This is my first time travelling to China. Since it has such a big influence on Australia (people, immigration, food, economy, trade, politics…) so it made sense to me that I come over here to check it all out! I chose Guangzhou because it wasn’t one of the larger cities (Shanghai and Beijing), it’s in the South so it doesn’t get as cold in winter (I love the warmth) and I had heard that the environment (air quality and surroundings) is nicer than other cities. So here I am.
Before coming here I didn’t learn any Chinese at all. When I got off the plane and jumped on the airport transfer bus, the ticket man and driver both knew no English so this is when I knew I was in for a challenge. Having said that thought, it hasn’t been that hard to get by. I have used a translation app on my phone when I really need it and other times I have asked people to help translate. Most young people do know English so especially at uni you can just ask a random person to help and they always do (in my experience everyone has been very helpful!).
(Lunch with our Chinese buddy Dylan)
(My first dumplings in China – I’ve been back here multiple times)
(Hole-in-the-wall place to get lunch close to uni)
To me the culture shock from moving to Guangzhou hasn’t been too extreme at all. I have been to other Asian cities and in comparison to others like Bangkok and KL, Guangzhou is pretty “normal” and quiet “western”. Just feels like I’m wondering through Haymarket sometimes 🙂 I’m sure when I get out and explore the smaller villages this will change.
Getting ready to start classes at Sun Yat Sen was a very long process. I am based on the South Campus (the most beautiful!) and when I registered there were dorm rooms available but there were not good and many exchange students were looking for apartments to share. I found a couple of students to share with (a girl from the US and a guy from France) and we found an apartment on the 32 floor with views of the river and very close to uni.
The South Campus of Sun Yat Sun University is beautiful. It’s the size of a suburb. There are parks, lakes, sports fields, housing (for students, teachers and their extended families, lots of grandparents looking after babies), businesses, swimming pools, canteens, cafes, hotels and many different schools/colleges. I’m studying Level 1 Chinese in the School of Chinese as a Second Language.
As it is coming out of summer and the wet season here, the place is LUSH. Plants of all kinds are overgrown everywhere. In some places it’s like a magical, overgrown secret garden wonderland. Especially in the morning and afternoon when the sun is shining sideways through the trees. This morning, just as I was walking to my first class I noticed that there were gums trees outside my classroom.
If you are thinking of coming to Sun Yat Sen on exchange, feel free to contact me and I’ll fill you in with more details about the classes, accom etc… WeChat ID: rosef5 (WeChat is the Chinese version of Facebook – everyone has it!)
UTS #: 11852908