Impression of NJU
Reflections of an Exchange Student at Nanjing University
Time:2018-07-23 11:10 Source:未知 Author:stuex  点击:
China is becoming an increasingly popular study destination for many foreign students owing to the country’s burgeoning international power, as well as its cultural and natural wonders. Whether its experiencing Chinese culture, learning Mandarin, gaining international experience, or professional reasons, Nanjing University (NJU) offers the opportunities for one to pursue and cultivate their goals and ambitions. I studied at NJU in the spring of 2018, and I have to say that my stay there was rich and fulfilling as much as it was eye-opening. I chose NJU for its international reputation, and its location in Nanjing, the historical capital of China, which is resplendent in history and culture.
I took five courses at NJU, which is considered quite normal for local NJU students, many of whom take more than five courses per semester. I applied myself to my studies, and formed close personal connections with my classmates and professors. For two courses, I volunteered to deliver presentations with local students for visiting foreign professors, and although it was stressful at times, it was one of the most fulfilling experiences I had in China as it allowed me to work alongside my Chinese peers, forming invaluable friendships along the way. Furthermore, I came to understand the diligence and industriousness of the local students at NJU. In China, study is a precious and highly valued endeavour; many students take great pride in their academic achievements and prioritise study over work and play. Many of my foreign exchange student peers - myself included at the beginning - did not quite understand this way of life. However, if you take academic courses with local students as I did, and engage with them and the coursework, you may discover that there is more to exchange than partying and sticking with the ‘foreign-student clique’. In my personal experience, I found that discarding my preconceptions, accepting the Chinese students’ way of life, and communicating with them on a daily basis greatly broadened my world view (and it did wonders for my Mandarin listening and speaking skills). There is a hackneyed Chinese idiom that all Chinese language learners learn-  my advice would be go back and review it and do as the Chinese do; don’t do as the Australians do, don’t do as the Germans do, don’t do as the English do; drop the stereotypes and do what the Chinese do - 入乡随俗.
Additionally, knowing some Chinese goes a long way; knowing a lot of Chinese will open doors - reading, speaking, and writing too. For example, you will discover student clubs, events and other activities via WeChat posts and posters plastered on walls all over the campus - all printed in Chinese characters of course. I attended the Taekwondo club’s weekly training sessions, as well as student-run balls, poetry readings, and parties. In my experience, this was a great way to get to know local NJU students outside of the classroom and experience what Chinese students like to do for leisure - it’s a fun and different experience if you allow yourself to go with the Chinese flow. So learn the language and use it (daily)!
In terms of daily living at NJU, you will stay in the international student dormitory, which is a bit of a trek to and from the teaching buildings and canteens, but you’ll get used to the walking, cycling, taking the bus, or riding a scooter. The dormitory amenities are good. All rooms are fitted with a washbasin, shower, toilet, tables and closets; washing machines and dryers are available for public use, so are the water dispensers. The canteens offer very cheap and affordable meals, and if you aren’t picky, you’ll get by just fine. I personally like canteen number 6, the Halal canteen, number 4, and number 9, in no particular order - there are many more and there will be at least one which will suit your tastes, otherwise you can eat out or order takeaway but they are more expensive options. Coffee and tea lovers, you can get your daily fix(es) at one of the many cafes on campus (I counted at least four) - I recommend the student-run chemistry building cafe.
I studied at NJU’s Xianlin Campus and you probably will too if you’re an exchange student. The Xianlin campus is rather far from the city centre but the metro will take you there in no more than 45 minutes. I won’t talk about the nightlife, i.e. bars and clubs, you can figure that out yourself if that’s what you want out of your stay here.
AIC and SIECA are two student-run associations which host activities and trips for international students. Their members are really friendly and helpful; you’ll meet your NJU buddy at their events. Your NJU buddy will help show you the ropes at NJU, so don’t fret, they’ll always by someone to help you out at NJU. And, should you encounter any difficulties, the incredible team at the NJU international office will assist you expedidoustly to resolve your issue.

In conclusion, balance your studies and leisure activities, and don’t neglect your studies if you’re taking the academic courses. NJU is a prestigious university, and you don’t want to be “that” foreigner who came to China to muck around. Moreover, do take the opportunity to travel and make new friends, and appreciate the richness and diversity of culture that China has to offer.

By Natapol Boonpratakvej
From Australia
July 2018