From 20 June until 4 July, I had the opportunity to go to Jiangnan University in Wuxi, China for a design summer school, with some other students from Plymouth University.
The design summer school focused on 3D printing, creating a product within groups as well as having the opportunity to visit different cities such as Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou. As well as making some incredible memories in China with both the Chinese and Plymouth students, I feel like I have made amazing friends and have had an unforgettable experience in China overall.
Wuxi is an amazing city. It is quite big and going into the centre by their metro is quite convenient from the university. The campus is huge; they have their own school bus as well as multiple canteens where students can get their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Commuting between the accommodation and the design school on the bus was fun as we got to know the students and since it was humid, the bus ride cooled us down until we had to get off.
Some Chinese students who took part in the design summer school with us were amazing. Being put in groups, we had our own Chinese buddies who would show us around Wuxi, tell us about Chinese culture, and show us activities we could do together in our spare time. We had the chance to go to a karaoke place where we had our own booth to sing our hearts out. We also went to Nanchang Street, which is a road which had loads of shops, so we were able to do some shopping. At one point during the street we went to a traditional tea shop to experience Chinese tea culture, tasting different tea as a group and eventually having dinner with a boat show to accompany it.
Alongside seeing places in Wuxi, the Plymouth group decided to go to Shanghai for one night. We took the train, got to our hostel and explored the main parts of Shanghai. As a group we went around and saw the Pearl Tower and the finance tower, then in the morning we visited The Bund and Yu Gardens which had a market and bazaar. Exploring Shanghai was amazing, being surrounded by the skyscrapers one day, then being able to see them all from a view was incredible. I have never been more amazed at a city with their neon signs and lights all around!
More than anything, I will cherish the friends and memories I've made while being at this summer school. From trying food I've never had before, to seeing some of Wuxi’s night life, visiting Alibaba HQ: a 3D printing factory that can print out houses and garden furniture and the biggest Buddha in the world. I never thought that so many adventures could happen within just two weeks! It was interesting to see how the Chinese students work and how they plan, I can say that I have learned a different approach to working and achieving goals in terms of design, as well as working in a team of people with different skill sets. This is truly a trip I will never forget!