While waiting for my hair to dry because there’s no hair dryer provided, I thought I might as well update this space instead of wasting time scrolling through Instagram. I have been in China for exactly a week now and everything has been pretty fine up till now. Jinan has been really great so far except the crazy weather. Shanghai had a crazier weather compared to Jinan though. Shanghai wasn’t as humid as Jinan but it was really hot.
Day 1 of Jinan
My train was supposed to arrive at 2.21pm but due to route changes, it got delayed and I only arrived Jinan around 3pm from Shanghai. A volunteer was waiting for me at the train station and we quickly took a taxi and left for the campus. I registered, put my luggage in my dorm and quickly went to another building for the opening ceremony. Everything was really awkward because I knew nobody and that everyone is from different countries from all parts of the world. Thankfully, I made new friends and everything was alright. After the opening ceremony and a brief introduction, we were invited to an opening dinner at the cafeteria. There were hell loads of dishes prepared for us, some of which were really weird dishes. The thing with Jinan is that the dishes all come first and then the rice and noodles come last, which is really different from what I get in Malaysia. There wasn’t any hot tea too, which was weird because well, it’s China?
After dinner was done, we went back to our respective dorms and headed back out to a local bar of some sort at around 8pm. We went to a nearby pub just outside our campus but we left the place after awhile without ordering anything because everyone couldn’t understand anyone. We went to a mini market to buy alcohol instead and just went back to the campus’ courtyard to drink.
Day 2 of Jinan
Morning class was really boring, where we had Chinese culture and geography class. I couldn’t really understand what the lecturer was talking about due to his accent and not so good English. We stayed back after class to settle our SIM cards which took ages. We only went for lunch at around 2pm at a Cantonese restaurant. There were 5 of us at the Cantonese restaurant and the food was pretty alright. After that, Zhixin and I went back to the dorm so that I could grab my laptop and we went to a coffee shop inside the campus. Both her and I had some work to do so we stayed at the coffee shop. We had BBQ fish for dinner and then we went back to the coffee shop to continue doing work. We went to 2 coffee shops that night because both closes at different times.
Day 3 of Jinan
Chinese law class wasn’t that bad compared to the class yesterday but it was still boring. A bunch of us headed outside of campus for lunch to a Korean restaurant. After that, we headed back to Mingde building for our afternoon class which was Cross-cultural Communication. This class was quite interesting because we got to speak to other visitors which were from Taiwan. The lecturer wasn’t as monotone as the previous ones as well so it was quite alright.
When class ended, we went to visit the library and I have no idea why the library can’t be as easy as Ali G. We went to different buildings, went up to different floors and we still couldn’t find the library. We had to ask someone and when we finally got the library, it was closing in 10 minutes. The staffs there were nice enough to let us in the library for 10 minutes without our Student IDs as well because we’re temporary students so the card doesn’t work.
After the library, we headed out of campus to eat 麻辣香锅. It’s my first time eating this dish and it was really good, surprisingly. We headed back to campus and I did some work.
Day 4 of Jinan
We had Chinese philosophy class in the morning which was quite interesting. Our professor did a demo on Taiji Quan, a traditional martial arts. During lunch time, the rain was proper pissing it down and we went quite far away from the campus to have lunch. We had Korean food again, I have no idea why and then we went back to the campus for our field trip. We set off for a temple instead of Hero Mountain because it was raining. After visiting the temple, we headed to Furong Street, a street full of street food. We also visited 大明湖 when it stopped raining.
The lake was really big and pretty although the weather wasn’t really coorporating with us. It stopped raining but the weather made pictures look ugly. After that, we headed to a shopping centre for dinner where we had steamboat, overlooking some square. Dinner was alright and I think I’m starting to get better at this whole spicy food thing. After dinner, we went to a bookstore which had 6 floors. We split up and I went with Eunyeob. We made a deal that we would find each other’s books together. We passed by the music section first so we browsed through music scores. After that, we went down to the basement for cookbooks and I ended up buying a book about Mantou. The book is in Chinese so good luck to me reading it.
After the bookstore, we took a bus back to our dorm and guess what? My room had no electricity.
Day 5 of Jinan
Morning class was about China’s history. Who the hell goes to history class at 8.30am, early in the morning, for history class? I tried my best to keep myself awake but I fell asleep in class in the end anyway. I met up with Derek after class and my friends and I (together with Derek), went outside campus for food. We went to this Chinese hamburger place, which served quite awful food lmao. We went back to our dorms after lunch because we had a free 1 hour.
We headed back to class for our afternoon class, which was about social policy. The class was really boring and I wasn’t paying much attention anyway. During break time, Eunyeob was like tempting me to escape class so both of us just grabbed our bags and left. On the way out, we met Zhixin and all 3 of us just escaped class. We went back to the dorm to look for Heedong because boy skipped class. The 4 of us took a taxi to downtown Jinan and we went to an arcade to kill time. We did like a challenge (2 vs 2) and I have no idea who won. I think it was a tie. After playing, we waited for Jieun and Jiwon to come so we could all have dinner together.
We went to Pizza Hut for dinner and the Pizza Hut here is so different compared to Malaysia. After dinner, we went for a movie which nobody could really understand even up till now. We left even before the movie ended because nobody knew what was going on. We took a bus back to campus and I swear China bus drivers think they’re driving a GTR. The bus was really crowded and hot, it just felt like a living hell. We went to a mini market on the way back to buy alcohol and we just drank at the reception.
Day 6 of Jinan
Waking up at 7am has become a habit for me and probably everyone else too. We had China Politics and Public Policy class in the morning, which I got ffk-ed by a friend. We had a quick lunch at the cafeteria and damn, Shandong University’s cafeteria is huge. After lunch, we went back to our respective dorms to rest up and prepare for our field trip in the afternoon. We gathered at the reception at 1.20pm and left for a company visit called Makeronly. We also visited some Urban Planning division and then went back to the dorm. Weather was crazily hot and we were all very tired. We decided to order delivery to our dorm so we ordered sushi for dinner.
Derek and I headed out to the campus coffee shop which THE DRINK TASTED LIKE TOOTHPASTE I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. After that, we walked over to another campus of Shandong University to meet up with my friend (new friend lmao). We (more like I) played this childhood flinging game thing which I have honestly no idea what you call it, at the park. We went to a local shop to have supper where we ate BBQ stuffs and drank beer.
Applying for this summer school is thus far, one of the best decisions I’ve made for awhile now. I was really excited prior to the trip but kind of dreaded it on the way to Jinan from Shanghai. I’m not the best at making friends so the thought of making new friends and clicking with someone was daunting. Surprisingly, this whole making new friends thing wasn’t a problem at all because everyone was doing the same. Nobody knew each other so it was really easy to make new friends.
Although living in a dorm is just pure hell because the room is not the cleanest and the facilities aren’t the best, it still counts as an experience. I guess growing up in a very comfortable condition and born with a silver spoon in mouth (compared to other unfortunate people), this summer school made me more independent and actually a chance to grow up. Volunteers were really helpful, people here at the university are very nice but at the end of the day, I still need to take care of myself. Dad went back to Malaysia already so I’m all alone here in China.
This is my first time living alone, away from home and from family, and in a dormitory. I’ve never stayed with someone who I don’t know so it felt really weird to have a roommate. The experience has been great so far, although I don’t particularly like the idea of sharing a room with someone but there’s always a first time. Doing laundry here is a nightmare as well because there’s no dryer on my floor so I have no choice but to dry it naturally. There’s also no hair dryer so every night, I have to wait until my hair dries before I go to bed.
All in all, the summer school has been great so far and I really hope it’ll be great for the remaining days.