A group of students from the Department of Auditing in UP’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences represented the University as exchange students at the Nanjing Audit University in China. Here is a glimpse into that experience by one of the participating students.
1 September 2015 was the day we boarded the plane, entering the unknown – China. We had the privilege of being chosen to represent the University of Pretoria, specifically the Department of Auditing, at the Nanjing Audit University. At first the unknown frightened us, changing from knife and fork to chopsticks, attempting the advanced Chinese pronunciation and having trouble telling left from right…overall moving outside of our comfort zones. Even though China was very crowded, we did not mind being in a crowd of such kind and warm-hearted people, often going completely out of their way to help us.
Nanjing Audit University, our home for the next five months, was a true beauty. The facilities ranged from dance and music studios, an equipped gym, badminton and basketball courts, karate classes, a number of sports grounds, cafeterias, convenience stores and a number of unique cuisine restaurants. The dormitories we stayed in housed various other foreigners from Morocco, Turkey, Italy, Mauritius, Indonesia, Mongolia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Chinese students were very welcoming and considered it a privilege to be in our company. We lived a paparazzi lifestyle, continuously being photographed by the Chinese students.
They were fascinated by our appearance, culture, heritage and diversity, and we were honoured to promote and advertise our beautiful country. There was much enjoyment in our classes and our lecturers were highly educated and qualified individuals who went the extra mile to make the lessons informative and interesting. We were privileged enough to demonstrate our depth of knowledge in internal auditing – being true ambassadors to our internal audit programme at the Department of Auditing. Amongst the countless enjoyable activities we were exposed to was performing in the annual athletic competition, singing in the official renaming ceremony, recording a combination of Chinese and English songs in a recording studio, performing in the various concerts held by the university and participating in badminton competitions – showcasing that future internal auditors are a ‘one of a kind’ species.
When there were no classes, we put on our traveling shoes and explored the rest of China. In temperatures ranging from boiling hot to freezing cold, we took train rides that varied from 5 to 14 hours, with miles and miles of never-ending scenery captivating us on our way to places such as Beijing, Shanghai and Xuzhou. Some of the main attractions we visited were the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and the breathtaking Great Wall of China, to mention a few. We were even spontaneous enough to take a five-hour bus trip to visit a family and to learn their ways. What made this trip challenging yet interesting, was that there was a communication barrier. However, we were able to use our translators on our cell phones, as well as facial expressions and gestures to communicate.
This has truly been a remarkable and unforgettable experience. The internal audit programme at UP provides its students with the most exciting and educational opportunities, which challenges you as an individual. This chapter of our China experience is definitely far from closed and we look forward to returning to China to continue our chapter in the possibilities of the unknown.
Do not fear the unknown, instead board the plane with the mindset of “challenge accepted!”