Nankai - Our Student Nankai University

Meet our students

The best way to find out what life is really like studying in China is to hear what our current and former Nankai students have to say.

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Students from Nankai University share their experiences living and studying in China

Click on a profile below to read about student life at Nankai University.


os2 Ina Martinez from Colombia

INTO course: NKU - MA International Economics and Business

INTO China in partnership with Nankai University degree:

International Economics and Business

Lina is from Colombia and studying the MA International Business and Economics degree at Nankai University.

See what Lina had to say about studying with INTO.

This programme gave me the chance to study what I wanted, to mix what I already know in international trade and to learn more about international business, international economics, and international finance. 

Why study MA International Economics and Business?

When I was 16 I began to study international business, but when I was 20 I changed my major to international trade. I still like international business, and having an international view of the world. This programme gave me the chance to study what I wanted, to mix what I already know in international trade and to know about international business, international economics, and international finance. This programme complements everything that I’ve learned.

Why study MA International Economics and Business?

When I was 16 I began to study international business, but when I was 20 I changed my major to international trade. I still like international business, and having an international view of the world. This programme gave me the chance to study what I wanted, to mix what I already know in international trade and to know about international business, international economics, and international finance. This programme complements everything that I’ve learned.

What made INTO a good option?

I always wanted to go to China and there are organizations that can help you get there. When I heard from INTO at a study fair, I was given a brochure about the summer programme. I think I kind of fell in love with it at that moment. They are giving me this chance to go to China, learn the culture, Chinese language, everything. When I discovered the Masters programme, it was a big deal for me. In Colombia we don’t often have chances to come to this side of the world and study what you always wanted. INTO gave me the chance to do what I wanted.

What’s your favourite class?

I like the course: China’s Foreign Trade. I’ve been speaking to the teacher, he also runs a WTO class and is writing a book about WTO in English. He said that I can help him with it, and I said’ Oh my god, of course I want to help with that!’ I really love this subject; it’s my favourite one. The teacher shows real personal interest in his students, he knows everything about China and Chinese Trade and shares it with us.

Favourite activity?

The lantern festival (Yuanxiao festival). I didn’t even know about that festival, so it was completely new for me. I said to my roommate, you can study the culture and everything, but when you come here you learn new things. The lantern festival is one thing you can’t really appreciate just by learning about it. Lights, lanterns and people are everywhere, and its nice seeing families together sending off lanterns, taking photos, and there is great food (Tangyuan), like a kind of sweet dumpling. It's all about being here, not just learning about it from afar.

What is your favourite new food?

I like Baozi (steamed buns). The food is exciting. Now that it is familiar it is much better, especially once I learned to say ‘bu la de’ (not spicy!) I keep seeing new things and saying ‘I want to try you!’. In Colombia, we have Chinese rice. It is just beef and vegetables and rice. When you come here, there is so much variety. You need to be open-minded here. I mean, just yesterday I tasted snails for the first time - It was really tasty! I’ve tried frog, and had donkey too and I like them. Don’t be timid or you'll miss out!

How is learning and speaking the language?

The pronunciation is difficult but I love the teacher because she always says ‘Calm down, don’t worry, try it again’. I feel better now. At the beginning, I just had to point, but now I can order food and check prices, I can survive. When I go to the market, church, out shopping or at Starbucks, there are people wanting to practice English, but I always say ‘Bu bu bu, I want to speak Chinese!’

How have you dealt with culture shock?

Aspects in China are different than Colombia. You just get used to it, it's not a surprise anymore. Not all differences are bad, some are really great. It is so secure here, I feel comfortable venturing out at midnight without being concerned about running into trouble. It isn’t just safety on campus either. When I go around town I see people walking with their iPhones and standing at the bus stop playing on their iPads. You can't do that everywhere.

Has your time here affected your future plans?

