Degree

Bachelor of Engineering – Honours (Civil) and Bachelor of Commerce (Finance)

Host

Chongqing University, China

Session

Winter Break 2017

Course

Chongqing University Civil Engineering Summer School 2017

Duration

14 days

Report

This course was the perfect mix of learning and exploring. In total, we had seven lectures which were each presented by a different professor from a different country. We also had the opportunity to visit two construction sites in the city and to take a tour around the labs at Chongqing University. The rest of our time was spent sight-seeing, exploring the city and surrounding areas, and making friends with both the locals and other students in the program who had come from Italy, America, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, and Australia.

Arriving in Chongqing was a unique and eye-opening experience. The campus was overwhelmingly big however everybody, even strangers were very accommodating and helpful, it was not hard to find where I needed to go. Once all the students had arrived on campus we had the opening ceremony where each university introduced themselves and presented some information about their country, university and culture. We were then split up into groups and each group was assigned a volunteer from Chongqing university who would be our main point of contact if we needed anything while we were there. Everybody was issued with a card to pay for meals on campus and a substantial sum of cash to pay for meals outside of campus.

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We stayed at the university accommodation which allowed us to experience the university from the perspective of a local student. The accommodation was close to amazing places to eat and had pretty good night life. Take the advice of the volunteers when choosing a place to eat as there is so much to choose from and they mostly know where the good ones are. It was extremely common to find buffet’s, all you can eat and drink for around 40-60 Yuan ($8-$12). You could also get basic meals from the canteen only a couple of dollars. Some of the more interesting foods we tried were chicken stomach, cow brains and eel. One thing to be very careful of is water, I do not recommend drinking this or brushing your teeth with the water under any circumstance. You can buy bottled water for almost nothing and it is much safer.

It is also important to not be stuck without water during a day of sightseeing. The weather in china was hot and humid almost all the time and it would be difficult to keep up without being properly hydrated. Also, be sure to pack for these conditions, even when it is raining it is extremely humid. Some of the sight-seeing included a trip on the high-speed rail to Chengdu to see the pandas, the Dazu Rock carvings and the Three Gorges museum. There is so much to see and explore in Chongqing alone let alone China and I really recommend extending the trip if possible.

Getting around the city and back to the accommodation was easy no matter what mode of transport you took. I recommend trying out as much as you can because taxi’s bicycles and the subway are all such a different experience. I recommend bringing a Chinese volunteer for your first time on the subway as the stations can be difficult to find, however once you know where the correct stations are getting around is a straight forward process as most text is translated in English underneath the Chinese writing.

When the program came to an end each group gave a presentation about what they learnt and reflected on the experiences they had shared during their time together. Overall the summer school was an extremely valuable experience and I cannot recommend it enough.

Daniel Zanatta

Daniel Zanatta is a current student from the School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wollongong.