ZJU <3


So even though I was very much taken aback by the differences in the first few weeks, I knew that if I was going to have a great ALP journey, I would have to adapt well and make some changes in my mindset to ensure I have a great time there and make the most out of the opportunity.

When I actually did that, I found the beauty in many of the differences as compared to Singapore.

Firstly, since I absolutely hated the traffic, I learnt that to get to somewhere far away, though taxi is cheap, i should always choose another form of transport. That is when I started exploring taking the metro and even forced myself to learn how to ride a bicycle well (I was very bad at it) since bike loaning is so convenient in China. With this, I not only gained more familiarity with China Transport system, I learnt to ride a bicycle confidently and also saved tons of money! When it comes to crossing roads and constant honking, that I just simply got used to it after a while and I found beauty in the traffic where the cars actually give pedestrians the right of way! Well in SG that is also supposed to be the case but cars in SG often drive past a lot faster and only allow pedestrians to cross ahead of them at zebra crossings. But in China, you can cross anywhere and the cars will actually slow down for you. This made road crossing really efficient and once you get used to it, it becomes a breeze.

Secondly, addressing language and communication barrier. I grew to be accustomed to how they speak. Not in terms of their accents but more in terms of their quick communication ways. I kept my sentence shorter but encapsulated what I needed to tell them. This worked out really well as i not only good get my message across, I managed to befriend some people too. People like the security guard that always sits at the front lobby of our hostel and also an elderly lady who sells street food at the street behind our hostel. On one occasion, I even got a free green bean soup from the lady since I was a regular and communicated with her well.

Lastly, in terms of adapting the system differences compared to Singapore. This very much just took a bit of time getting used to. After I got used to it, I started appreciating the systems. Such as the fact that I can literally not bring my wallet out and still go about a full day since everything can be done through my phone. Also the fact that I do not need to live my hostel room to do all my shopping, even for necessities such as soap, food or toilet paper, everything can be bought through taobao and food delivery apps. And they come so quickly. There was this courier that guarantees next day delivery no matter where the package was coming for. And it is at an additional fee of only 15 yuan (3SGD). Standard delivery came in about 2-3 days which is also very fast.

All in all, I guess it was all a matter of getting used to it and making the best of these situations. And when that is done, we will often see the good in things and feel happy that this experience happened rather than not.

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