I've been thinking about this a lot. The job market at home makes me take a broader perspective in looking for future career options. My experience here has made me feel confident in looking into doing business in China or with China. Whether I work or live here in the future, I know I want to come back. I don't just think about working in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong, I think specifically about continuing on in Tianjin. I know cities like Tianjin are growing so fast and considered “cities of the future.” My time here informs me a lot about the opportunities here.

What do you do in your free time?

Shopping! It has been amazing. Everything is so affordable – cheap even. I have a whole new wardrobe. I like walking to just absorb it all – seeing people and the city, take a coffee and just sitting observing the bustle of activity.

Friends you've made here so far?

I'm shy, I think I have trouble making friends outside of campus. I’ve gone for coffee and met people from India, Canada and two people from China who are trying to learn English. It's been good for me.

Advice for people who are thinking of coming here?

People asked, 'why China? It is so far. The country is so different politically, you can’t speak openly.' Then you come here and find people are more open- minded in some ways. As I said, be open-minded to new experiences. Do not be guided by someone saying ' did you see what happened with the government?.' It is different to what I expected, now I tell my family how great it is and how wonderful and welcoming all the people I’ve met are.


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Rebecca Thomson from United Kingdom

INTO course: Chinese language summer programme

INTO China in partnership with Nankai University degree:

Chinese Language Summer Programme

Rebecca Thomson is from the UK and studying the Chinese Language Summer Programme with INTO China in partnership with Nankai University.

It’s been great to meet lots of new people from all over the world; I think everyone would enjoy that. 

Why did you choose to come to China?

I just wanted a new experience. I wanted to experience a new culture and meet some new people. China was a bit of a culture shock when I arrived, it’s just a completely different way of life here. There are lots of people everywhere and it’s really busy, but after a while you get used to it!

Was there anything specifically about INTO that made you choose us?

I had never really considered coming to China much before, so when I received the information from INTO, it was the only company that I knew of who could help me study in China. I am so glad that I took this opportunity.

How did you enjoy the orientation in Beijing? What things did you enjoy in particular?

We went to The Temple of Heaven, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and also The Great Wall. We also ate at local restaurants. The best part was going to see The Great Wall, even though it was raining. It was really impressive, and also it’s useful to keep you busy when you first get there, because as I said, there’s a massive culture shock when you get to China, so it’s really nice to get straight into it and a great way to meet people at the beginning.

How have you found the INTO China experience?

INTO have been brilliant. An INTO China student mentor met me at the airport and it was great to see a friendly face when I came through. It was very welcoming and everyone is very bubbly, which was nice, even though I had a long flight. Everyone is very enthusiastic, which is good. After she met me at the airport, we got a taxi together to Beijing Foreign Studies University. I have needed to use INTO staff quite a lot, they’re useful for advice on what to do in China, good places to go; and they can help you tell taxi drivers where you want to go; it’s really helpful.

Describe the kinds of activities you have been doing since being at Nankai University?

We’ve been learning Chinese every day and then cultural classes, like Chinese painting, Chinese musical instruments, sports and calligraphy. It was really interesting to see the calligraphy. I’d heard of calligraphy before, but never done it, it’s much harder than it looks. It was nice to play sport with the rest of the students on the programme as well!

What has been your favourite part of the programme so far?

The Great Wall, meeting new people and learning about Chinese culture.

Is there anything about coming to China that has been difficult? Have you been able to overcome this? How?

How populated it is. You hear about how busy China is before you come, but nothing really prepares you until you actually see it. You just can’t imagine how busy it is, but I’m getting used to it now. Also fewer people speak English than I thought. Sometimes it’s quite hard to convey directions when you can’t speak the language, but this has already got better, even after just two weeks of learning Chinese. We also get help from INTO when we need it. Actually, we have been able to interact with Chinese people quite a lot. We have tutors who help us practise Chinese, but they speak good English, which is useful at the beginning! Some of us have even been chatting to Chinese students in the canteen. It’s still quite basic conversations like name, age, where are you from, etc. I’ve chatted to taxi drivers too, and I think my Chinese has really improved quite quickly. It definitely helps if you work hard at it. We had a test and it went well, so I’m feeling much more confident with my Chinese.

