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

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Uzbekistan wins its long fight against malaria, as global rates continue to rise

American negotiators can’t pay for their trip to Brussels, EU-US trade agreement freezes

Human rights: breaches in Russia, the Rakhine State and Bahrain

Parliament in favour of lifting visa requirements for Kosovars

Countering illegal hate speech online – EU Code of Conduct ensures swift response

Supermarket supply chains are driving poverty and inequality. We can do better

GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Latin America, in association with The European Sting

Road injuries leading cause of death for the young, despite safety gains: UN report

Hostilities in Syria’s southwest, mean cuts in vital aid across Jordanian border: Senior UN official

Sustainable development demands a broader vision, says new OECD Development Centre report

‘Passport to dignity’ that schools represent may expire fast, without emergency funding warns UN Palestine refugee agency

3 natural mysteries that could be explained by quantum physics

Here are 5 of the biggest threats to our oceans, and how we can solve them

From Grexit to Brexit: UK industry now says the in/out referendum is good for your health

UN chief condemns air strike that hit school bus in northern Yemen, killing scores of children

New EU rules ensure better protection for 120 million holidaymakers this summer

The West and Russia impose a new order on the world

War of words in Davos over Eurozone’s inflation/deflation

Low quality healthcare is increasing the burden of illness and health costs globally

Gender equality and medicine in the 21st century: an equity unachieved

The European Agenda on Migration: EU needs to sustain progress made over the past 4 years

US-North Korea summit in Singapore ‘a promising development’ says Guterres

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Globally, youth are the largest poverty-stricken group, says new UN report

How can consumers be effectively protected from insurance sellers?

Idea of ‘homogenous’ Polish culture is a myth: UN human rights expert

The West and Russia accomplished the dismembering and the economic destruction of Ukraine

The success story of a Chinese investment in the Greek port of Piraeus

Stricter rules and tougher sanctions for market manipulation and financial fraud

Is there a de facto impossibility for the Brexit to kick-start?

EU to Google: How to dismantle European search engines in 13 steps

Is euro to repeat its past highs with the dollar?

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo conflict zone ‘remains dangerous and unpredictable’ – UN chiefs

5 ways to go green in your own kitchen

Taliban-led violence during recent Afghan polls leaves record high numbers of civilians dead – UN

Banks cannot die but can be fined

MWC 2016 LIVE: Under Armour learns from “robust community of data”

An introduction to ‘Eco-Medical Literacy’ and its importance in shaping expert medical professionals

Egypt: The road to hell paved with western advices for democracy

How many more financial crises in the West can the world stand?

EU migration crisis again accentuates lack of unity and solidarity among member states

JADE Romania Celebrates the 4th Anniversary

Mainland Europe adopts Germanic cartel business patterns

YO!Fest back in Strasbourg for the 2nd edition of the European Youth Event – 20-21 May 2016

Superconductors: the miracle materials powering an energy revolution

ECB embarks on the risky trip to Eurozone banking universe

Much more than a ‘lifeline’ for millions of households, remittances can spur global growth, says UN agency

Safer products: stepping up checks and inspections to protect consumers

The Ultimate Career Choice: General Practice Specialist

Why the world is not as globalized as you think

Should tech companies pay us for our data?

Commission Vice-President Rehn exaggerates Eurozone’s growth prospects

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

Another doomed EU attempt to interfere in Libya?

3 lessons from India in creating equal access to vaccines

Access still an obstacle to reaching stricken communities on Indonesian island: UN agencies

Biggest London City Banks ready to move core European operations to Frankfurt or Dublin?

Mobile World Congress 2015 first to debate EU’s new stance on Net Neutrality and Roaming Charges

With 10 million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine’, donors pledge $2.6 billion

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: Banking moguls continue brandishing financial Armageddon to intimidate us all but in Davos they worry about the very distant future

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