Gareth is currently a student at Bournemouth University, and spent the summer of 2017 in Chengdu on the Immersion & Study Program.
Please describe your host family, their home and your accommodation?
My host family were extremely welcoming and very friendly, their home was very clean and I couldn’t have asked for a better home to live in!
What do you like most about China?
I enjoyed the food (delicious) and the people (very friendly) the most.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoyed exploring the city, the downtown shopping centre had a lot of interesting shops -particularly the book stores. I enjoyed visiting the culture/heritage sites such as the temples as well as the tourist destinations, such as the panda sanctuary.
How did your Mandarin improve?
My Mandarin has improved dramatically, I was fortunate enough to sit and pass HSK 2 during my time there.
Have you done any sightseeing, either in Chengdu or further afield? If so, what’s the best place you’ve been so far?
I was fortunate enough to visit Emei and Qingcheng Mountain as well as exploring much of Chengdu. Emei mountain was by far the most amazing place I visited.
What have you found to be the major cultural differences? Have you made any cultural faux-pas?
There are many cultural differences but most of them I didn’t find to be difficult to adapt to. However, I found there to be some disagreement around what time I was expected to come back to the house on my days off!
What were your expectations prior to starting your role? Has the experience matched your expectations?
The experience was extremely different from what I expected (in a positive way!). Although the days were sometimes very long I learnt a lot more about the culture than I anticipated.
What piece of advice would you offer to prospective applicants?
Have an open mind and expect to be overwhelmed but work through it as after settling in the experience is incredible.