Would you say that China is a good place to study? Do you think students from your university would be interested in studying in China if they had more information?

Yes, China is a nice place to study. It’s been great to come and experience it. The advantage of coming to China is obviously that you can learn Chinese. If you studied your degree here, you would also get to learn Chinese and I think you would learn much quicker than if you just studied in the UK. It’s been great to meet lots of new people from all over the world; I think everyone would enjoy that.

What did you think of the mentor dinner? Was there any interaction with local students/ tutors?

The mentor dinners are great. We go out to eat to local authentic restaurants with Chinese INTO staff, maybe three or four of us, at least once a week. It’s quite nice to break up the week, because we usually eat in the canteen. It’s really nice to experience different kinds of restaurants.

How does Nankai compare to Exeter University?

It’s quite similar in lots of ways, they’re both pretty and green campuses. There are lots of bikes at Nankai and it’s much bigger than Exeter. If someone from Exeter wanted to come to China to study I would tell them to come to Nankai because the campus is really nice. INTO gave a presentation on culture shock when we arrived, which told us about all the different parts of Chinese culture that might be unfamiliar to foreign students. I’d really recommend anyone coming to China to look at something like that and prepare yourself! But again, I’ve got used to it!


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Joshua Rodrock from United States

INTO course: NKU - MA International Economics and Business

INTO China in partnership with Nankai University degree:

International Economics and Business

Joshua is from USA and studying the MA International Business and Economics Master's degree at Nankai University. Joshua also studied the Chinese Language Summer Programme prior to commencing Master's study.

See what Joshua had to say about studying with INTO.

I try to go into each country that I visit with an open mind and blank pages. Too much is changing all around the world, at such a rapid pace, to be judgemental prior to experiencing something so vastly different from one's own culture and system.  

When did you first consider studying abroad?

Before I arrived to college I knew I would want to study abroad and 2010-2011 that became a reality.

Did your list of countries to study in include China?

Honestly, no. I never thought of studying, but traveling for sure. The summer program allowed me to explore China on a more casual level. Really, I didn't think I would be pursuing a master's degree and I hadn't thought of China in that regard until the opportunity came up when I initially went on the Summer Program.

Had you previously studied abroad before/travelled much?

I studied one year in Germany and I have traveled extensively through Europe, North, and Central America

What did you find most unique/interesting about studying in China?

Although we are here to learn, it differs significantly from the West, where we are engaging in conversations and debate. In China you are there to hear the teachers knowledge either through dictation or the respective book.

Has your view of China changed prior to studying in country?

I try to go into each country that I visit with an open mind and blank pages, too much is changing all around the world at such a rapid pace, to be judgemental prior to experiencing something so vastly different from ones own culture and system. So in short, China hasn't so much changed in my opinion as I have changed from continually learning about it.

Since returning, have you continued to learn Mandarin?

But of course! It is certainly a useful language extending beyond the realm of business and my goals in life require that I continue to pursue it to a professional level.

Have you been able to engage with Chinese students at your home university?

Oh man, if it wouldn't have been for my Chinese friends during my prior to my trip, I don't know where I'd be right now. They helped to enlighten so many topics and issues in our discussions over delicious Chinese food back in the U.S. before I even came to China and I was able to meet up with one of them during my summer program. I've kept in contact with all of them and seen most of them in their home environment, which I believe strengthens these relationships that will last for some time to come.

Has studying in China re-directed your studies at your home university?

It provided me the desire and drive to finish my studies and get back as soon as I could, Asia is a vast continent with so much to offer and China provided me with my introduction to it.

After graduating, what are your plans for the future?

