Xiamen, the first day
The first thing that grabbed my attention when I put my first steps on Chinese soil was that the people were very friendly. Everyone was ready to assist you as much as possible. Although it is quite difficult to understand each other when you both don’t speak the same language, they still did their best to communicate. To cut a long story short, I entered a taxi and drove towards the hotel near the residential towers. Not everything went as smooth as I had expected. I couldn’t get money from the bank to pay my deposit for my room, but fortunately I was able to temporarily borrow money from another student. After having called the bank, I was able to get money in the evening and pay my rent and also give the borrowed money back to the student. Finally my “Chinese dream” could really begin. When I first entered my room I saw that it was very clean and it gave me a smile on my face. From the balcony I had a really nice view and I could look far into Xiamen. In the evening I went out with the group and had a short guided tour by an old CHECK-IT student. The city was beautifully illuminated and I noticed that many shops were still open although it was very late. The Chinese people were very curious about us, because they don’t see foreigners that often. They made me feel like a movie star and that’s how they treat you. You could say that the first day was really incredible and I hope that I will be even more surprised in the next days.
Xiamen, six weeks into the adventure
I have been in China for longer than one month now and I started my project in Jimei. Jimei is near Xiamen and I work at the office of KOOBOO. KOOBOO enables people to make their own website through the in-house built application. My assignment is to make sure that everyone can understand this application, which means that I’m testing it myself. I provide the product owner with feedback every time I see there is room for improvement. I will tell it to the project owner and he will work on it. In this I help him to make a tool that everyone can use; even a six year old child could make a website. It is very nice to work in the company because the people here work very hard, so you also get motivated to work just as hard as they do. As the office is quite far from the Software Park, I now also live in Jimei in an apartment with two other students. At first it was very hard to find a taxi and use the bus because we do not speak Chinese and the taxi drivers don’t come near our home. So it took some time to fit in but eventually it was worth it because we don’t have to be up so early to drive to the company in the morning. I work at CHECK-IT on Fridays, and take part in the cultural activities on Thursdays. Working at KOOBOO and taking part in CHECK-IT provides me with the best of both worlds!!
Written by Daan Kolenbrander.