The first welcoming words to the new batch of students, once more very diverse and international, starting their Master’s in Contemporary Development of China were mostly of sympathy. Many of the teaching staff had gone through similar experiences during their own studies abroad, and could relate to the mix of excitement and distress that we all feel at the start of such a new experience.However, it is unlikely that any of them were welcomed as warmly as we were. The nerves that we had felt joining a new program and meeting all of our fellow students for the first time soon melted away as second-year students and staff joined effort to make us feel comfortable.
From a presentation by Martin on student life at BNU we came to realize that we wouldn’t only be studying at SSDPP, but also going on exciting trips, meeting experts in the field and generally having a lot of fun with our fellow students. Icebreaking activities by Silvio had us all running around SSDPP looking for hidden treasure, and acting out words in order to find the notorious coffee thief in the room. As Jennifer told us about her own map of Beijing, with her favourite places and sights highlighted, our fingers itched to start exploring ourselves and create our own private maps. Finally we were clearly explained what our curriculum for the next two years would look like, and what interesting courses we would be able to take.
While we understand that there have been some adjustment problems for our fellow students, being the first batch to start this program and therefore kind ofserving as guinea pigs, they all assured us that they would help us have an easier time. Of course, we are very grateful for all the support offered from all sides, and are sure that we have chosen well and will have a great and productive time at BNU. It is fantastic to feel so welcome, and already on the first day become a true part of the SSDPP family.
- Mette Bekius, 1st years student