Adjusting in China

My first months here in China to attend the Sino-Dutch program of CHECK-IT passed by so quickly! However, the first few weeks were harder then I would have thought. Even the smallest things in China were difficult: sleeping, eating and getting a taxi were quite the challenge. The beds were hard and not soft as I am used to. The food is completely different and the taxi drivers speak… Chinese. I’ve experienced that your body and your mind have to adapt to a whole new world. A tip for all the future Dutch CHECK-IT students: just try every dish, discover how good the Chinese food tastes and you will find out which food you like!! 🙂1

I quickly noticed how friendly the Chinese people are, they never get mad and they will help you whenever they can. The Chinese people have a lot of respect for any person and they won’t make fun of anyone. That’s something we Dutch people can learn from. Likewise, I feel safe in Xiamen. I haven’t had any bad encounter and I have not seen any criminality so far.

At CHECK-IT I am working on a website project together with two Chinese classmates. During this project I experience the Chinese way of working and I am showing my Chinese classmates the Dutch approach to web development. It is a great opportunity to learn from each other, not only in terms of culture but also in terms of technical skills! We Dutch people are more focused on documentation and the Chinese are much more practical. It gave me some great insights on how to approach projects more time efficiently.

For now I haven’t really longed for my home country: I am having a great adventure and it is an experience of a lifetime. I made many new friends and learned so many things that will help me in future. It’s a shame that my visa is only valid for half a year. My plan after CHECK-IT is to experience life outside of Xiamen, to learn even more about the Chinese culture and life-style.

I would like to thank the CHECK-IT staff and Xiamen University for this great opportunity. I can recommend anybody to follow the program. You will learn so much about China and it helps a lot with your own personal development!

3I hope I have given you a good insight of my life in Xiamen so far, and it has only been 7 weeks. In fact, the adventure has only just started…no doubts I will encounter even more adventures and things to learn during my stay in China.

Jeroen Nick Hoek – CHECK-IT-14