I have an entrepreneurial spirit and that drove me to engage in business with my brother, but traveling, exploring, and learning the world is always a plan in my life.

Could you see yourself moving to China for work opportunities?

Certainly, developing countries are places where one can make a difference, small or large it doesn't matter. It's hard to think of China as being categorized as 'developing' sometimes, but I hope to leave a positive footprint wherever I go.


os5Tolu-Yemi from Nigeria

INTO course: NKU - MA International Economics and Business

INTO China in partnership with Nankai University degree:

International Economics and Business

Tolu Yemi is from Nigeria and studying MA International Economics and Business with INTO China in partnership with Nankai University.

See what Tolu had to say about studying with INTO.

I desired to study in China because the country offers the most adventurous academic environment for Economic study. My choice of this particular program is based on the belief that award-winning lecturers and renowned researchers would add to my knowledge of the subject area. 

Could you share some information about yourself?

In 2011, I received my undergraduate degree in Economics from Covenant University Ota Ogun State Nigeria.I have three elder siblings and as the youngest growing up has been different for me. I've lived with my parents my entire life. My Father is an Administrator and Missionary and my Mother is a Retired Teacher. The organisation my Father works for has its own secondary and university schools so I attended them and that made me close to home. As a consequence of my father’s employment, I have had the privilege to live in the Northern and Western part of Nigeria. During which time, I attended many primary schools, one secondary school which my mother worked at so I saw her every other day of the week and one university where my father worked as a registrar.

During my university study I also had the opportunity of working in a community bank in Omu-aran Kwara state Nigeria. I was taught how to use the accounting software which helped to make their work easier and faster. After graduation, I worked for two month in my university alumni office where I was involved in developing school policies and handled other administrative work.

What attracted you to China?

Choosing to study in China is something that I wanted to do. I wanted to be in a new place, to do something different from what I am used to and learn about Chinese culture and way of life, adapting and learning new things which I love. Learning the Chinese language is specially something I wanted to do, and living and studying in China is definitely going to achieve this goal.

Also, I desired to study in China because the country offers the most adventurous academic environment for Economic study. China is an economic “mystery” which the entire world seeks to unravel because of unstoppable growth, an inclusive economy and accelerated technological growth. Knowledge of Economics in China is therefore significant and learning her language a must.

I decided to attend Nankai University in order to add to my knowledge base. My choice of this particular program is based on the belief that award-winning lecturers and renowned researchers would add to my knowledge of the subject area. Through this experience, I therefore hope to develop the capacity to make decisions as a consultant to both the public and private sector towards the transformation of my nation.

Why did you choose to come to China with INTO University Partnerships?

After my graduation, I had planned to go for Chinese language training, because I was thinking of doing my master in China - second largest economy in the world. However, I had no idea how to go about it.

Started searching for schools through my agent UKEAS. In the process, I was told about the INTO program and what it had to offer. It was like the best thing ever. I was sure it was a great opportunity for me to go to China and to learn how to speak the language, so I applied.

INTO has been of tremendous help throughout the process, right from the beginning until now. I will say at this point that going into a new environment to study with an organisation like INTO is of a higher advantage. Despite the time difference between Nigeria and China, the application process was smooth. There was no delay in response for anything I needed. They always wanted to know how far and how well things were moving along. The network was good and they continually requested feedback.

Since I arrived here, right from the airport until now the INTO staff have been more than nice and very helpful taking time out to make sure I and the other students have no troubles. They have organised excursions, dinners to try Chinese food, a visit to Tianjin museum and other social events that have all been a great time for me. Not only has INTO helped me pursue a degree in China but adventure, fun and much more.


os6Olawoyin Adedigba from Nigeria

INTO course: MA International Economics and Business

INTO China in partnership with Nankai University degree:

International Economics and Business

Olawoyin is from Nigeria and studying the MA International Business and Economics degree at Nankai University.

See what Olawoyin had to say about studying with INTO. 

