There is no such thing. A soft landing, that is.
From unhelpful Chinese speaking secretaries at the students’ office, to the lack of mattresses on the dorm room beds, I am sure most of the international students at Renmin University have had their fair share of cultural shock.
I wasn’t particularly surprised by the confusion of arriving in Beijing – I was expecting the whole thing to be somewhat chaotic and unorganized, and I already knew what to expect of the dorm buildings, subway system, food and so on. It took a couple of hours getting registered in the dorms and finding my room – but luckily a very kind student helped me with my luggage and finding the dorm room!
What did surprise me was the culture amongst the international students on campus!
From the very first day I’ve only met caring and helpful co-students. Many of whom are a bit older than me and always ready with guidance and advice. There’s a sense of community amongst the international students, that makes it a lot easier for us all to be so far away from home.
Yesterday a bunch of us went to see the shopping centers at Xidan – which was ok, but we didn’t have much success finding the particular market we had wanted to find and then we got caught in the rain. Some of the other students went to see the forbidden city and Tian’an’men square together too.
Despite the obvious cultural differences and the challenges of settling in here in China, the culture amongst the students here has made it a really great first week for me!