Before my trip to China I did not know what to expect from such a unique country. From the day we arrived we were immersed into the fascinating Chinese culture. During our stay we were privileged to experience not only modern day China but also its historical cultural roots. Enriching academic experiences including museum tours and academic talks were intertwined seamlessly with incredible cultural experiences such as sampling the famous Chengdu ‘hotpot’ and creating our own tea. These experiences are so memorable as they were shared not only with my fellow UOB students but also new friends from the American and Chinese student cohorts.
Most memorable moments
Each day provided a wealth of new experience and knowledge. However, I will always remember that feeling of accomplishment when myself and Myda finally reached the peak of Qingcheng Mountain following a tough walk of battling altitude sickness. The views of the surrounding valleys were breathtaking and the architecture of the temple set into the mountain was truly fascinating. The support of my colleague and friend were vital in this accomplishment.
This theme of friendship continued throughout the trip as I began to create new bonds with Chinese and American students alike. A moment I particularly remember is during the student exchange session with some of The Sichuan University and The University of Connecticut students. Being able to hear more about both their academic and home lives was very insightful as we were able to draw upon our similarities and talk through some of our cultural differences whilst forming new friendships.
What I have gained
I believe this has been a truly wholesome experience. We were provided with an astounding range of opportunities to really become immersed in all aspects of Chinese culture. Through these experiences I have developed my teamwork skills. We each had a role to play within both the UOB and The UIP teams and through effective teamwork we were able to prepare presentations, create an information brochure and navigate our way around Chengdu safely.
In addition communication and adaptability were vital in order to handle schedule changes, potential language barriers or differences in personality.
Most of all this experience has portrayed the utmost importance of effective international collaboration for progression in the scientific community and beyond.