As 8 of us woke up a week ago, slightly bleary-eyed and indeed some of us not sleeping at all because of excitement – we made our way for the airport, to begin our adventure in the Far East.
Hangzhou, China was the destination for what is set to be a four and a half month cultural exchange at the Zhejiang University of Media and Communication. On that morning we said goodbye to our friends and families, and hello to a new chapter in our lives that we hoped would not only shape our professional futures, but our general social and cultural lives too.
As Chynna Ashley writes:
“A week has already passed since we arrived in China and it has literally been a whirlwind. The fact that we have done so much in a little amount of time, leaves the mind to wonder exactly how much this country has to offer.
This week has been like a holiday, from going out to eat at restaurants to visiting the West Lake and going to the theatre. I think we’ll only allow ourselves this treat now because next Tuesday we have our first class, which I enter with great trepidation because although I’m excited it will be a bit daunting as well.
To be honest, I still can’t believe that I’m here in the flesh, walking, sitting, doing whatever in China. It’s still like one massive dream and I fear someone will just pinch me and I’ll wake up back in my bed in the familiar settings of Coventry. This week has been amazing and I cannot wait to see what’s coming for me next. KTV, the local karaoke bar is definitely something I’ll be revisiting… despite me not being able to sing my way out of a paper bag.”
Kallista Ayotunde Omotosho also commented on the vast array of activities we have been involved with since our arrival.
“This first week in China has definitely been an interesting one.
Within this week I’ve gone to the Theatre to see the English version of ‘Romance in the Western Chambre’ where it was an interesting experience to say the least and I also experienced my first karaoke night at K-TV which was rather embarrassing as well as amusing.
We’ve visited so many restaurants here in Hangzhou and ‘mantou’ is now my favourite snack! We’ve even been to a Japanese restaurant where I was able to taste sushi for the first time. It was lovely! I’m going back to that restaurant tomorrow. My chopstick skills have improved!! My hands are getting so used to using chopsticks that I have a feeling it will be difficult to use a knife and fork when I return to the UK.”
So far we have all experienced things we never thought we would, and are enjoying our time in China immensely. We hope that our adventure will continue in the same vein that it has begun.