Exchange

First Week at UNNC

It’s been exactly a week since I’ve arrived at the University of Nottingham Ningbo and I’m pretty sure I’ve gained about 10kg. My lifestyle is so unhealthy but it’s so much cheaper to go to the canteen/restaurants to eat than to buy food and cook yourself – especially since I don’t have a fridge. I really need to start working out to balance out this lifestyle otherwise I’m going to return to Sydney a dumpling.

Tomorrow, university finally begins and I’m not going to lie, I’m actually kind of looking forward to it? Probably because I haven’t been back to uni for about 4 months and I’m starting to go out of my mind without some sort of structure in my life. Most exchange students here have been partying every night but I really just don’t think that lifestyle is for me (lol) so I’ve been having a pretty mundane lifestyle of lying in my bed, skyping tc/family and trying to figure out the mess that is unnc’s timetables/modules. Truly a wild college dorm life I’m having.

UNNC’s registration and timetabling process has really made me miss UNSW since despite everything, it was so much more efficient and smooth than here. Registration started at 9am on Thursday but even though I arrived around 10 minutes past 9, the line was already out of the door. There were about 4-5 stations you had to go through to complete registration and for some reason they thought having 2 people at the very first station was a good idea? Why?

How fast can 2 people process hundreds of international students – think I was in line for nearly an hour and there was no wifi either, I wanted to cry.

And the timetables – at UNSW you just select the subjects you want to enrol in, select the times of classes you want and then the computer does up a timetable for you. At UNNC, they don’t even confirm the modules you want to take with you – sure you list them down during the ioms application process but how do I know that everything is approved and everything can be taken without clashes? I had to end up going to academic services to confirm that I was enrolled in all my modules for the year and I found out to figure out my timetable, I’m meant to search up all my modules on the timetable portion of the website and just follow that? And they’re also meant to allocate you into seminar groups which I?? have not?? been notifedi?? of?? yet?? Very 麻烦.

I suppose one of the good thing with UNNC is that they are nice enough to have bank cards & accounts prepared for you for when you arrive. The bad thing is, they don’t have your cards and accounts activated and so you need to do it yourself and they make it seem super simple – at the same place you receive it – there are people from the bank there to activate it. However, when I tried to activate it, they were too busy, when I returned in the afternoon to activate it, the machine was broken. So I thought – no worries, I’ll just return the following week because the people from the bank will be back there – but what they forget to tell you is that to activate your bank card you need your original passport but to also apply for a residence permit (which you need if you’re on an X1 VISA), you need to give in you passport which they hold onto for about a month. Conveniently, the residence permit was yesterday so I had to run to the bank yesterday to activate my bank card, then buy my internet package (which you also need your passport for) before heading to apply for my residence permit. Thanks uni – nearly was stuck with no money and no internet for the next month.

Anyway, moving along – I’ve met lots of really nice international students and also have met some really lovely people in my building!! Unfortunately there is a severe lack of Australians but I was kind of already expecting that. Building 11 (being the single dorm building) is quite lonely but if you like your own space then I would recommend it since I’ve heard Building 18/20 (the shared accommodation building) has parties nearly every night, and while you do make friends easier, that party lifestyle is really not for me.

Now, moving along to today – Vis-a-vis, the international students organisation(?), organised a city tour for the international students. I’m thinking it would’ve been a lot more successful if the weather wasn’t so bad today! It was raining the entire day which made walking around really difficult and we only went to about 3 places? For some reason, the first place was this museum and while it was a very nice museum, it really could’ve been easily walked around in about 30 minutes but we were there from 9 – 1:15. 4…hours….

I feel like I’ve complained a lot about UNNC but it’s really just the registration and admin part that really frustrates me especially since I’m so used to UNSW’s way of doing things but like my friend says, UNNC is still a relatively new university so they’re always improving with each semester (I think). Before I came I read so many blog posts and watched so many videos and was so nervous about so many of the inefficiencies that might happen (eg. ethernet cord in dorm rooms, have to buy some sort of phone to access internet, sim cards won’t work, overbooking of dorm rooms etc etc.) but none of these things have actually happened and UNNC has seemed to really improved from before.

I’m going to conclude my post now with 2 photos of today’s city tour before my rants do start getting out of control (only 2 because that’s all my wifi/vpn has allowed me to upload – this has taken me over an hour, pls appreciate). I have a health check tomorrow morning and we need to leave at 7am on the dot which means 6am wake up (I cry). The internet is still very slow in my room because I’m still using the free UNNC wifi that runs until the 15th and the vpn is a joke. That’s it for today – I think I’ll do a small dorm tour next post? Not that I think anyone is really reading this but I still want a memory of it maybe even 5 – 10 years down the track.

