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Why Study in China? Kunming and Dalian

Where did you study and why did you choose these places?

For my first international experience, I chose to leave for the Yunnan University in Kunming, in the south-western part of China. I did my research and learnt this place is called “the city of spring”, and although I suffer from allergies, I decided the warm climate would please my soul. The province is also full of natural resources and interesting touristic areas, so I thought I wouldn't get bored. And I was right!

During my master's degree, I wanted to try something completely different, even though Kunming stayed in my memory and tried to persuade me to come back. Therefore, I chose to go to the north-eastern part of the country, to the province of Liaoning and the city is called Dalian (大连). It is by the sea and the population is (at least for Chinese standards) not that high, so I thought there would be fewer foreigners and I could practice my Chinese more. I was wrong.

Why did you decide to study in China?

Chinese was my major, so it made sense, as it is said that you learn swimming by jumping into the water. Even our professors said they could try really hard teaching us Chinese, but going there would improve us unbelievably. And going to the other side of the world to study for almost free? Sounds great!

Can you tell us about the universities themselves? Were there any differences when learning Chinese?

Yunnan University has many majors and is not solely oriented towards languages, the university in Dalian is called “The University of Foreign Languages”, so you can see there might be a difference concerning this. At Yunnan University I had amazing teachers and classmates, but the school building and dorms were a bit old, my bed consisted of wooden planks and that was it. However, the campus for Chinese was right in the middle of the city and that was really convenient, as the famous Jade Lake (翠湖) was on the footsteps of our University and we could enjoy all its pleasures.

In Dalian, the school was specialized in languages and famous for teaching Chinese, so my expectations for meeting few foreigners were destroyed. As I was in my master degree then, I joined the top class with only 6 people and that was great for improving my level. However, some of the teachers' methods were not as progressive as they could be (for example, we had to memorize texts by heart). I was really lucky to have an amazing dorm, which looked like an apartment for 6 people, with 2 bathrooms, living room, kitchen and even a TV. The students were also more focused on learning fast and well, so with my roommates we spoke Chinese.

Rice fields of Yuanyang with Chinese tourists © Lucie Tongelova / CC-BY 2.0