Hi everybody, how are you all doing? Today I would like to write another China post, one that regards students specifically who are about to journey to China as part of their studies. Quite recently I have received a number of notifications and emails regarding how China is like, how to prepare prior to travelling there, and what activities to do whilst being there. So I would like to give my own personal advice and recommendations to all those who fit in this category, however this will be quite useful to anyone travelling to China whether you are a student, worker or tourist.
Now for the students from the University of Nottingham getting ready to go to the Nottingham Ningbo University Campus I have a few prerequisites for you.
NOTE: Please make sure you have told your bank that you will be travelling to China.
If you happen to forget and try to take out money in China, you may find that your card will be blocked.
I would definitely advise you pack a coat along with some winter clothing. Many of us expected the weather to be warm/hot all year round but we soon realised we were wrong about that from around mid-November (Ningbo winter is quite similar to British winter, save the snow sometimes). If you are tight on space when packing then you can buy scarves, hats, gloves and a coat when you get there.
You will find that the pollution is quite bad and sometimes you might have to wear a clinical mask for your own safety.
The Chinese students are really friendly, and their English is quite good so whenever you need some assistance they will be able to do so even more than you would expect.
Food is really cheap, especially in the three canteens available on campus (about £1-£2 for a whole meal), with other independent cafes and restaurant on the university high street. Every evening from about 9pm, there is street food (so delicious!) available that is facilitated by the local people. Transport is very cheap too – 20p a bus ride, and around £1-£3 for taxis depending on where you go.
In the malls they have ZARA, H&M, Uniqlo, Massimo Dutti and Gap as the popular Western clothing shops and watch out for ZARA and H&M sales, they are really good! Makeup: Make sure you pack enough that will last you the whole year, as branded makeup is a tad more expensive and depending on your skin tone it will be virtually impossible to find a suitable match.
Make friends with other international students, participate in the activities that Issoc (international students society) plan, it’s a great way to socialise and make friends with others who have come from all over the world.
Volunteer – There are a lot of events that you can take part in and receive certificates for, such as taking part in the Ningbo’s International Fashion Fair and teaching.
Taobao! This website is the bomb! You can find so many great items, like literally everything for so cheap!! However make sure you translate the page as there is no English version. Plus you have to do a lot of research to find good shops as there are a lot of copycats! ( I think I will have to write a blog post about this in more detail)
Travel!! Make you have signed up for a travel grant with student finance, so that all your travels and health checks within China will be later reimbursed. When I was in China, I travelled around with societies and with friends. Hong Kong (Awesome place), Guangzhou (Food is amazing), Dali (Favourite place out of them all, and pending blog post) are some places I would recommend you visit. Places I didn’t manage to go to but also highly reccommend are Beijing, The Yellow Mountain and Xi’an.
Most important of them all is DO NOTforget tostudy, it’s so easy to regard your trip to China as a holiday and not put as much effort into your studies. Take full advantage of the library, computer rooms and study areas available on campus.
I hope I have covered them all, and please if you have further questions feel free to leave a comment down below or alternatively email me at firstname.lastname@example.org