This article is intended to critically address the study and life experience in China Universities (using an average foreign student as a case study) in relation to admission teaching and learning, I am a very good example of an average student in China.

Everywhere in the world students have different problems while trying to get admission into the university, making decisions, even after admission, they still have problems in the university both in their study and their day to day living, problems that sometimes pose as a big threat in their daily lives in the university, problems like; how to study?, how to spend money?, how to make friends and communicate with people?, but it all depends on our individual way of approaching this problem that makes them less of a threat to us. Study and life experience in china has changed my perceptive about a lot of things, it has widened my view of things and knowledge as Chinese people would say “开眼界”. Studying outside my country has given me a lot more experience beyond my native environment.

I am a 2nd year Nigerian student of Nanjing Medical University, a well recognized university in China. Being admitted into a university in China to study medicine will always be one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I graduated from senior high school in year 2011, I applied for a medical school back in my country but was not admitted because it is a very hard process; limited seats, expensive tuition and even if I was to be admitted, I had to read a different course. I stayed home through out that year and waited for the next academic year. Before the admission process for that year began, my father suggested that, I should consider reading medicine in China and since I was so keen on being a doctor, he thought that would be a good opportunity plus I have never been away from them (my parents), but in my Ignorance, I felt it was a bad idea. I bluntly refused to go, to me the conditions attached to that idea was a lot to bear; leaving my parents, I just could not help that, I had been with my parents all my life and leaving them alone was so scary. I started seeing my father as a bad man, asked myself why a father would send his only child away to a country where people lived in bamboo houses and learn to fight all day long, as I had seen in some Chinese movies. Funny how even at this modernized age, people still have ridiculous views about places they haven’t even been because of movies they have seen or stories they have been told and I was a very good example.  I refused to process that admission, hoping something better would come up and that year was a complete waste.

In the year 2012, I had to accept the idea of coming to China, because I was still at the same point as the previous year, I was offered the opportunity again, so I decided to give it a trial. But that was the best decision I have ever made. An adage says “The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step”, that was my step and I would say it was a pretty bold step.

I started the process of admission, which was not an easy task because I had no one to guide me, no agent or agency to help in the process even if payment was required for the service, except a cousin of mine who was already in china studying medicine, he was in his 4th year, but I could not put too much pressure on him because of time difference and he was busy with his final exams. He couldn’t do much because he needed to concentrate on studying, but he tried his best to help me with the admission process, he sent me the admission form through e-mail.  It was not as easy as it sounds in that, the only convenient way for me to contact the school was via the internet, I could not call the school because of the seven (7) hour time difference.

Two weeks after filling the form and providing the required documents to the school via email, I got my admission letter requesting for payment of 2000 dollars as deposit fee. I went with my parents to a local bank to make the transaction. We had to fill some forms and we were required to change the money from naira to dollars. After we were given the transaction details, I scanned and send it to the school, waited for the school’s reply during which, my parents started getting worried of been duped, because internet fraud has now become a very rampant crime, after a week or two, I got an email confirming the school had received the money, my parents became relaxed. Then I received parcel with some other documents needed to complete the admission process. A week after I received the parcel, I was so anxious to see what was inside, it was all like a dream to me. The parcel contained some documents showing the details about school fees, resumption details, and also the most important document; the JW2O2 form; needed for visa application.

I began the visa process the following week, travelled to Abuja to submit the necessary documents (JW202 form, passport, and admission letter) to the Chinese consulate and was required to submit the following, medical examinations, my parent’s statement of accounts, and some other documents. After providing these documents, I was scheduled to come back for an interview in a month, by then the school would have resumed and I would have lost my seat. I complained to the attendant that, my admission would be invalid before the scheduled date, she went back into the office to talk to a man who I guessed was a higher official, I watched them through the glass window between the two rooms as they had their discussion but could not hear them, then I saw the man take my documents and began to flip them over, after going through it for some time, he said something to her before handing the documents back  to the attendant, as I watched her walk back towards the door, I became worried, did not know what the man said, she opened the door and walked briskly to me, “don’t worry, the date has been changed” she said , It was a relief. Finally, I went for the interview on the scheduled date, which went well, then I was told to come back for my visa. The process was all done; it was a great deal for me.