INTO has really helped with settling-in in China. They provided me with information and support any time I needed it. I think that it’s a very important thing for somebody who is coming to a new country for the first time. 

What brought you to China?

I was always fascinated with the history, culture, and also China’s miraculous development story in the recent decades, and in turn its current role in the world affairs. So when I heard about the programme, I was very interested, because I felt it was a good chance to learn the Chinese way of doing business, learn the language and immerse myself into the culture. I am hoping that studying in China and learning the language will put me in the position to play an important role in the trade between China and Nigeria. I also hope to be able to take advantage of the contacts, which I will have established during my stay here.

How has your experience been so far?

My experience in China so far has been a wonderful one. The Chinese people are extremely warm and welcoming. In fact, it’s extremely easy to make friends. All you need to do is give people a little bit of attention. In the first four days I probably made about 20 new friends and just about ten percent of them were able to speak English. So it’s not even about the language. Additionally, INTO has really helped with settling-in in China. They provided me with information and support any time I needed it. I think that it’s a very important thing for somebody who is coming to a new country for the first time.

What are your favourite places on Nankai University campus and in Tianjin?

On campus, hands down, it’s the second student canteen! The food is really good, the atmosphere is nice and it’s dirt cheap – definitely not your regular student canteen! As for Tianjin, there are simply too many places I like... But I am particularly fond of the Joy City shopping mall, because it has IMAX cinema, an ice rink, and it’s generally a nice place to hang out and just walk around. I also really like the Italian Style Street – it has good ambiance and it’s very close to the beautiful Haihe riverbank. And then there’s Green Man bar just off campus. It’s a very cosy place with very friendly staff, and some of the INTO’s events are held there.

Do you find it difficult to learn Mandarin?

Actually, I expected it would be much more difficult, so it was a positive shock for me. I found that there are similarities between Chinese and my native Uruba language. Both languages are tonal, so it is easy for me to understand the importance that tones play in Mandarin. Besides, surprisingly, some words sound strikingly similar, so at times it even helps with memorizing vocabulary. So the oral part is not too difficult. On the other hand, learning characters is very challenging. It’s nothing I have ever encountered before and it does require a lot of work.

Do you have a favourite class?

I wouldn’t single out one particular course as my favourite, because I generally like business focused classes. Besides, doing these courses in China and being taught by Chinese professors gives an insight into the particularities of business culture in China. So I find the classes to be very practical. And that’s also the reason why I enjoy INTO’s master classes. They’re very beneficial for us as students, because we’re getting practical experience from those who’ve been around for years, went through all the troubles and joys, and actually made it in China. So it’s definitely very inspiring to hear these influential people tell you about their life journeys and business advices.

What have you learnt about doing business in China so far?

I’ve noticed a few things. First of all, the Chinese people are very open to new ideas. You certainly have to take your time and foster people’s interest by explaining yourself and introducing what you want to do. But they’re essentially very curious and business-minded people. The second very important thing I’ve learnt is that you have to be very subtle, which comes down to the Chinese culture. Chinese people won’t do business with anyone they don’t trust, so the crucial thing is to build a personal connection. But as soon as that’s done, you have a good product and there are financial benefits for both sides - you can pretty much do anything.


os7Jaila Cramer from United States

INTO course: NKU - MA International Economics and Business

INTO China in partnership with Nankai University degree:

International Economics and Business

Jaila is from USA and studying the MA International Business and Economics Master's degree at Nankai University.

See what Jaila had to say about studying with INTO.

Because you are an international student, the professors take extra care to make sure that you understand the subjects. They know we are all from different backgrounds, both academic and cultural. 

What attracted you most about the INTO programme?

