I participated in China International Summer Program, winter 2015. This reflection will outline my overall experience and my learnings throughout the program.
The whole trip was a big challenge for me but more than that it was so much fun. I started my journey about two weeks prior to the commencement of the program and finished my journey about two weeks after the closure of the program. For me, China was a complete new experience and environment, as I had never travelled to China before so I thought it would be good to get familiar with the new environment before starting the program. That was one of the reason why I decided to travel couple of weeks early to Shanghai than the scheduled program in Guangzhou and I believe travelling to Shanghai prior to the commencement of the program really helped me to understand the people and their cultural differences, it also helped me build more interest about Chinese culture and Chinese language.
Knowing that I will be studying Chinese language soon as part of this program, I started to learn Mandarin language by myself, it helped me to easily grasp and learn the language at the program while I was studying the language as part of our study course. Communicating with the local people in Shanghai was very fun and unique experience. I bought a small Mandarin language pocket dictionary which helped me quickly learn the ‘survival language’. I believe Mandarin language is quite a complex language to learn, there are different tones for the same word and they all mean something completely different. It was great experience trying all those tones with the waitress in a restaurant.
The program itself in Guangzhou was very educational but it was also enjoyable at the same time. Chinese language class was my favourite class, I liked it more than studying Chinese business studies. All the teachers were good and supportive. Other than studies, we participated in other fun activities such as indoor team games, visiting other cities, visiting companies etc. I met a lot of students participating in the same program coming from all different parts of the world. I made many new friends and even though I am back in Sydney now, I am still keeping the contact with them.
Another thing I should talk about is food. Food in China is very different to western food. Many times the food was pretty spicy but coming from Indian background I was able to enjoy the spicy food as well. I really liked the variety of food that was available wherever we go in China. Trying different types of food such as snails, octopus, pigeons etc. was an exciting adventure.
Overall, this whole summer program experience was very overwhelming, educational and fun. I would love to take part in a similar program in future.