Not all students trying to get admission into a China University would have a family or friend already in China to help guide them through the process of admission, it would be more helpful  for students trying to apply from any country, if there are agencies situated in Diaspora (close to them), helping them clear all doubts about the process and answering whatever questions they have, creating an easy access of communication between them and the school thereby helping them avoid being victims of internet fraud and giving them an assurance of genuineness .

After I got my visa, I went for flight ticket, there was no direct flight to Nanjing city so I had to take a flight to shanghai and take a train to Nanjing but I could not get an immediate flight and I had to wait for another week. There was also the problem of buying a return ticket since it was my first time of travelling to China, by the time I was done for these processes I was late for the resumption date. On the day I was to travel, it was a sad moment as I parted company with my family and friends I could control the tears and was my mother. I had to transit at Doha- Qatar for 5 hours.  It was a long journey.

On arrival, I was stopped at the airport, I could not understand what was happening, they were speaking Chinese, I sat and waited for about an hour, I thought I had done something wrong, I was worried, didn’t know what was happening; was I going to be deported?, am I with the wrong Visa?, as I sat there with other flight mates, I even asked one gentleman and he had no idea what was going on, then I saw the  lady who told me to wait talking to another man in uniform, she pointed at me as she was talking to him, after she was done talking to him, he walked towards me, as he came closer, my heart was beating so fast, was so scared that I almost screamed “please don’t send me home, I am so close to this, I mean no harm”. He asked me if I was a student and I told him “yes” and if it was my first coming to China, he asked for my admission letter, I could feel my hands trembling because of fear as I handed the papers to him, he told me I should not be scared, I had not offended them in anyway, they just wanted to call the school to confirm if the admission letter was genuine. He came back after a while and said I could go. I gladly went for my luggage and went through the exit, luckily for me the sign posts were written in both English and Chinese, so it wasn’t a big problem locating my way to the exit, at the exit my cousin was waiting for me at the airport to take me to Nanjing, we went to the train station for tickets and boarded the train to Nanjing, it was a two (2) hour journey.

I was late for resumption, missed all the orientations but was lucky classes had not started, I made new friends with my country mates and few friends from other countries, my friends showed me round the school, I was really eager to start classes especially Chinese classes, I was eager to learn Chinese language, when I first came I could not communicate with the citizens especially market sellers, my roommate and I always used sign languages to communicate what we wanted to market sellers, we also used translators at times, it was not quite easy. At this point I was beginning to see China was not about the bamboo houses and fights, it is actually a lot more than that, it is a well-developed country, they have a good security system, a lot of CCTV’s, it’s probably the safest country I have ever been. They have very neat, big and clean streets with the street lights and building decorations adding beauty to the look of the cities in the night, I fell in love with the scenery, most nights I would stand at my hostel’s balcony and glance at the vicinity, and watch the metro go to and fro, it is a beautiful sight.

When classes started, I wasn’t quite sure about the teaching standard, I just listened and followed the classes, at this point though I could say it’s of a very high standard, most of the teachers have a good way of teaching, not all though, the few also try their best but there is room for improvement. As we all know, a teacher’s way of teaching plays a very important role in the interest of students in studying. My own opinion is that, Prospective teachers should explore  different teaching methods; including course planning and development, evaluating students, courses, maintaining positive interactions with students, and this encourages students in one way or the other to articulate their own educational philosophy. The school have a very good teaching aid and the Power point presentations are very good. We are also given the chance to evaluate the teachers. They try in their best ways to teach and explain their respective course to the students, some of the teachers English is not up to standard but I understand because it is a learned language for them and you cannot be 100% perfect in speaking a learned language.

As students our study level shouldn’t be based only on the teacher’s teaching quality although it’s also an important factor but as the learner, most of the efforts should come from you.

Also, the school has helped improve my willingness to study with the opportunity of getting scholarship after every academic year. It has created a room for competition between students, for me it’s not just for the money or gift but also the awards and honors, the pride of receiving an award in front of your fellow school mates and to me it’s also an evidence of my hard work. Success does not come for free; it comes from hard work and sometimes the ability to sacrifice other things to achieve our success.

