This summer I had the chance to attend a Summer school at the University of Nottingham Ningbo campus and what a great experience it was! From the moment I arrived at Shanghai airport and was greeted by the humid air and skyscraper buildings, I knew I was going to enjoy it (even though I made all the other students wait 15 minutes as I ran to the wrong terminal!) An exciting start to say the least!
We stayed in student accommodation on the campus in Ningbo, 3 hours south-east from Shanghai and the two week course focused on ‘China: The Rising Superpower.’ I learnt a great deal about the Chinese economy, religion and the Government. Although very different to my degree in Art History, it was exciting to learn about the future of China and how this may affect us in the West.
Breakfast was hard to stomach as we dined in the student canteen. Rice, noodles and soya milk and not a piece of toast in sight! The evenings were great as we explored the city and the scrummy restaurants. We all dined at traditional Chinese restaurants, but by the third day a visit to Burger King was in order!
I loved exploring how different the culture of China is and so the best bit of the summer school for me were the trips! We visited Yu Garden in Shanghai which, to me, expressed the quintessence of China. There were plenty of goldfish and I particularly liked the dragon walls and beautiful flowers. Our trip to Hangzhou West Lake was eventful as torrential rain hit us! We did still manage a very soggy boat ride that explored some of the ancient buildings with spiritual significance. The highlight of the trip for me was definitely our visit to the Oriental Pearl tower! The views were just astonishing and my highlight was walking on the glass roof; it was all fun and games until you looked down and the dizziness hit you!
I met some wonderful people during my summer school and one was the fabulous calligraphy teacher we had. He taught us to draw flowers, learn traditional calligraphy writing and then make our own fans. I was very pleased that my work won first place and I was presented with a certificate! Focusing more on the arty adventures I got up to in China I had a great time in the World Exposition centre in Shanhai. This focused on sculptures, famous Chinese artists and work that were replicas of Western artists work. It was great to have the chance to see how a Chinese gallery is curated!
But finally my wonderful time in China had to come to an end! I’d made friends for life, visited some beautiful places and experienced the culture of China. I wasn’t looking forward to the 12 hour flight back home!
Louise Jones (1st Year student-Art History)