I can’t believe it’s been over 5 months since we first arrived in China! 5 months ago we all arrived a little shy with very limited mandarin skills and now as we prepare to celebrate Chinese New Year, the progress amongst all the scholars is outstanding. We are all able to hold a conversation in Chinese which to me is incredible as personally all I could say when I arrived was 你好（hello).
We have all grown up so much in the past 5 months as we have had to learn to do things on our own and fend for ourselves! We have learned what is important and what is not in daily life – for example, ironing is not important but waking up at 3:45am to watch the football games are a must! In Scotland my mum basically packed my school bag for me, and now I’m buying my own toilet roll, preparing my own meals and looking after myself (which is something I can’t say I did before).
The majority of the travels have started with some of us returning home and others travelling Asia! In the past month I have been to Harbin, a stunning ice city in the north of China and Japan, and I plan to spend the next month travelling to Shanghai, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. I’m so excited, and can’t wait for the adventures to begin. I am also really looking forward to meeting our friends from college in their home countries.We’ve had a few mishaps so far but nothing too major. We booked the wrong train ticket to Harbin and had to buy new ones but I mean these things happen (sometimes). The extra ticket -and extra stress- was completely worth it, even though at times I felt I was going to lose my fingers from the cold in Harbin.Japan went very smoothly, although we did board a few wrong trains and spoke in Chinese when we should have been trying Japanese. We very much enjoyed our time there! We travelled from Tokyo to Hiroshima so we could see the Miyajima shrine and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. We travelled from Hiroshima to Kyoto and we visited the Bamboo Forest and Iwatayama Monkey Park (where I felt most myself – I think I might have been a monkey in a past life). Then we travelled to Osaka and spent the day at Universal Studios, which was one of the highlights! Harry Potter world was incredible (I think I might also have been Ron Weasley in a past life). We, then, travelled back to Tokyo where we went to Disneyland which was probably my favourite as I am the biggest child to grace the earth.
The last 5 months have been the best of my life, and I cannot wait for the next 5 months! Happy Chinese New Year to all. 新年快乐🎆