I knew I wanted to study abroad, and I was most interested in coming to Asia (due to my previous summer in China). What won me over, and made me take the leap, was the fact that it was a programme that was being facilitated by INTO. So I knew that I was going to be provided a support network, which is comforting, living so far from home, not to mention the extra step that they take to make sure that students are fully introduced to the culture through activities, such a visiting historical sites, cooking and language learning. These activities facilitate an environment that cultivates long-lasting friendships.

What’s your favourite class?

As an economics major, the classes here are particularly interesting, because the professors here are able to provide a Chinese perspective on top of the usual class material, which is interesting because of China’s current economic status. This is compiled with the fact that the classroom has students from Lithuania, Colombia, Nigeria. In this environment you don’t just learn course material, you walk away with an international perspective. In one of my favourite classes, Transnational Investment, for instance, we covered globalisation and it was really interesting to have a class discussion on the positive and negative aspects of this topic with such a diverse group of classmates.

What is your favourite place on campus?

I really like going to the open-air market on campus, because it’s bustling and high-energy. There are tons of fruits and other foods to try. There is also clothing and other household goods for you to practice your haggling and Chinese language skills on a daily basis. Practicing in familiar surroundings gives you confidence and builds a solid foundation, which motivates you to step outside of your comfort zone. The market is drastically different from a western shopping environment, full of unfamiliar sounds and colours, and its amazing to think that it has become part of my daily routine.

What has been your biggest challenge since you have been here?

I expected to miss my family and my friends, but I was more worried about making new friends here. What I found, aside from local Nankai students being both really friendly and being very excited to meet foreigners and exchange language skills, was that being here with international students, who also missed their family, was unifying. You are all experiencing the same emotions. You become close to many of the foreign students in your class, through all trying new things for the first time, trying Chinese food, hiking together on the Great Wall, singing at KTV. Being abroad can be a roller-coaster experience, and going through this together with other INTO students makes us form quicker and closer friendships. I was worried about missing my friends at home, but now I am worried about how much I am going to miss my new friends at Nankai!

What are the professors at Nankai University like?

Because you are an international student, the professors take extra care to make sure that you understand the subjects and they are more flexible and dynamic, because they know we are all from different backgrounds, both academic and cultural. Not only that, but because they know we are living far from home, they are really personable and give you lots of advice on living in China and are excited to hear what we have to say about our lives here. I feel like there is less of a student-teacher barrier than I have found in the past.

What piece of advice would you give to an international student coming to China?

Everybody knows that when you go somewhere new, there will be differences from home, but your experience is shaped by the way that you react to those experiences. My advice is to keep an open mind and understand the differences, rather than drawing comparisons. Stay positive, so that you can appreciate the differences, and when things get hard, keep a sense of humour and take things day- by-day. You should make the most of every moment that you are in China. Of course its important to stay on top of your studies, but I recommend you get your schoolwork done early, so you can take the weekends to explore the city and travel further afield to places your friends will only have ever seen in travel books. In Tianjin, there are no more excuses that some of the most amazing sites in the world are too far away, it really is on your doorstep and you should travel often and see as much of it as you can.


os8Sean Donahue from United States

INTO course: NKU - MA International Economics and Business

INTO China in partnership with Nankai University degree:

International Economics and Business

Sean is from the USA and studying the MA International Business and Economics at Nankai University.

See what Sean has to say about studying with INTO.

English Corner is a fast way to make Chinese friends. Everyone here speaks English to practice, there are games and it is fun. It is an easy way to make friends if the language barrier intimidates you. 

Why this programme?

I wanted to travel after I graduated. I studied Chinese Culture in senior year of my undergraduate but had not traveled much. I heard about INTO's summer program at my university and decided to go to Dalian, a beautiful coastal city. While I was there, I discovered the chance to go to Nankai. I wanted a Masters degree and I wanted to learn a second language. I figured the best way to do that was to go where it is spoken.

What is your favourite class?

‘Topics in China’s economic growth’ has got my attention the most. This is also the class with my favorite professor. He took me out to lunch two days ago. He is really friendly, lots of the professors here are. We socialize and discuss the course material outside of class.

