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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