Travel

Student in a Strange Land: Study China

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Study China is a programme open to UK undergraduate and postgraduate students which is designed to grant successful candidates a unique insight into China, its language and culture. Funded by the department of Business and Innovation, Study China offers successful applicants 3 weeks tuition and accommodation at a Chinese university as well as organising a selection of cultural trips and activities for participants.

I, along with around 80 other British students, was based at the prestigious Zhejiang University in Hangzhou. With 40 scheduled hours of language tuition our academic itinerary was intense. Despite the difficulties getting to grips with the language, the excitement of a local understanding our broken attempts at mandarin made all our hours in the classroom worthwhile.  I also studied a module exploring social change in relation to Chinese media which was particularly interesting considering that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked in the country.

Despite our busy itinerary, we made the most of being in such a famous province of China. It wasn’t hard to see why the district was labelled by Marco polo as ‘heaven on earth’. From visiting the famous West Lake to trekking up Mount Mogan, we definitely made the most of our stay in Zhejiang. Our exploring wasn’t just restricted to appreciating the natural beauty of the region; the city of Hangzhou came alive at night. From bustling street markets to trendy clubs and bars, we enjoyed the cheap drinks and experienced Hangzhou’s nightlife well… even if this did often make attending our 9am mandarin classes or 8am morning exercise classes more of a challenge! We also arranged to stay in the dynamic city of Shanghai at weekends where we spent our time exploring shops, temples and rooftop bars.

After our three weeks in Zhejiang was over and after emotional leaving ceremony with teachers and other students, I travelled to Beijing with some friends to spend my last few days in China. From riding Tuc Tuc’s to eating the world famous Peking duck, the capital didn’t disappoint. I even got to visit the iconic Great Wall which was incredible.

As one of the world’s most influential superpowers, understanding Chinese culture and learning mandarin has never been more relevant or interesting. Study China offers students a unique insight into the country’s fascinating history, amazing cities, people and culture. I couldn’t recommend the trip enough to any student who has a desire to experience a new culture.

Many universities have grants and funding available for students to help with the costs of the programme – even more reason to apply!

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