Where do you like to hang out at Nankai?

I like the gym and some really neat restaurants on campus. Also, I go to the students’ activity center. There is a music room where I can practice guitar and piano. They even have concerts there. In Tianjin, I also like the major shopping center – Binjiang Dao. I went ice-skating there, it was a lot of fun and cheaper here than at home.

What do you like to eat in Tianjin?

Everyone here knows that, because I talk about it all the time. It is “Gong bao ji ding” – Kung Pow Chicken. It is simple to make and reminds me of stuff I like to eat at home. The differences I find mostly in the food here are the spices. I enjoy the barbeque on campus. Some of it is weird, like just the chicken skin and hearts and livers, but some of it is really delicious.

Have you had any challenges or problems and how have you overcome them?

Language barrier. When you are lost, it is not as easy to ask directions. I've overcome it by being social and making friends here. I have a lot of Chinese friends I hang out with frequently and they're always happy to help me out if I need to call them.

How have your studies been going?

First semester, we began working with a new system and getting used to the Chinese culture, running into some issues that I was not expecting. Second semester, I am really enjoying it. I've made my own study strategy and take more initiative on my own as a student. If there is something I am stuck with, I go through chains. I contact classmates, use emails for quicker responses, and have needed to be persistent. You can always find answers, but you need to be creative to get them.

Has your time here impacted your future plans?

I definitely want to conquer the world – joking. But, it is valuable to know Chinese. Nankai is #3 in China for economics. The opportunity is promising and appealing. Personally, I'm considering opening my own music studio here in Tianjin. I've made friends with lots of local musicians and producers. I learned networking before coming, but here I make so many connections. I meet people that are resourceful to me, but also they become my goods friends.

How is networking different here?

In China, it is easy to bond with people super fast. I'm helping Chinese with English, what that means is go and have dinner with their family, you get to know everything about them and they get to know everything about you first. In the States, it is just here is my ratings and resume. There is a lot of value on the relationships here. When I got a new apartment, my landlord offered to teach me how to cook and a little Chinese language in return for the same. There is a rapid progression of becoming friends and becoming friends with their friends, like a ripple effect. It happens at home, but it is much more intense and to a further extent here – it is almost overwhelming!

How do you meet friends here?

You can start talking with just about anyone. It isn’t light chit-chat either, they are excited to meet you and know where you are from and share about themselves. There is a sincere effort to become your friend. English Corner is a fast way to make Chinese friends. Everyone here speaks English to practice, there are games and it is fun. It is an easy way to make friends if the language barrier intimidates you.

What do you do in your spare time?

Mostly, I hangout with Chinese friends. We go to KTV, Chinese karaoke; we go shopping or have lunch together. Eating here is a big deal. If you want to be friends with someone, you have to have lunch with them first. It is like a rule, you can't be friends unless you eat together. It is even how they ask how you are doing “Chi la ma?” Have you eaten? “Chi, Chi, Chi” -yes, I'm good.


os9Vytautas Rimkus from Lithuania

INTO course: NKU - MA International Economics and Business

INTO China in partnership with Nankai University degree:

International Economics and Business

Vytautas is from Lithuania and studying the MA International Business and Economics degree at Nankai University.

See what Vytautas had to say about studying with INTO.

Living here simply means learning something every time I come out, because I have to challenge myself constantly. 

What brought you to China?

Most of the foreigners studying in China that I’ve met, mentioned country’s increasingly important role in the world and great opportunities related to that as the main reasons to study here. I would be lying if I was to say that these things did not influence my decision at all. But I also think that opportunities are everywhere as long as being in a certain place makes you feel passionate. And for me it’s in Asia. Ever since I went to South Korea as an exchange student during my last year at Sussex I knew I will be going back one way or another. Upon returning to the UK I decided to change my area of study and I did a course in East Asian Business at Sheffield - one of the best decisions I‘ve made so far. Although I focused on Korea, I‘ve also taken classes related to China and when the opportunity to continue my studies in China with INTO came about, it was tempting to say the least. I‘m happy I chose to do it!

