Unveiling Sindre's Exhilarating Journey from Norway to China

19 Dec 2023

In this academic year, International Business School Suzhou (IBSS) at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University welcomed 11 exchange students from BI Norwegian Business school. On the 30th of November, Sindre Øyulvstad Gumø , a Year 4 Norwegian exchange student who shared a lot of his viewpoints on XJTLU and China from experiencing new foods and exploring new places to cultural differences.

Sindre Øyulvstad Gumø

Sindre shared his motivations behind his decision to embark on this awe-inspiring journey. "There's a lot about China that fascinated me. I like the culture and the people. What’s more, I really wanted to learn the language. What better way to learn Chinese than to be in the country itself?"

Hailing from a background in international management at BI Norwegian Business School, Sindre discussed his academic pursuits. "It's a blend of business, economics, and cultural dynamics. We're taught to bridge cultures, manage global enterprises, and foster synergies between diverse business landscapes." Sindre also revealed his favorite classes, which included Chinese language sessions, international management courses facilitating cross-cultural business operations, and a thought-provoking module on China's society and development. Following his academic endeavor, Sindre shed light on the hands-on approach to practical fieldwork and course analysis in IBSS, offering a fresh perspective and new horizons compared to his previous education.

When asked about the first impression of XJTLU, Sindre emphasized the colossal scale of XJTLU's campus left an indelible mark on him. "The sheer size and flexibility astonished me. Unlike my previous school, here I have the freedom to study in classrooms even outside regular hours."

Revealing snippets of his daily life, Sindre shared his dining adventures, relishing the diverse culinary offerings in the campus canteens and nearby eateries. His favorite stall is the self-service one as he enjoys the freedom of choosing dishes to his preferences. While yet to explore traditional Chinese desserts, Sindre shared his enthusiasm for Milk Tea with tapioca balls, recounting his delight in savoring this distinctive treat.

Comparing the campus lifestyle and social engagement between his previous campus in Norway and XJTLU, Sindre highlighted the plethora of clubs, events, and bustling activities that define his enthralling experience in China. Sindre is an active member of the United Nations club, which showcased the inclusive nature of XJTLU's community, as he shared the warm welcome he received from the Chinese students and the insightful discussions they fostered. As Sindre continues to immerse himself in the vibrant campus life, he looks forward to discovering more about Chinese culture, engaging in further club activities, and continuing to foster meaningful connections with his fellow students.

Sindre's explorations in Suzhou encompassed modern architectural marvels, including his visit to the iconic "Pants" building (the Gate of the Orient). His adventures also unveiled the hidden gems of Shantang street and Pingjiang street, offering glimpses into age-old traditions and rich culture juxtaposed against the architectural marvels of modern Suzhou.

Reminiscing his initial days in China, Sindre fondly reminisced about Shanghai's sights such as The Bund and Nanjing Road. “We also actually got to try the ‘Squirrel’ Fish in Shanghai, but at the time we didn’t know that it was a Suzhou signature dish.”

When discussing cultural differences, Sindre illuminated the nuances of familial involvement and decision-making, drawing comparisons between his native Norway and Chinese culture. “Back in Norway, let’s say you want to go out with friends, we don’t update our mom and dad. But here I noticed that the Chinese do that when I hang out with them. In Norway, you’re free to make your own decisions after the age of 16-17.” These encounters with differing cultural norms become stepping stones, enabling him to broaden his perspectives and embrace the beauty of cultural diversity.

As our conversation drew to a close, Sindre imparted a few messages to aspiring international students.

“There is no need to worry about the cultural differences. Of course, you’ll face these when visiting any country but that’s why you do it right? To get out of your comfort zone and experience new things. The Chinese here are super welcoming and friendly, and I had a great time thanks to them.”

Sindre concluded the interview with a cheerful greeting in Chinese, “你好!我叫辛德雷, 我会说中文,我在西交利物浦大学学习汉语。”, showcasing his dedication and passion for learning Mandarin during his time at XJTLU. Join us as we celebrate Sindre's incredible journey, embracing the wonders of studying in China, and the enriching experiences that shape his academic odyssey!

19 Dec 2023