends with its owner, all the while enjoying ourselves whilst still grabbing any opportunity to practice Chinese.

These are my experiences, and 1000 words cannot do justice as to why it was the best year of life, but let me summarise why China is so attractive: China is full of things to do for little cost, it is also full of new people to meet who will have a similar mind set to you, people who are brave and adventurous, people interested in new cultures and new languages, people a similar age to you. Everything is cheap, from alcohol to food, and China is such a vibrant place that you really do not need to drink to feel like you’re having the time of your life.

I can only speak for Beijing, but any trip to China will have its unique side. Friends who went to far out areas, such as Gulin, told me that it was so relaxing and amazing sitting in the middle of the country side, taking in the amazing views, whereas friends who went to Shanghai told me about experience were similar to mine in Beijing.

Whatever you do in China, accept that it will be daunting, but also accept you could genuinely be about to experience one of the best years of your life.

Andrew G. Lakin

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “You just don’t know if the oil price will be 20$ or 100$ in the next 2-3 years!” top Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff underscores from Davos

What we take for granted: The EU is not perfect

IMF: How can Eurozone avoid stagnation

Close to 7,000 evacuated from Syrian towns after enduring nearly 3-year siege

Is Eurozone preparing to abandon austerity and stagnation?

Force used against protestors in Gaza ‘wholly disproportionate’ says UN human rights chief

The rise of alternative medical practices in modern sports

Look Mom, even the House of Lords says the #righttobeforgotten is not right

EU: 13 major banks may pay fines 10% of worldwide turnover

Car clocking: MEPs call for new legislation to combat odometer fraud

10th ASEM in Milan and the importance of being one: EU’s big challenge on the way to China

The EU Commission fails to draw the right conclusions about corruption

Does research make sense any more? The dire need for new ways to measure success

EU leads the torn away South Sudan to a new bloody civil war

China’s cities are rapidly becoming more competitive. Here’s why

JADE Testimonial #3: Sebastian @ Fundraising

Draghi will not hesitate to zero ECB’s basic interest rate

Travel the world, find yourself

The Franco-German axis considers that all EU needs now is more armaments

Trump goes ahead with plan to undo globalization; targets China and EU

We’ll succeed together

The Bavarians threaten Berlin and Brussels with immigration crisis

Mobile 360 Series – Russia & CIS: Empowering the Digital Economy

Rights experts call for greater protection of indigenous people during migration

Mental health of health professionals: the alter ego

The ECB ‘accidentally’ followed IMF‘s policy advice for growth and job creation by printing more money

UN, Egypt help avert another Israel-Palestine war in Gaza that was ‘minutes away’, Security Council hears

Bankruptcy or referendum: which one is going to be first?

Samsung’s profits fall as cheaper smartphones gain market share

Europe should make voice ‘more heard’ in today’s ‘dangerous world,’ says UN chief

Can Kiev make face to mounting economic problems and social unrest?

FEATURE: Niger’s girls find sanctuary in fistula treatment centres

Is the EU denying its social character favouring a banking conglomerate?

Facebook and Google to treat Europe as the 51st State of the USA

Why Eurozone can afford spending for growth

Let’s Learn

IMF v Germany: Eurogroup keeps the fight under control

Military escalation will have ‘serious consequences’ for Yemeni civilians, warns UN Special Envoy

Brexit Update: EU endorses unprecedented compromise to help Cameron out of the referendum mess he got himself into

Commission presents far-reaching anti-tax evasion measures

Merkel, Mercedes and Volkswagen to abolish European democracy

Trying to cure bank cancer with analgesics

EU elections: The louder the threats and the doomsaying the heavier the weight of the vote

Resolving banks with depositors’ money?

CDU-SPD agree the terms for EU’s Banking Union

What would happen if we removed cars from cities?

GSMA announces first speakers for Mobile 360 Series-Middle East and North Africa

Discovering Europe: Free EU rail pass for 18 year olds

Heat-resistant crops, ‘green’ infrastructure, can prepare Near East and North Africa to better tackle droughts – UN agency

Lagarde’s metamorphoses, not a laughing matter

JADE @ European Business Summit 2014: Youth Unemployment – a drive to Entrepreneurship

It’s not kids’ screen time you should worry about – it’s yours

VW emissions scandal: EU unable to protect its consumers against large multinationals

Lithuania should find its own way in the EU

The Commission sees ‘moderate recovery’ but prospects deteriorate

20th EU-China Summit in Beijing, 16/07/2018

6 ways to ensure AI and new tech works for – not against – humanity

New UN agriculture agency report underscores value of fishing in fight against global hunger

What the world will look like after the Iran and 5+1 deal; the US emerges as major power broker in Middle East

Press conference by EC Vice-Presidents Valdis Dombrovskis (left) and Jyrki Katainen, on the Commission's proposals in the framework of the financial union (Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: EU, 2018 / Photo by Georges Boulougouris)

EU Finance ministers agree on new banking capital rules and move closer to Banking Union

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s