What are differences of studying in China compared to studying in the UK?

I have studied in some of the best academic institutions in the UK, Korea and now China, and I can say that teaching in Asia differs from the UK. Teaching of social sciences in the UK focuses heavily on exposing students to challenging academic ideas and fostering their critical thinking. In Asia, on the other hand, although going out and reading further is encouraged, the classes usually stick to textbooks. However, looking at theory through case studies is emphasised much more, which I find very interesting. Moreover, because of networking being very socially accepted in Asia there seems to be a closer relationship between universities, professors and the private sector. I wouldn’t say one system is better than the other – they’re simply different and each is rewarding.

How is life in China different from life in Europe?

What I learn in the classroom is just a tiny part of what I take from being here. In fact, I think it all comes down to the experience of studying in a culture very different from what you’re used to. Living here simply means learning something every time I come out, because I have to challenge myself constantly – trying to find my bus by deciphering characters in the bus stop, trying to explain where I want to go to a cabbie and ending up calling a Chinese friend to translate, buying something for way more than you should have paid at a market. But after a while it’s very satisfying to be able to read the previously incomprehensible pictures and to take the right bus to the right place. And cab drivers start to understand what you‘re saying and suddenly you realise that you‘re having a chat with them. And then there are these great moments when you know that you bargained well, and even though the vendor seems to be unhappy about the price he gave you, he accepts it, because you played by the rules and you did well.

What about social life?

Social life in China is certainly different from what I was used to in the UK or Lithuania.First of all, meeting local people has never been easier. Chinese people are extremely friendly and welcoming, and if you put effort into friendships, they will last and will be extremely rewarding in so many ways. In terms of nightlife, on the other hand, it is important to realise that prosperity is a fairly new concept for Tianjin, and the city is still trying to define itself. So the nightlife is certainly not as rich and diverse as in Europe. That being said, new places are popping out around town pretty much every week and it’s simply hard to keep track of the growth. Moreover, thinking in business terms, there’s clearly a niche for those interested in the entertainment business!

Anything you would like to say to an international student coming to China?

I’d like to say: ‘go for it, it’ll be an experience of your life’. It’s not always easy, it can be frustrating and cultural differences can wear you out completely on bad days. But isn’t that how you learn? Coming to China is a massive decision, but I can guarantee that it’s an experience that will change you. I know it certainly changed me. And hey, I already have so many stories to tell my grandchildren, that I have to start sorting them out!


os10Nawaporn Sirisan from Thailand

INTO course: Chinese language summer programme

INTO China in partnership with Nankai University degree:

Chinese Language Summer Programme

Nawaporn is from Thailand and studying the Chinese Language Summer Programme with INTO China in partnership with Nankai University.

Iʼm glad that I chose to study with INTO as the staff are so helpful and supportive 

Why did you choose INTO China?

Actually, I went to an agent in Thailand and they told me about a new programme in China, they then helped me get contact with INTO. I really wanted to go to China and thought INTO China looked suitable. I checked their website which was very impressive, they also had a good Facebook page. The information that they sent me was really useful. These factors together helped me decide.

What do you do on a typical day at Nankai University?

In the morning I go to class and then have lunch in the canteen. In the afternoon I explore around the city, have a ride around campus or sometimes go out for a walk. Nankai University is a big place and everyone knows where it is, so you can go out anywhere in the city and still easily find your way back to ʻNankai Daxueʼ (Nankai University).

What have you enjoyed most about being in China so far?

My favourite thing so far has been the daily classes. The teachers are really good and my Chinese has improved at lot. Outside of class, I really enjoy shopping around the city. If I go out of the campus I always end up making new friends. To begin with I couldnʼt ev

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