From February until July 2018, a group of eight exchange students came to study at UIC. They came from the UK, the USA, Canada, as well as Germany. Below are some of the exchange student’s experiences during their stay.

Robbie 1

 

Marina Que
Concordia College, USA

My name is Marina Que and I am a third year student from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota studying International Business and Chinese. Coming to Zhuhai, I had some idea of what the weather would be like because I had previously visited the Philippines, but beyond that I had no idea what to expect. All my classmates and professors were so welcoming and helpful, especially during my first few weeks in China. I know a little bit of Chinese, but having help ordering food and finding new places to eat near UIC was really nice.

Marina Que 2

UIC was different from my home university because professors didn't assign very much homework, so I had more time to explore Zhuhai and the area around UIC. There was a little bit more pressure to do well and study hard, but I had a little bit of an advantage because I am a native English speaker. I found that when professors assigned group projects, unless professors assigned groups, everyone wanted to be in a group with me.

During my time in China, I was able to travel to Chengdu, Xi‘an, Guangzhou, and Guilin. I loved visiting Xi’an because there was so much history all over the city. We visited the old city wall and biked around it at sunset. It was so beautiful to watch the city light up at night. One of my favourite parts of attending university in China was it allowed me to go and visit my family that lives in South East Asia. My aunt and uncle live in Singapore, so I was able to spend several days with them over the labour day holiday. In fact, when I returned from Singapore I had to race through immigration in Gongbei and run to catch my train back to Tangjiawan.

I will miss my friends and professors at UIC, the delicious Chinese food, and getting to explore China. I loved my time at UIC and I hope to come back to China in the future!

 

Mario Pezelj
Pforzheim University, Germany

My name is Mario and I am an industrial engineering student from Pforzheim University in Germany. With the expectation of having a cultural experience in China I went to UIC. And as I can say my expectations were more than reached. I had the opportunity to learn and explore the Chinese culture.

Mario 1

UIC offers a lot of opportunities to get in contact with the Chinese students and to learn from each other. UIC campus is modern and brand new which makes living on it very convenient.

A good method to explore China is to travel. We did a lot of traveling through China and visited many places and cities. My favourite one is Xi'an. Also Zhuhai is a very nice city to spend some time. All in all I can say that I had a perfect time at UIC and I hope I can come back to China again.

 

Robert Carrick Smith
Swansea University, UK

China has loads to offer culturally speaking. From the places I’ve seen in China it is clear to see how diverse the cultures are in China. From the Great Wall that separated the historical Mongol Empire from the Chinese; to the Panda sanctuary in Chengdu. It was great to see so much of China and experience such a different culture. I was particularly impressed by the Buddhist temples we saw and how present Buddhism is in the regions we visited.

Robbie 2

In terms of UIC, everyone has been really friendly and welcoming to us. I’ve made lots of new friends who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. The food in China was very interesting, but I soon became to really enjoy it. I think enjoying the food and trying so many new things like cattle stomach or chicken feet is important to immerse yourself in the culture and really appreciate everything that a new culture has to offer. Studying politics in China is interesting to see the different styles of learning.

 

Ciaran Foley
Swansea University, UK

What else can I say other than, it’s been brilliant. I genuinely cannot put my experience in UIC and China as a whole into words that accurately convey how much I have enjoyed it. From day one the staff and students at the International Development Office (IDO) and UIC have been ridiculously friendly and supportive of me and the other international students.

Ciaran 1

Of the many trips we have gone on, whether they be arranged by the IDO, like the hot springs and the Opera House for example, or arranged by us directly, like Xi’an and Beijing for instance, the IDO, their student volunteers, the lecturers at UIC, our classmates and our roommates have all expressed an interest in our activities and have offered us help should we need it.

But what of our activities themselves? We’ve seen pandas, climbed mountains, cycled the length of city walls, experienced the nightlife and visited many a historical site. This truly was, and is, a once in a lifetime experience and no one can say that we haven’t made the most of it.

 

Hannah Hoeger
Hamline University, USA

Although I was born in China I was brought up in American culture and never had the opportunity to explore my Chinese heritage. Therefore, I came to China to learn more about the culture, people, and language. My experience at UIC has been filled with adventures and the students and staff have been very welcoming. I've traveled to Macao, Hong Kong, Taipei, Guilin and around Guangdong. My favourite trip was to Hunan’s Zhangjiajie where I got to see the Halleluiah mountains. I also got my food stolen by a monkey there! After this semester I plan on going to Yunnan.

Hannah 1

One of the most memorable moments was when I got to visit the Welfare Center that I grew up in Dongguan and that was an amazing experience. My favourite part of China has been the food, and I love listening to traditional Chinese music, such as the erhu. I have found common interests with other Chinese students in TV shows such as, Eternal Love.

It's the small things that bring up memories of China when I was a child, such as the smell of Plumeria and the taste of lychee. I'm thankful for my experiences in China and I can't wait to come back.

Photographs supplied by students
Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He (MPRO)
(with thanks to IDO and the ELC)

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