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China is on the horizon

10 Chwefror 2013

Hey all, this week has been absolutely crazy as expected as it’s been the first week back since Christmas that everything has truly started back up again, but I’ve managed to find an hour today to tell you all about it.

So at the end of last week I got an email from the University of Manchester saying that I had been successful in applying to get on to their ‘Study China’ program. This is a cultural and educational exchange project which involves a group of UK students from various different universities, going to stay and temporarily study at one of four major Chinese universities. The idea is that you learn about what their educational system is like, as well as their cultural norms, social history and their general culture. You’re even expected to learn some Chinese language whilst you are out there – wish me luck with that one! Some of this learning is done through traditional learning methods of lectures and seminars, but we also learn through much more vocational methods such as field trips and Tai Chi!

I had sent off the application all the way back in December so I had half forgotten about it, and half thought I hadn’t been successful, so when I got the confirmation email through last Friday, I was unbelievably shocked. The one hitch of this amazing opportunity is that the three-week exchange happens in the Easter holidays. So this means that whilst I don’t have to miss any lectures or seminars which is great, I’ve got to do all the work I would usually do in Easter before I go off to China, so I don’t come back to mountains of work and have some sort of break down.

With this consideration in my mind, I had to think long and hard about whether I wanted to accept the place or not, but as this program is very selective and only offered to students, I saw it as a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had a look in my diary and worked out that if I write an essay a week from now until the Easter holidays, then I will be ready to go and totally up to date with work once I return. Of course this is a big ask of myself, and my time management is going to have to be impeccable, yet I feel like I’ve got a great incentive to keep me motivated and on track with work.

What is even more fantastic is that when I contacted the university to let them know of this opportunity that had been offered to me, and they were supportive from the word ‘go’. My personal tutor took the time to discuss this opportunity with me at length, and then asked her fellow colleagues if any of them had a contact in the Chinese university I will be going to. The director of studies for my school was also very supportive by saying that he would do everything he could to allow this program to add 20 credits on to my degree (as we’re being assessed on all the stuff we learn out there). The university itself also told me that they might be able to give me some funding to help pay for the costs that I am required to pay for. The program pays for all our expenses whilst in China (except for spending money) but I have to find the money for the flights and the insurance. I may have to go through an application process to get the money, but I could be given as much as £500 to help towards my costs should I be successful. Needless to say I am going to apply for this, and it’s great to know you’ve got the universities backing both financially, educationally and personally! I’ll let you know how I get on with the run up to Easter with regards to work commitments and most likely EXCITEMENT!!!!

There’s been some other great developments this week, me and my ENCAP netball team played Law A on Wednesday. Let me tell you something about Law, they are so good at everything! In every single IMG sports league, Law always sit at the top of the tables, and it’s rare that other departments beat them. Having been beaten by them twice last year, my team were unbelievably nervous this time round as we felt we would have to work so hard to even come close to beating them. Needless to say that when we all turned up before the match, everyone was out of their mind with nervousness. I think this worked to our advantage though as when it was time to get on court to start and the first whistle went, we hit the ground running. Within a couple of minutes in the first half, we were 4 goals up, and Law started to look a worried. At half time the score was something like 10-6 to us. By this time, it became real that if we kept up the pace we could win, and that was both an elating and terrifying thought. However, we got back on court and finished off the job we had started and won 19-10!! Law were very gracious losers, and at the end, both teams shook hands and complimented each other on what a brilliant game it had been. It was a fabulous feeling to have beaten Law in such a skillful match.

So along with these two great events this week, I’ve also had a ton of work to do. I had 9 (yes, 9!) readings to do, as well as a presentation on a paper to prepare for feminist philosophy, and I’ve also been working to finally finish the first draft of my dissertation. With China on the horizon, it looks as if this is the ways things are going to have to be now, but I’m not complaining, it’s better to have lots of things to keep you going rather than just drowning in the misery that all you’ve got in your life is work!

That’s about it for this week then. I’ll tell you next week whether I’ve heard about any more developments for my China trip, but until then, take care! x