Getting started in China

So after we were off on our first week here, we finally tried to get started with our work. By the way, I spent that week sightseeing and Gulangyu Island is really nice. But anyway, back to topic. We came to work on our first day totally curious about the Chinese students we will be working with for the next months.

We started out with an opening ceremony. First the staff of CHECK-IT introduced themselves, followed by us and the Chinese students. It turned out that they had already prepared a number of projects for us. However, it took the whole week to figure out who is doing what. So we just spent our time on getting to know the Chinese students. Well, if we weren’t busy circumventing the Great Firewall of China.

As all of you most likely know it’s normally not possible to access sites like Twitter or Facebook in China. But being the social media addicts we are, we already thought about that. The obvious choice would be to use a VPN service but good luck with that if you haven’t set it up yourself. Nevertheless that’s not the only option, I won’t get into details here but it might have something to do with some kind of proxy and Google servers.

By the time all of us knew for sure what we would be working on, it was already time for the first bank holiday for the Mid-Autumn festival, one of the big Chinese festivals which originated in moon worshipping. In some regions this festival is also called Mooncake festival, based on the tradition to share mooncakes with family and friends. Especially in Xiamen another tradition is quite popular: the so called mooncake gambling, a game that includes gambling for mooncakes with a few dices.

So when we finally started working we only had one week left before the next national holiday related to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China 64 years ago. Anyway, we used the remaining days to start working. I’m working in a group with one Chinese student and we’re working on developing a WordPress plugin that supports editing while using the front-end. Last but not least I also noted something interesting while working here, whenever the timing allowed it and nearly always in the breaks a lot of the Chinese students take a nap. What confused us Dutch students in the beginning now seems like a good idea, so I just join in.

Originally published on sax.nu.

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