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First stop of the city tour

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The kids were drawing the pagoda (?) in front – so cute!

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Exchange

Hello Ningbo

It’s been 2 days since I’ve arrived at the UNNC campus and so far it’s been going really well! Fingers crossed it stays this way.

I had a pretty terrible plane trip over due to lack of sleep on the Sydney – Guangzhou leg of the trip. I think I only got around maybe 3 – 4 hours of sleep? And then the 6 hour layover made me even more tired. And the weather here – oh man, going from a pretty rainy but nice temperatures of 18 – 20 degrees in Sydney to hot and sticky and very humid 30 degree weather in Ningbo was…not my favourite thing. By the time I arrived at Ningbo airport I was tired and felt super gross.

Anyway! I was super lucky to have met this lovely girl called Sue who picked me up at the airport and bless this girl – she has spent the last 2 days with me, keeping me company for lunch & dinner since she is my only friend HAHA. She even helped me settle into my dorm room and helped me get a sim card as well and we also managed to get along really well despite knowing each other for less than 2 days which is really nice.

I think it’s always nice to meet people that you seem to be able to have really easy conversations and it also feels like I’ve known her much longer than just 2 days. Tl;dr: Just really glad to have met her as a friend here at UNNC.

I’ve also managed to buy most of the necessities needed and I spent most of the morning wiping down everything since it was super dusty. I’ll include pictures in maybe a later post when I’ve spruced up my room a little bit – I showed a few friends my dorm and someone told me my bed looked really sad, so I guess I need to make a trip to buy some colour to make it prettier?! I think Sue is going to take me to Wanda Plaza/Walmart in the new 2 days so I’ll buy a few more necessities and household items then. In the meantime I have 2 photos to share – one is of the ‘Trent Building'(?), I think it’s meant to be an imitation of the UK one and the other is the view from my dorm! Also think I got pretty lucky with my dorm location so feeling quite blessed and happy these past 2 days.

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UNNC’s Trent Building

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The view from my balcony

Our official international student welcome program and registration starts Thursday so hopefully I’ll get to meet lots more people then! I’m off to bed now – it’s nearly 12am here which means it’s actually 2 in Sydney (although that really shouldn’t make a difference to me since I sleep at 2/3 anyway hahah).

One of Sue’s close friends is arriving at the campus tomorrow so she said we’ll all go out for lunch which is super lovely of her ^_^

I’m enjoying my time at UNNC so far – till next time, 再见!

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Pre-Exchange

It’s Tomorrow!

I can’t believe the time is finally here – it only really feels like yesterday that I was submitting the application for exchange and finding out I was nominated for UNNC. How has time flew by so quickly?! It’s been just over 8 months since I found out my nomination which makes me think that perhaps 10 months might not be so long after all?

I’m still quite nervous about everything and I’m hoping, really hoping, I’ve got everything (important) that I need to pack. I’m going to triple check my room to make sure I’ve left nothing behind. I have probably packed too much but I’m hoping that will deter me from going crazy with online shopping on taobao.

I am definitely going to miss Sydney a lot and even though people say Ningbo is a ‘small city’, I’m assuming it’s going to give me the Sydney vibes (in the sense of population). I’m looking forward to exploring Ningbo more because I’ve never been before but I met someone recently who has spent many years there and he told me I would love it. But then again, I think the last time he went may have been years ago so who knows!

I’m also super excited to be travelling to Shanghai around November and Korea around June/July!!! So!! Keen!!

Anyway, I’m going to finish cleaning my room and finalise and check everything 50 times for the rest of the night before going to sleep. And then, tomorrow night…I’ll be saying good bye to the comfort of home and my mum’s cooking for 10 months (although, I’m pretty sure I’ll be going back to my hometown during CNY so maybe I’ll have some home-style cooking soon!).

I’m going to end this post with a few photos of my last days in Sydney for a good 10 months. I’m not only going to miss my friends a lot but I’ll also miss Sydney’s fresh air, convenience of every single cuisine possible as well as the beautiful blue sky.

And it wouldn’t be the end without some fav songs of the moment. I switched from Spotify Premium to Apple Music and even though I lost a few songs I’ve also gained more songs that aren’t available on Spotify! #win.

Geeks – Divin’ (to celebrate the beginning of Spring and warmer weather in Australia. Although I’m going from 18 degree cloudy/windy day to 33 degree sun so not sure which country is really going into summer here
Story About – Don’t Go Yet (I discovered them back in 2014 (lol) but could never find their music anyway but they have a couple of songs on Apple Music!!!) There’s another song called Ring Finger but I can’t find an audio clip except for it on iTunes.

Less than 24 hours to go.

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