Year Abroad | First Time in China

In Shanghai Many of you might not be aware that since February this year, I was spending the second part of my year abroad in Ningbo,...

Year Abroad | First Time in China
In Shanghai

Many of you might not be aware that since February this year, I was spending the second part of my year abroad in Ningbo, China. Something that might possibly explain my lack of posts in the last few months (China blocks the access of blogger.com, so I couldn't actually login to my account). Although, there was a way around that, which is by purchasing VPN which I did but I only had VPN and internet on my mobile phone because I find the process of getting wifi in China too complicated and confusing, so I never actually sorted it out. Nonetheless, I borrowed internet which was why I managed to squeezed out a couple of posts since February. 

Year Abroad | First Time in China
In Shanghai
Anyway, my first experience of China was a very interesting one. I arrived in China at Shanghai airport alone after 11 and half hours flight. I met my friend and other year abroad students at the airport whilst we waited for university coach to come and pick us up and take us to Ningbo. The coach journey was very long and tiring but I got to see glimpses of the inequality in China as passes rundown buildings on our way to campus.

Year Abroad | First Time in China
Night light in Shanghai
When I finally got to campus, I thought that the university was going to take us to our room and let us sleep because many of us have been travelling for hours but I was greeted with snow and having to drag my suitcases to international office to be register. When I finally got to my room, it was another problem which was I couldn't figure out how to heat up my room since the aircon's remote is in Chinese. Furthermore, I had no idea how to use the water heater, I was used to getting in the shower and having the water already heated. So I ended having a cold shower and washed my hair in that same cold water, returning to my room to aircon blowing out cold air. Being delirious from exhaustion, I thought the aircon will heat up soon but it didn't. Needless to say, it wasn't the most comfortable night in my life.

Year Abroad | First Time in China
Xintiandi in Shanghai
After that initial uncomfortable period, things got a lot better as I have a friend there that introduced me to many of her other friends, which made my China's experience a lot more enjoyable. However, I still have to say that living in China with little ability to speak Chinese is rather difficult. I mostly got by by looking at the menu, pointing and saying "wo yao zhe ge" which means "I want this one" or I go to eat with friends that have better Chinese skill than me. Although, because I look very Chinese, I often get mistaken for being Chinese so people would often speak to me in very fast Chinese or sometimes if I'm with obviously foreign friend who speaks better Chinese than me but sometimes the Chinese people do not understand him, they will look at me for translation and I'm just like "I haven't got a clue". They will just look at me and get very confused and say to other people "why is she not speaking Chinese?". 

Year Abroad | First Time in China
Road in Shanghai
Ningbo is a lot of better than I expected because I have heard of many people said that Ningbo is very boring but since I was living in pretty much the countryside for many years (ehhh, hello England), Ningbo was pretty much exciting for me. I was also quite happy that Ningbo has many restaurants that I didn't actually had to cook at all since I went to China (such a change from my first semester in Spain). However, one thing I hate about China is the shopping because all the shops have too many sales assistants coming up to you and following you everywhere. I just don't like the hard sell approach which meant I got to do very little shopping. Forgot to mention another thing I really despise is that people in China seems to spit/smoke everywhere and all the time. What is up with that?!

Year Abroad | First Time in China
In Shanghai
Having said that, my China experience had been absolutely wonderful by the people I have met there. Even though, I didn't take advantage of being in China by doing a lot of travelling since I only had the weekend free but it was filled with me trying to catch up with a whole semester worth of Chinese, which by the way, did not happen. However, I managed to go to Shanghai twice because it was fairly close to Ningbo, just an hour train ride away but if I was there alone I probably wouldn't have gone because travelling in China, requires a certain level of Chinese which I didn't have, so I am very thankful to have someone by my side (you might already know this, if you follow me on instagram: @wanischaaa). 

Year Abroad | First Time in China
In Hong Kong - Ferry to Macau

I've left mainland China earlier this June, since then I have travelled to Hong Kong, Macau and the Philippines. If you want to hear more about my experiences in these places, follow me on Instagram for updates (@wanischaaa). 
What are you guys doing this summer?


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