We arrived at the Zhejiang Zijingang Campus after five hours of flight and half and hour of bus ride. The Campus may not be as new as SUTD but it is so big and scenic. It was like a small city surrounded by lakes, canals and grass patches.

The hostel was a little less impressive than the rest of the campus. The furniture was in proper condition but the room was kind of dusty and dirty. However, the room became kind of cosy after we thoroughly cleaned it.

We then had a briefing on all the themes we could do for our ALP. There were many exciting themes to choose from!

There is a wide variety of food options around the campus. Apart from the canteens, there is also a “backstreet” (后街)behind the school that sells lots of good food at extremely affordable prices.

We set up our SIM cards and bank accounts on the second and third day. Everything was so convenient after that, especially because we could start using Alipay (payment app), Didi (taxi booking app), Taobao etc. China’s payment and lifestyle apps system is so much more advance than the rest of the world. Everything is digitally interconnected through QR codes, making all bookings and transactions instantaneous. I very rarely had to use any cash.

Some of us went to visit Hushu School for Special needs to discuss with the teachers what we can help with as volunteers. The light-hearted decorations of the school really reminded me of my carefree kindergarten days. I hope the kids there are as worry-free as I was then.

Over the weekends, we had a buddy day where some local students brought us around Hangzhou. I went to the botanical gardens but everything was just green, like Singapore’s botanical garden. I think it would have been much more impressive if it was mid-spring or mid-autumn.

The first week was pretty much just settling down and we got free time to explore Hangzhou and hunt for all the good food. Hope Hangzhou continues to treat me well for the rest of my stay here!

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