So far, the most important thing I have learned being a Westerner in China is patience. Through out the time traveling from Beijing to Hong Kong to Xiamen, I have had a hard time getting my internet to work. I could not use the internet at all on my computer in Beijing and in Hong Kong. Although I have gotten it to work in Xiamen it is very slow. I spent over two hours trying to check my e-mail, but it did not work. I learned from the different graduate students in the lab I will be working in, that Xiamen University has what they call “education internet.” This means that accessing sites that are not considered Chinese education materials takes a lot longer. It has been a bit of an adjustment; however it seems to be forcing me to be less dependent on the internet which is a good thing.
I have not yet begun my research, however I have met the professor and students I will be working with and they are all extremely nice. I have toured the labs and the facilities that I will be conducting research in and am very excited to get started. The students are very helpful and go out of their way to teach Chinese culture. Recently I was invited to go with one of the students to a BBQ where I met her friends and learned about what Chinese students do in their spare time. They taught me different games they play and provided me with delicious food.
I think that the time that I will be able to spend with the different students will help prepare me for collaborative research with different countries in my future career.