How I Came to China

Story time! Or rather, explanation time! Doesn’t sound quite as exciting though. For those who are reading this and don’t really know how I came to live in Henan for 5 months (and for those who may not know all the details), I want to outline the steps that lead me here. They’re not very complicated, but I thought it would be good to write them down.

This began in September 2015, when I finally graduated with a BSc (Computer Science). I applied for a Master’s degree at the same faculty at University of Ljubljana and for an Erasmus exchange in Belgium which I would do in the first year of my Masters. I only really applied for this MSc because of the exchange, otherwise I wasn’t too interested in it. I was accepted to go to Belgium, under the condition that I got into the Masters, of course. Which I didn’t. So that was a bummer.

I found out about this in the middle of October, so it was a bit late to apply anywhere else. I didn’t really know what to do, so I figured I would work a little, volunteer, maybe do EVS (European Voluntary Service) in 2016, and try and figure out what I want to do next year.

My friend Tina said she found a very cheap Chinese language course at the Confucius Institute in Ljubljana and if I wanted to join. Why not, I said. I love learning languages. Chinese might not have been my first choice for a language that doesn’t use the Roman alphabet (I would probably choose Japanese), but I find it very interesting none the less and seemed like a good opportunity. The course included 32 hours of instruction and a test at the end. I loved it. It has been a really long time since I felt such a yearning to learn something.

About halfway through the course I found out about a project called Planting Cities through the Voluntariat website. It was an EVS project, but it was supposed to take place in India, Nepal and China. I had no idea you could do EVS outside of Europe. The exchange part of the project would last for 5 months, from March to July. Anyway, I thought about it for a day or two, and then I applied. I chose China because I was learning Chinese right at that time. We were told there was a selection process, but as far as I knew, me and Sabina could’ve been the only ones who applied for China. Either way, in January we were accepted, then they moved the project for one month (so it began in April and it will last until the end of August) and now here we are.

More about the project in future posts.

The featured image on this post is from the Guangshan Botanical Garden.

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