I once thought moving to Edinburgh from Sandefjord, a tiny town in Norway would be a big transition – and it was! But now I am approaching a new go-abroad experience and I am still struggling to wrap my head around the idea that this time I’ll be spending it in the most populous country in the world. From 5.2 million to 1.3 billion people, the expectations of a year in China are beyond my imagination…
In the pursuit of exploring more of my Southeast Asian roots, I was thrilled to receive the offer for exchange at The University of Nottingham in Ningbo, China (UNNC). In the world’s fastest-growing economy, I really cannot think of a better place to further my International Business studies whilst immersing myself in a completely new culture. But for all I know I might just be in for the highest voltage of culture shock. “If you think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t been to China.” And that is exactly what I am looking forward to about my time abroad: China – and how it literally has anything to offer when I think I’ve seen it all.
As a Norwegian student in Edinburgh going on an exchange year, this whole experience feels like a déjà vu. The state of “too many emotions” re-haunts me like my first time moving away from home all by myself to a foreign country. Anxiety fills me up, but the fears of loneliness and feeling homesick are more distant this time. In a place where I am, literally, always surrounded by people from all corners of the world. I am really looking forward to become a part of the international community at UNNC, while also getting the opportunity to experience the Chinese local’s lifestyle first-hand. Hopefully I’ll return with a new language skill!
Ningbo is said to be home of nearly 8 million people, which not to forget is considerably less than the bigger cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Yet, that is already 3 million people more than the total population of my home country. I was used to empty shops and quiet streets by 8PM, so when I came to study in Edinburgh I was excited to see that 24/7 Scotmids existed and a “nightlife” living up to its name. Knowing that China hosts some of the best “cities that never sleeps”, I am already counting down nine million bicycles in Beijing: Needless to say that excitement is an understatement and I’m prepared for multiple overflows of adrenaline rush. Perhaps enough to walk the Great Wall of China? So bring it on, I can’t wait for the people, places, food and adventures that awaits!
Follow more of Martha’s time in China and her other travels on her blog – www.wayfarewith.me