Eddie Rickaby

The thing that hit me the most when I first arrived in China was the weather. It is so very different to that of Wales. Chongqing is known as one of the hottest places in China. Not long after I first arrived they had, apparently, the hottest day in a hundred odd years; the temperature hit 45°C. So if you can’t handle the heat, stick to the north of China!

The next thing that was a bit of a shock was the Chinese food which ironically, on the whole, doesn’t taste much like that of my Chinese takeaway at home. Not to say that the food in China is not as good, this is not the case at all, but just a little different and with a lot more variety. There are many dishes that I am really going to miss when I leave. I hope my local Chinese restaurant is up to the challenge when I return!

I have currently been in China for eight months and can say I have had a really enjoyable time; obviously not without some difficulties but very rare even in the comfort of your own domestic country can you say you have had a problem free eight months. The biggest issue for me was leaving my family, friends and girlfriend behind for so long; yet the wonders of technology (in particular ‘Skype’) have softened the blow, enabling me to keep in regular contact with them through e-mail, social networking sites (i.e. ‘Facebook’), ‘Skype’ and relatively cheap mobile phone calls.

Coming to China has made a profound impact on me. I have witnessed the incredible growth that is going on in the country and the extremely bright future it has ahead of it. It has really reassured me of my decision to come and spend a year out here. I know it will affect my decisions when I return to the UK. I want to continue learning Chinese and in a years time would like to return to China, this time Shanghai, and study the language in a university there.

I believe my character has matured a lot in the past eight months as well; I no longer feel so pressured by the ‘rat race’ that people find themselves in in the UK; my perspective on life as a whole has changed for the better and my priorities have become clearer. I realise this might sound like the cliché of ‘go travelling and you will find yourself young grasshopper’, but I can really vouch for the beneficial affects this sort of thing can have on your character. I would, without a doubt, recommend such an adventure to any one who is remotely interested.