Georg Voge from Germany shares his story about studying at Nankai University, Tianjin.
Personal Experience at Nankai University
Studying in China has been an amazing experience to say the least.
When I first arrived in Tianjin in the summer of 2014 I didn’t know the town nor its people but just nine month later, I made new friends and explored most parts of the city center.
The staff at Nankai Business School is very kind and offers to help in every situation. This support greatly enhances a smooth transition to China.
However, the workload in our first semester has been overwhelming at times. In our first term we had classes everyday, both in the morning from 9:00 to 11:45 and in the afternoon from 14:00 to 17:30 except for the weekends. In addition, many assignments had to be completed in time although most of which had no academic significance. In this context, it is important to note that based on our feedback the structure of the MBA program is very likely to change for future students.
Now in the second semester there is much more leisure time which can be utilized for language learning or doing sports. We now have two Chinese classes a week (compared to one class a week during the first semester) and some of our optional modules are combined with Chinese students.
Nankai has always been a comparatively liberal University in mainland China, putting great emphasis on the exchange between Chinese and foreign students. Even though the international MBA program is taught completely in English (btw. the English level of the majority of professors is pretty good) outside of the university campus most locals only speak Chinese.
For the start however, Tianjin features a dynamic expat community which usually comes together for quiz nights on Wednesdays at Indie Bar. Besides Indie there are a number of popular bars and clubs around the town.
LaBamba located just outside the university campus (close to Tianjin University east gate) is always a good choice to go for a beer. If you love doing sports Nankai University has a great stadium which features an indoor swimming pool and outdoor sports ground where you can play football, volleyball, badminton, table tennis and rugby.
If you have never been to China before, I would recommend you to stay in the student dormitories located on campus for the initial six month after arrival. It takes some time and effort to find a suitable apartment outside campus. At some point however most of my friends moved outside the campus where they share a flat with other students.
Personally, I am living about 10 km away from Nankai University and although there is a bus stop very near to the Business School I decided early on to buy an electric scooter (no license needed) which makes travelling around the city much more convenient.
On the other hand, the subway system in Tianjin is quite extensive with more lines being built by the time of this writing. Unfortunately, there is no subway station in close distance to the university. Tianjin is a modern metropolis where you can find many shopping malls, excellent universities as well as an Olympic sports park.
Especially during the winter the air pollution can be quite disturbing which makes air purifiers and face masks a much needed necessity. In the summer however, the air quality is much better so that local street markets and parks become very attractive places to spend some time with friends outside. Since Tianjin is very international it is easy to find a large variety of different foods ranging from burgers over pizza to Chinese dumplings. Over a good meal it is easy to make new friends, plan new ventures and share exciting stories from around the world.
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