When I first started university, it was clear to me that I had to make the most out of this fantastic opportunity – it only lasts three years and let’s be honest it’s the best three years of our lives. So last summer when I was lucky enough to receive an email from my tutor offering me a place studying in Beijing, China for three months I knew this was going to be the opportunity of a lifetime. I immediately replied accepting the offer.
I’d be studying fashion as part of the Erasmus+ and outward mobility scheme, which would count towards part of my current Textiles course.
I was really nervous on the inside to take this leap though. The actual thought of travelling abroad, far away from home in a country I’d never been to and where I didn’t know the language, was a bit of a concern.
It took roughly two months to get things set ready for our trip. The week leading up to leaving, things were still very much in the air, but this made it all very exciting. After a 10 hour flight we received a warm welcome from the Cardiff Met staff based in China who met us at the gate and took us to our accommodation. They even treated us to our first bowl of noodles and supported us the whole time we were there with any problems we faced.
We were lucky enough to get invited to travel to different universities across China – not only in Beijing but also in Shanghai and Dalian with the Cardiff Met staff. This allowed us to become ambassadors and speak about our time at Cardiff Met so far, but also allowed us to meet people who we hope will one day become students at Cardiff Met. We also managed to pack in lots of sight-seeing across the country including cities like Xi’an and Shanghai.
The actual university experience was very interesting itself, because it was so totally different to what education we receive in the UK. Firstly, everything was of course taught in Chinese, but also most of it was copying off the black board which was a hard concept to grasp. However, by the end I became really passionate about fashion – that final moment of satisfaction when you’ve completed making a garment is an amazing feeling.
I was lucky enough to travel with two of my course mates and I can honestly say we have become such amazing friends due to this experience. Last year, none of us were in the same friendship groups and had we all had very different political and religious views, which we realised on the plane journey there. But this experience brought us closer then we could of ever imagined. It made me feel a lot safer knowing I wasn’t doing it alone, and it gave us confidence to go travelling by ourselves and make the most of being in China.
While based in Beijing we managed to live amazing student lifestyles, going clubbing with friends, eating out and shopping. The language barrier did not stop us from enjoying this experience because we made great friends who helped us a lot, and again Cardiff Met staff were always a phone call away whenever we needed support.
It was the best experience of my life and I’m so thankful for such a wonderful and crazy experience. I can only say positive things about the whole experience, and would recommend Erasmus to anybody considering studying aboard.
Read more stories by Cardiff Met students who’ve experienced studying abroad.