Tom: GBI Programme (China 2019)

It is now the ninth month of this incredible journey with the GBI cohort and we have landed in mainland China!

Shenzhen is a beautiful city – a combination of modernity, cleanliness and greenery. Leading up to the China leg of our exchange programme, I’d researched the city and created expectations. However, every day since being here has been a challenge to those expectations I had set previously.

One of the best things I have noticed so far about Shenzhen is that it is cashless. In fact, almost everything here is done on the WeChat app. This includes things such as getting on the metro, ordering a rideshare, paying for food or purchasing clothes at a store.

English isn’t commonly used in Shenzhen, so it helps that I’m already familiar with the Mandarin language and Chinese culture. The other international students have found it really helpful by knowing basic Mandarin prior to coming to China, as communication with locals is important, whether that be thanking a driver or asking for directions.

The PMSA has facilitated our time overseas and allowed us to travel within the university schedule to places we could have never thought about visiting! Living in Shenzhen makes it easy to travel within China and to other Asian countries as the city is close to major train stations and airports such as Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Myself and eight other international students have already booked a trip to Myanmar and Cambodia within the first month of being here!

Looking forward to the next three months in China and being able to share my experiences!

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