Ryan is currently a student at Loughborough 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 was a young family and demonstrated the new China with more liberal, open thinking then before, yet still a deep sense of tradition. My host dad and host mum were both early 30’s, with two children (6 & 4). The grandma and two nanny’s also lived with us. Their house was unreal, living in LuxeHillls, very spacious and couldn’t have asked for better.
What do you like most about China?
The energy and ‘buzz’ of the country is something to marvel at, yet the openness of the Chinese to welcome you as one of their own is what truly struck me. This doesn’t only apply to your family, as often i would try to speak Chinese with locals and all were more than interested and went above and beyond to help me.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I went to the local swimming pool. If in town I met up with other people in the course and did many things; including movie, tattoo parlour, bars, clubs etc
How do you rate your Mandarin course? Is your Mandarin improving?
My course exceeded all expectations, with one on one teaching.
Have you done any sightseeing, either in Chengdu or further afield? If so, what’s the best place you’ve been so far?
Have to recommend seeing Jingli street, but perhaps their annual car show was one of my stand outs
What have you found to be the major cultural differences? Have you made any cultural faux-pas?
A major cultural difference was that the Chinese are very spontaneous and don’t often keep you fully informed or tell you plans in advance. If you are not open minded or hate having unstructured days then this may prove difficult. Open-minded approach is a must for this program.
What were your expectations prior to starting your role? Has the experience matched your expectations?
I had no expectations having never been in china. A mix of excitement and uncertainty was all i can remember. My experience exceeded my expectations in every way.
What piece of advice would you offer to prospective applicants?
Smiling and being friendly can never be underestimated. Keep open-minded, especially with the food. I ate everything I was given and soon enjoyed eating all the Sichuan food. However, a colleague did not throw herself at the food and as a result even at the end of the course still found mealtimes un-enjoyable.