Hi fellow bloggers and followers!
My name is Carly and I am a mature aged student living in Canberra and I am studying via distance education. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Business (Finance) as I have been working in the financial services industry for the past 4 years as a paraplanner and have aspirations of becoming a financial advisor. Enrolling in university studies at the ripe old age of 33 has certainly had its challenges as the last time that I had undertaken anything close to study was back in high schools some 17 years ago! Having overcome most of these challenges, I decided that this semester it was time for some new ones and so I enrolled to study at Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics (JUFE) in Nangchang, China.
I had visited China on two previous occasions, once as a tourist and once on a short term international study program with CSU. Both times I had experienced such a culture shock as China is unlike another country I have visited in my travels, for example, not many Chinese residents speak English which makes basic tasks like ordering food an experience! I also found that China is very advanced in some industries such as construction but are also very underdeveloped in other industries such as agriculture. As a result of these experiences, I had developed a fascination for the country, it’s economy and industry and have wanted to return to China for longer period of time than my past visits to gain a better understanding of the Chinese culture and economy and to also, and most importantly, begin to learn to speak, write and understand the Chinese language as having Asian language skills is becoming an increasingly desirable employability attribute in the financial services industry.
My preparation for going on a student exchange was probably quite different to most other exchange students. As I have been working, living on my own and accumulating other responsibilities for some time now, a lot of planning, moving and consideration was involved in organising my big adventure. Firstly, I had to leave my job and therefore lose my steady income which was scary! I then needed to pack up my possessions, put them into storage, move out of the house I was renting, find foster care for my pet cat and practically already pack for my trip as I was going to live with friends until I left for China.
On 31 August, I departed Sydney for Guangzhou and then from Guangzhou through to Nanchang which located in Jiangxi province in south east China.
From the moment I landed at Nanchang airport, I knew that it was going to take some adjustment on my part in order settle into Chinese lifestyle as as soon as I switched on my phone to access my email to let my loved ones at home know that I had arrived safely, I discovered the most applications used in western society did not work in China. This included Google, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram and even WordPress!! This had changed sin my last visit! Not to worry I thought, I purchased a VPN before leaving Australia so I will just turn that on an all will be fine. No, the VPN application has also been censored! This was going to make it extremely difficult make contact back home and to write my blog posts. Fortunately I discovered that Hotmail, WeChat and Viber all worked so all was not lost and the awesome CSU Global team came to the rescue by agreeing to post my blog entries on my behalf!
Upon meeting my transfer guide I was transport to JUFE and shown to my room in the overseas students residence building. The international student building at JUFE is 8 stories high and has 248 rooms of which 158 are currently occupied by exchange students for all over the world. On the my floor I have 3 American guys, 2 American girls, 1 Polish girl, 1 Swedish girl, 2 Belgium girls, 2 German girls, 1 Austrian girl, 2 South Korean guys and 2 Ukrainian guys.
After initial introductions, my new friends and I have had a lovely time over the past couple of days exploring Nanchang city and its surrounds. We also visited Meiling Mountain Park which was lovely as I was able to see rice terraces up close for the first time! Although we also had to walk up lots of steep, small steps and cross an extremely scary swinging bridge!
Orientation and course selection are set for 6 September and then classes and the real work will begin!
Stay tuned for more of the chronicles of Carly in China!