Country of origin: UK
Term abroad: Lingnan College, Sun Yat-sen University, China
Employer: Atkins Global
China was amazing. There’s no other way to describe it. I spent five months in a fabulous part of the world, made friends I will keep for the rest of my life and all I can think about now is when can I go back.
Sun Yat-sen University is a very friendly and welcoming place, providing peace and tranquillity in a city that is full of hustle and bustle. Standing at a population of 12 million which roughly makes it twice the population of London, Guangzhou could be considered too big. But with brand new infrastructure left behind by the legacy of the 2010 Asian Games the city is very modern, very diverse and very easy to get around.
Upon arrival you’re paired up with a Chinese student who is your guide to life in China. I would have been lost without mine. She helped sort out major challenges like my accommodation and visa extensions to little things like telling a taxi driver where to go and teaching me how to use chop sticks. Chinese people are warm, friendly and overall very welcoming. I’ve never felt so safe in my life. It doesn’t matter where you are – whether it is Trekking on Tiger Leaping Gorge, cycling through the Karst formations in Yangshou or just trying to figure out what food is available on the menu – there will always be someone around willing to help.
The food is also truly like nothing you could experience in the UK. Top class food is everywhere from Traditional Chinese eateries, Japanese Teppanyaki, French cuisine and no city would be complete without an Irish Pub!! But the best places to eat are the little restaurants that are full of character, signature dishes and, if you’re lucky, an English menu.
But with so much going on around it’s easy to forget about why you came to China in the first place - to study. Classes at Sun Yat-sen are a lot longer than in the UK - three hours long. But you only have one class a week and class sizes are roughly 20-30 people. This is a great opportunity to fully get to know China and the way Chinese business is evolving as well as getting to know your Chinese classmates. The university is at a high standard, having just received its EQUIS accreditation and all classes are taught in English.
I would just like to end this by reiterating the fact that China is amazing. You have a truly unbelievable opportunity in front of you so get out there and do it.
After graduation Thomas took a job at Agri-Lloyd Ltd, the company he worked for during his placement year.