Dominik - Peking University

Bachelor of International Studies
Semester 1, 2018
An opportunity to make experiences and develop which I could never have had by staying at home in Australia.

Academic experience

Throughout my exchange in China, I decided to focus my studies on my Chinese language major. I chose to study three courses, including Chinese writing, Chinese Speaking and Chinese listening disciplines. The enrollment process in Beijing was interesting, especially because it was very different to the online process I am used to in Australia. In China, my enrollment process was done at the university in person. I found this to be an interesting part of my exchange as navigating the university campus and communicating to course co-ordinators in Chinese was a challenging yet exciting experience which I could never have experienced at home in Australia.

Personal experience

Looking back on my exchange, it is safe to say that I undoubtedly benefited greatly from countless personal experiences. I made many new friends from across the world, together with whom I was able practice my Chinese skills and travel across the country during our free time to places like Inner-Mongolia, Shanghai, Nanjing and many more. Throughout this time, I was also able to better my social communication skills, especially considering the amount of new people I had the opportunity to meet on a daily basis.

Accommodation

I decided to live on campus in university dormitory accommodation during my exchange. As I found out, this turned out to be a great decision because it meant I was closer to all the other students at my university undertaking an exchange, meaning that I could interact with others both during and after class more easily. Living on-campus in a dorm environment was in my experience a great decision for this reason, and I would encourage future students going on exchange to make the most of dormitory living. Make sure you don't fall into the trap of sitting inside your dorm room by yourself. Definitely try your best to spend as much time outside of your own living quarters as possible. Its the best way to meet and talk to more people on your exchange!

Costs

One thing I found out very quickly when starting my exchange in China was how much cheaper it was to live compared to Australia. Even though things are cheaper, I would still recommend to make a weekly budget while you'reĀ on exchange so you can track your spending as best as you can. Personally, I would recommend to make your budget reasonably forgiving, you never know when you might need to spend more for a fun activity when on exchange, so remember to keep that in mind so you don't have to miss out on great opportunities! Above all, its important to set some of your funds aside, in case an opportunity for more travel or something else comes up, which I can say from personal experience is likely to happen during your exchange.

Professional Development

For me personally, the biggest professional development that I benefited from on my exchange would have to be my Chinese language improvements. To go and live in a country where they speak the language you are learning is always, in my experience, the best way to improve your communication skills. Putting language learning aside, I would have to say that learning more about the Chinese culture and mentality was also an invaluable addition to my professional development. Travelling to China opened my mind up to other world perspectives, which was a particularly important skill for me to aquire considering my International Relations major.

Highlight

Its difficult to think of just a single highlight of my exchange, especially considering the vast variety of experiences I was fortunate enough to make. But if I had to bring it down to one thing, I would have to say my trip around China during my mid-semester break would have to be a personal highlight for me. The variety of places I was able to visit during my exchange, including Inner-Mongolia, Nanjing, Shanghai and many more where experiences which I hadn't even thought I would be doing before I left Australia for my exchange.

Top tips

Make the most of your exchange by taking part in the opportunities that come available to you. Try your best to be proactive and refrain as best as you can from turning down opportunities by sitting alone in your accommodation when you could be making experiences and meeting new people.