Learning is not one simple activity. It takes place at different level of consciousness, and in different ways, in everything we do. Moreover, people learn in different ways and have their preferred learning methods. Reading Medicine is likewise not a simple activity, or even one kind of activity. There are many kinds of academic learning and many ways of learning. One will have to work independently, in small groups and in large groups.  You will have sense of lectures, discussions, literature of all kinds, and the internet. All these different activities involve different ways of learning. Another important thing to do is finding your own pace; some students start to work on assignment weeks before the deadline or start to read weeks before exam, while others seem to be able to wait until the night before. When it comes to managing your own studies, find out what works for you. My pace is different from my friend’s pace; that we are friends does not mean our way of studying should be the same. My own pace is the later (preparing for exams and assignment weeks before); I tend to forget when I read under pressure. It is also good to put any doubts into perspectives: If you have been admitted is because you qualified to be at the university and so is the other students, so don’t doubt that you won’t be able to pass or understand a course without even trying to study it. A student should not blame anyone even the teachers for his/her failure. Therefore a serious student should avail himself to every opportunity to learn whatever will contribute to his future directly or indirectly.

Also it is good to cultivate the habit of research even for little assignments, it gives more understanding, and you can browse online for books and other relevant information, the library does not provide adequate English books for foreigners, so I mostly browse online to find materials, journals, books, videos to help me understand more. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: All students need a form of help during their studies; ranging from academic guidance, emotional and financial problems, don’t be afraid to ask.

It also good to get involved in university life: Whilst your primary aim is to obtain your medical degree, don’t miss out on the other opportunities available. Whether it’s making new friends, getting involved in sports, societies or representing students, there’s more to university than just academic learning. We could define a University as an institution for higher learning. Yes I agree, my understanding is that a university offer so much more than being just a higher learning center also improving on one’s communication skills and interacting with people, integrating and adopting with  different situations , life styles and ideas, all these widen your view about life.

I encountered a lot of difficulties within the first two months as to; what and how to      eat; how to communicate with the Chinese people and among my colleagues with different accent; how to find my way to the city and within my school, always had the same routine (from dorm to class and from class back to dorm) and how to combined the cold weather with my studies .Things became quite better when I began to know how to speak basic Chinese, made some quite few friends, and gradually adapted to the cold weather.

My school; Nanjing medical university (NMU) was established in 1934 as one of the top institutions of higher learning in china. It consist of 17 secondary schools and 1 independent school , runs 128 programs, has 3 national key disciplines,12 provincial key disciplines. It has 24 affiliated hospitals and 44 teaching hospitals, 1501 registered faculty members, 1 national key lab, 4 key labs at ministry level, and 12 provincial key labs and research centers. NMU has two campuses; the city campus(五台校区) and Jiangning campus(江宁校区).I am have to spend three years in Jiangning campus before moving to the city campus in my clinical year because all the hospitals are located there. The Jiangning campus has two main entrances;the north and south gate, five completed teaching buildings; 博学楼,康达楼,逸夫楼,解剖学楼and 研究生楼 and one under construction building. It has one huge five floors library, one gym center, one Auditorium, two main canteens and fourteen dormitories. The hostel is well equipped with; bathrooms, toilet, kitchen, and also internet connection. These canteens have good and affordable meals; they also have supermarkets in them to buy daily toiletries like soap, toothpaste, biscuits, noodles and other stuffs. The student dorm is quite far from the north gates where other restaurants ran by private owners, mobile service shops, more supermarkets,  but it’s close to the south gate  compared to the north gate. The school advised us to buy bikes for easy transportations within the school. At the beginning of my second year I moved out of the hostel, not because of inadequate facilities of the hostel, but for privacy, cheaper price than school dorm. I rented a four bed-room apartment with three friends, to me living outside makes me save more, and learn to be more responsible like payment of bills and fending for myself without anybody’s help.

In the first three to four months I realize I spend a lot, so I decided to cut down on spending; bought mostly unbranded cloths, cooking, reduced internet buying (淘宝). I also reduced partying and travelling around the country. When I moved out I resorted to gas and conserved electricity.

In conclusion, de rigueur of (admission process, accommodation, funding, teaching, adapting to new environment and learning,) make life in China Universities interesting and worthwhile, I am really pleased to be sharing my experience in China, it is quite an experience, and I hope more students would consider coming to China to study, I assure them it’s going to be one of; if not the best experience in their life, for me it is an achievement I would love to share any time, and I count myself so lucky to have this opportunity. Hoping to have more foreigners make use of opportunities they have to come here. An opportunity is what you make of it, that’s what makes it either a good or a bad opportunity.

Thanks for your time.

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Author Details:

Name: Orimolade Oluwagbohunmi Temitayo

University: Nanjing Medical University

Major: MBBS