The SWUFE student experience in Chengdu, China

Honour Israel-Schuchardt - July 2018

Honour Israel-Schuchardt
Bachelor of Management Studies (Finance and Strategic Management)

I can honestly say that I have never learnt so much in two weeks as I did over 14 days in Chengdu. I highly recommend the SWUFE Summer Camp experience to everyone studying a business degree, especially if you are interested in China.

However, you simply cannot make the most your time if you are not willing to exit your comfort zone. As an example, personally, I hate needles; but that didn’t stop me from volunteering as a demonstration for acupuncture! It’s made that fear a tiny bit less present in my mind and I gained an interesting new experience in the process.

Fair warning, the food in the Sichuan province is much spicier than we are used to, so I recommend learning the Mandarin translation for “a little” (bit of spice), and the different types of meat! You can get by ordering food with that vocabulary; though, noodles, rice, dumplings and soup are also good words to add if you’re feeling keen.

A typical day during the programme goes something like this:

  • 7:30am: Wake up for a buffet breakfast in the hotel. In China they don’t really have 'breakfast foods' in the sense that we do (though those are provided in the hotel); everything is just food (what we would have for dinner). I recommend trying the local dishes they prepare for you because there is so much choice. Why would you want to have some budget toast?
  • 8:30am: Leave for the morning lecture, which is 3 hours, but most of the speakers are interesting and discuss a diverse range of topics that you have probably not been exposed to so the time flies by.
  • 12:00pm: Lunch, which can be eaten in the university canteen or bought in the streets.
  • 1:30pm: Afternoon lecture or cultural activity. Questions are encouraged at the end of every lecture and you can learn a lot from other students’ thoughts. Don’t be overwhelmed at the depth they go into; many of them are postgraduate students and it accelerates your learning exponentially.
  • 4:30pm: Cultural activity (if there was a lecture before), or free time where you can explore the city or relax in your room. You will find yourself exhausted after the first few days; I’m of the opinion that you are only there for two weeks so you should make the most of it now and sleep when you come home, but it’s up to you. I did drink up to four coffees a day to achieve this, but it was worth it...I never drink coffee.
  • Evening: If there is a cultural activity you might not get home till 8pm, but otherwise the rest of the afternoon/evening is free time. I highly recommend doing some exploring and finding the ladies dancing in the square, it’s so much fun to join in and they love it when you do!

The SWUFE Summer Camp has been the highlight of my degree and I hope I have encouraged you to apply!

Garth Tunnicliffe - July 2018

Garth Tunnicliffe
Bachelor of Communication Studies (Public Relations and Leadership Communication)

Returning from Discover SWUFE and Chengdu, I put off writing this review of my trip. Why? Simply put, it was too fantastic to articulate and I felt I couldn’t do the experience justice.

If you get the opportunity to apply for this scholarship, do it. The trip is a once in a lifetime experience. You will meet a multicultural community from all walks of life and create an invaluable network of contacts from across the globe.

What management degree you are studying doesn’t matter - the vast range of expertise from the international students only contributed to the learning experience.

Exploring the city

The city, campus and heritage of Chengdu all contributed to an amazing experience. The sheer size of the city with 14 million people is an experience in itself. The organised trips are excellent; make sure you plan your weekend too though – I recommend Mount Qingcheng.

For getting around, the subway is highly effective. Didi or taxis are great (get a local to help you) or ask a fellow to unlock a bike for you. Embrace the culture, barter, enjoy the people, explore.

Meeting new people

The 'fellows' - 20 Chinese students from SWUFE who acted as our guides for the two-weeks - are phenomenal, so get to know them if possible. Being local, they have a lot to share and are wanting to enjoy the summer school as much as you.

Interact with your peers as much as possible, being part of such a diverse multicultural group is enlightening.

Food and eating out

Knowing where to eat can be tricky. Talk to the fellows, try the canteen (if only once or twice) and explore – if a cafe/restaurant looks busy, it’s probably good. Willingness to try new foods is a must; your palate will be in for a treat. When the food is good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, it’s really bad!

Most importantly, go with an open mind. You will not be disappointed. Panda panda!