Academic ExperienceTianshan Tianchi/ 'Heavenly lake of Tianshan', XinjiangMing Xiaoling Mausoleum, Nanjing

I studied "Advance Chinese classes" full time. My classes consisted of at least 4 hours per day of compulsory classes (listening, comprehensive, speaking and newspaper reading class) as well as the selection of many free option classes available (writing, calligraphy, international business, international relations etc). My classes usually comprised of about 20 students. In general, the teachers were all super supportive and willing to explain things again (especially as all my courses were taught in Chinese). Classes were usually fun, and discussed a lot of different cultural issues/current events both inside and outside of China. I indirectly learnt a lot about history and culture through taking the language courses, especially as all my classmates were also international students.

Initially I felt my level of Chinese was inadequate, however after some time (and a fair bit of effort) I adjusted and found great benefit in the classes I took.

Personal ExperienceMeihuashan/ 'Plum Blossom Mountain', Nanjing

I've gained so much from my time in China. Initially I was unsure whether or not I wanted to actually go, as I was completing a back-to-back exchange with my first semester being in Taiwan, but I'm so glad I went. Since my time in Taiwan was so great, I thought that nothing could compare to it, but I was wrong. Both experiences were so very different and amazing in their own ways.

I made so many great friends, tried so much great food, and had the best time!

AccommodationGobi Desert, DunhuangFreshly made bread with local, Xinjiang

I stayed in the dorms on-campus ( 曾宪梓楼/'Zengxianzi lou'). The dorms were super convenient, literally in the same building as my classes! The dorms were great for class and for meeting people, however there weren't any cooking facilities (but who cooks in China anyway?!).

The dorms were quite new and felt much like a hotel in terms of layout, so it was not as scary as typical Chinese dorms and pretty affordable by Western standards (approx $300 per month per person in double room-including internet utilities).

Professional Development & Employability

My Chinese has improved greatly, in addition to my general confidence, independence and problem solving skills. I also now have many new networks within Asia and globally.


My highlight was without a doubt my trip to western China, visiting Xinjiang Autonomous region and Gansu province. I can only now truly appreciate just how diverse China is. China is not only diverse in terms of geography, climate, but also very culturally diverse. Xinjiang and Gansu were unlike any other place in China I had been, at times it was hard to believe I was still in China. Both Xinjiang and Gansu are along the Silk Road. Xinjiang had picturesque lakes, snowcapped mountains, Yurts, and the best lamb of my life! On the other hand in Gansu, the neighbouring province, I was able to experience the greatness of the Gobi desert.

Another highlight was having the opportunity to meet people from all over the globe, including having a North Korean classmate.

Top Tips

Just do it! Expect the unexpected and go in with a positive attitude. Things may not always go to plan, but you can make the most out of it. Chances are things will be even better than imagined!

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