Macau University of Science and Technology is the third university I will be studying at. To be honest, I had no idea how the studies would look like in Macau. We were the first who went to Macau from Umea University so we had no information from Swedish students. Before my arrival, I was pretty nervous about this semester. Communication with a Chinese exchange coordinator was weak. By some mistake, I didn’t receive any informative emails from her unlike other exchange students and she didn’t respond to my questions. As a result, I didn’t know what I would be studying there and I didn’t feel so confident about coming to the university.
However, when I came to Macau, Christina- the Chinese coordinator, turned out to be a nice and helpful lady. She took me to 5 offices to process my registration. We skipped very long queues of Chinese waiting students and the whole registration was done within twenty minutes. After that, I came to the Management and Administration faculty to select courses for the autumn semester. As I hadn’t received any information about courses before, I was pretty curious what will be offered to me. I should study electives to complete my Master this semester so I can study whatever I want. I am primarily interested in China related courses such as Chinese language, culture, medicine etc.. The problem is that only a few courses are conducted in English here so I had to give up my interests. At least, Christina told us we will get a private Mandarin Chinese classes, starting next week. In the end, only around 10 courses were suitable for me. I have to take six courses this semester (Note: each 3 credits, 18 credits here are equivalent to 30 ECTS in Sweden). I decided to try out all of them and select those where the level of teacher’s English is the best. That seems like the most important thing here.
As other European students are studying on Bachelor level, I usually go alone to the lectures. The university is not large. There are 3 main lecture buildings and all of them are very close to our dormitory (5 minutes walking) and classes are easy to find.
In Sweden, I usually had to solve a problem where I put my jacket. In Macau, we have a different problem. We have to remember all the time where we put our umbrella. I had to come back several times to my previous lecture hall because I had forgotten my umbrella there.
Anyway, being the only European student in the class turned out to be very funny. There are around 50 students at each lecture. As I was always the only European there I had to introduce myself. I don’t know why but the whole class applauded me for that. That happened at each lecture.
The most funny moment was when I was a little delayed and came to a lecture five minutes later, many Chinese students stared at me like at an tourist attraction and two Chinese girls even couldn’t help themselves and said loudly: Wow. It looks like a European here is something really extraordinary. I can just smile. It is really funny. After I sat down, they asked me so many questions and wanted to become my friends but why not? They are very kind.
I have again a problem with my name. Saying Jarda or Jaromir seems to be a superhuman performance. I think I have to find a new Chinese name. Actually, why not? All the Chinese students have their own English name, Cantonese name, Mandarin name and who knows how many more. The more names, the cooler you are probably. Not many of Chinese students know the Czech republic but most of them know Prague and even were in the city. That is really interesting. They claim Prague is a very romantic city. One guy was astonished by a look from the Prague city hall and asked me if it is a law to have red roofs in Prague. Haha. Yeah, the architecture is different here. They probably don’t believe it is normal for us. Regarding Sweden, they often mix it up with Switzerland. However, in general, I have to say their knowledge about Europe is very good and they visited so many places there. I feel ashamed when they introduce me their home ten million cities in China and I don’t know them.
Let’s get back to the lectures. Each lecture is different when it comes to English. One course was taught solely in English but the rest of them was in some kind of Chinglish. Teachers speak English but because some students don’t understand English well, they add some Chinese sentences. It depends on a course, English prevails in some cases, sometimes Chinese. When the Chinese dominates, it is difficult to pay attention the whole time. Once I realized I was gazing at a casino for a few minutes from the window instead of listening. The blinking buildings really know how to attract people’s eyes, especially if you have a view like this from your classroom:
If you don’t take into account the language, the courses are very similar to European style. I expected a more Chinese view on the business courses but we will use textbooks from American universities as I was used to. We will also use international scientific articles, work on case studies, do presentations and some group work so it will not be a dramatic change. I think it will be ok.
We met many new people and there was also our teacher of Chinese language which we will have every Thursday. Looking forward. Afterwards, we were invited to a welcoming party for new Chinese students as well. That was something interesting. There were Chinese students singing, performing traditional Chinese dancing, showing Chinese fighting, mascot of the university and others.
Also, Gangnam style dance couldn’t miss and most of the audience took part.
That’s all for the first studying week. I am still not sure which courses I will take but it doesn’t matter. A weekend is coming, weather forecast is promising and it means time to explore Macao. My next post will be about all sightseeing and life in Macao. Look forward. It is really interesting here!