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Stay with Geordies---amazing experience in Newcastle
Author:Joyee Wong  Date:2017-07-03  Clicks:

Qu Zhaodan, a master’s student majoring in regional economics in the Institute for the Development of Central China at Wuhan University, is also doing her double Master’s degree in the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) in Newcastle University through a cooperation program. Recently, she told us about her delightful stories and activities in Newcastle.

The moment when I first met Newcastle

Newcastle is a magical city especially at dusk, “It conquered me at the moment when the sun set from the west.” This was a line in her micro-film, but also her own inner monologue.

In Qu’s eyes, Newcastle is a vigorous city with a hooping nightlife. “You can see people in fancy dresses walking down the streets at dusk. They come to pubs and night clubs, dancing around with glasses of liquor. During midnight, clubs and bars are still crowded. The street would not return to its calmness until early morning, with people back to their offices and schools after a whole night’s spree.”

“Newcastle is also a city with friendliness. Whether you are ordering food, waiting for a bus, or buying clothes, there are always some loving staff and people talking to you. It makes me feel at home.” Also, despite Newcastle not being a large city, it has everything you need. The distance between the university campus and the city center is just 2 minutes on foot. The place where Qu lives is just 5 minutes away from the city center and there is a huge park next to it.

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Qu Zhaodan in the Quayside

Sleepless nights in the Philip Robinson Library

The 24/7 Philip Robinson Library provides Qu with a perfect place to study. She likes sitting beside the windows, which is surrounded by the balmy sunshine, and the view outside the windows makes her feel at peace.

“The Robinson Library is always packed with students. Even during meal time, you can see lots of students sitting on the ground with their friends, taking out their prepared lunch box, chatting and discussing about their school work.” Qu says that everyone here is hungry for knowledge. They work day and night, and nobody wastes a minute. When the night falls, the library becomes much quieter than during the day time. People around will lower their voices. Only the percussion of keyboards can be heard. Qu enjoyed this kind of silence, and spent a lot of nights there working on her papers and essays.

Another thing that made Qu stay up in the library was the lovely atmosphere. People studying there not only engaged with their own work, but also encouraged each other, even strangers. It has become part of our community. 

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The Philip Robinson Library

Living overseas alone is always not easy, especially for an international student who has to complete all of the course assignments from both Wuhan University and Newcastle University at the same time. Different research methods and distinct ways of thinking made everything difficult for her at the beginning. The regional economic researches focus more on quantitative analysis in mainland China, while the MA program she is involved in—Local and Regional Development—requires more on qualitative method. Although the big variation made her confused at first, she met her friendly classmates, affectionate course leaders and supervisor who helped her adapt to a whole new learning style in CURDS.

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The teaching approaches and academic methods from Chinese Universities and Newcastle were both distinct

In early May, she attended the 2017 International Conference on China Urban Development in London and reported her work in one of the sessions. She was the only master student who received the abstract acceptance and did the presentation. She mentioned that such an experience made her more confident for her further research.

 

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Qu in the 2017 International Conference on Urban Development 

The Chinese New Year Gala—“I Made It and We Made It!”

The North East England Five-University Chinese New Year Gala is one of the biggest and highest-standard festival celebrations in the North East among Chinese communities. First organised in 2008, it has increased in size and popularity over the years, with the audience now more than doubling in its size. The celebration is not just confined within the Chinese scholar, migrants and professional communities, it also invites British officials and locals to share in the excitement.

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Qu participated this gala as director-in-chief

“The programmes are all created by Chinese students and are all carefully selected and rehearsed. This is a very challenging and rewarding task.” Commented Qu as the chief director of the show. “The pain will make us gain.” According to her, the aim of this activity was to “bring homely warmth to overseas students, to show the traditional Chinese culture to British guests, and to illustrate the life and influence of Chinese migrants in the local community.” The theme for the gala of 2017 was “Home Sweet Home”, and a distinctive feature of this year’s gala was that it was bridged together by three brilliant short films produced by students. Each one carried a particular mood experienced by overseas students—the sorrow of parting, the excitement of living in a new place and the affection towards cultural infusion. As Qu wrote in the opening welcome, “Home is where love dwells, and love is shared by everyone in attendance”.

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Qu preparing for the rehearsal

Being a chief director of the whole event, Qu devoted a lot of time and energy into it.  Although it was not the first time for her to be a director, it was the first time for her to team up with a new crew to make a wonderful performance and bring joy to the audience. There were over 100 people in the crew, and they helped out the whole event even during exam period. The gala was reported in China Daily through the network and got the Best Performance Award during the Student Union’s prize presentation. “I made it and we made it!” Qu told us cheerfully.

photo by: Eador, Xianran Z., Sangyu, D and Cai. H.

Edited by: Li Yunzhen, Wu Siying, Edmund Wai Man Lai & Hu Sijia

 

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