Jon Ainsworth, Global Summer Exchange 2019 – Shanghai

What do you study at King’s?

MSc Emerging Economies and International Development.

Where did your Global Summer Experience take place?

Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China.

What course did you take and why?

China’s Policy on Climate Change, Energy and Environment because of the unique interdisciplinary nature of the course on offer.

How did receiving the Global Summer Exchange Award shape your experience?

Being a self-funded part-time student, I have often found it difficult to attend activities outside of class due to time and money constraints. The award contributed to paying for pretty much the entire cost of my return tickets, which of course was a massive help. As the airfare was accounted for, I was able to stay in the country for longer and go to the largest skatepark in the world (SMP Shanghai) to fulfill the dream I have had for many years of riding the masterpiece.

How was the application process?

The application process was straight forward as the initial application was submitted to King’s and then I was nominated to apply to Jiao Tong. The Global Mobility Team go above and beyond to support your application at the host university as the team have a wealth of experience in dealing with global applications.

What were the highlights of your Global Summer Experience?

The opportunity to study alongside a group of like minded cosmopolitan individuals from such a diverse array of fields including environmental science, geography and economics definitely made the in-class discussions a lot more interesting as there was an assimilation of knowledge from the hard and social sciences taking place throughout the course. It was very refreshing to grasp some engineering concepts and solutions to the environmental problems we are facing today. Additionally, the wisdom of Dr. Junhua Zhang made the experience unforgettable.

What was the biggest challenge you encountered during your Global Summer Experience?

The biggest challenge I encountered was a problem with my accommodation situation. I booked a place on AirBnB, which FYI is blocked on China’s firewall, to later be told by Jiao Tong that I must report to the local police station details of my whereabouts for the duration of my stay within 24 hours (a requirement when staying off campus). This is a statutory requirement when on a student visa that I was unaware of and subsequently led to a very nerve-wracking day of tracking down landlords, signing document and contemplating my fear of spending the rest of my days in Chinese detention if this wasn’t boxed off. Luckily, I was able to get the documents to the relevant authorities in time. The lesson was learnt. Ignorance is no excuse; you must respect the laws of the land you are in and conform to any bureaucracy or formalities expected of a visitor. I made this mistake so you as the reader does not have to!

Any other surprises?

Prior to departure I was aware of the mobile payment giants such as WeChat and Alipay, but I completely underestimated their usage among the population. It soon became apparent that QR codes are ubiquitous to the core function of the modern Chinese economy as they are used for things ranging from payments, to unlocking a motorbike and even when you sign up to WeChat you will get your own personalised QR code for new friends to scan, rendering any prior language miscommunication obsolete as you can now communicate through the comfort of a translating app.

Do you have any advice for those thinking of applying?

Go for it. If you are curious, open-minded and intrigued to learn Chinese ways of thinking and problem solving, you should not hold back. It was an experience that has inspired me greatly and it will continue to do so for the rest of my life. If you are not so interested in academia, China also has incredible rice and bakery treats.

Meera Ved, 2011-12, National University of Singapore

10 ways studying abroad enhanced my degree

I’m pretty sure all new Geography undergraduates will have sat through a ‘What is Geography?’ lecture at some point in their academic lives. After my semester abroad at the National University of Singapore I don’t think I would be able to sit through such a talk without screaming out ‘Studying abroad’. Taking part in a student exchange encompasses the discipline throughout.

The language of study in Singapore is English so there were no language barriers plus my grades counted as credits towards my degree so I did not elongate the time taken to complete my degree. Here are ten ways various experiences and opportunities gained through studying abroad enhanced my Geography degree. Even though Geography is awesome I do note not everyone studies it at university…some reflections highlight the advantages of studying abroad for any degree and are not Geography or language specific at all

Continue reading “Meera Ved, 2011-12, National University of Singapore”

Rebecca Marwege, 2014-15 at Hong Kong University

Almost 9 months ago I came to Hong Kong form my study abroad year. When I arrived, I could have never imagined that this year would be so filled of experiences!

As I arrived in August, the first thing I experienced was apocalyptic rain. Because Hong Kong is situated in the sub-tropic climate zone and is as an island exposed to the sea, in summer there are typhoons and rains that are so massive that people stay in their houses the whole day. This also happened to me in the first month as lectures were cancelled one day and the whole world seemed to hide in their houses.

Apart from the rain, the first most impressive experiences for me were all the lights around the city, the different language, the characters, the humidity, the heat, the noise, the roasted ducks in the windows of the restaurants and all the busy people. So many things, that at first I felt really overwhelmed, even Continue reading “Rebecca Marwege, 2014-15 at Hong Kong University”

Stine Madsen, 2012-2013, National University of Singapore

Top Ten things

Stepping outside Changi Airport, the hot and humid air hits you like a brick wall.  I signed up for accommodation without air-conditioned certain that my body would eventually adapt to the new climate… I am wiser now, believing that even the Singaporeans are struggling to deal with the heat.  Now, back in grey and gloomy London I dream of those hot and sunny days in this densely populated city-state.  I have recommended 10 things that are must dos while on exchange in Singapore.

Continue reading “Stine Madsen, 2012-2013, National University of Singapore”

Hong Kong University, Rebecca Marwege, 2014-2015

Almost 9 months ago I came to Hong Kong form my study abroad year. When I arrived, I could have never imagined that this year would be so filled of experiences!

As I arrived in August, the first thing I experienced was apocalyptic rain. Because Hong Kong is situated in the sub-tropic climate zone and is as an island exposed to the sea, in summer there are typhoons and rains that are so massive that people stay in their houses the whole day. This also happened to me in the first month as lectures were cancelled one day and the whole world seemed to hide in their houses.  

Continue reading “Hong Kong University, Rebecca Marwege, 2014-2015”