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I recently visited the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China, in June-July for a handicraft design workshop. China has a glorious history of arts and crafts, and they’re an embodiment of the people’s longing for aesthetic beauty for themselves. Walking around experiencing and exploring the idiosyncrasies of this eccentric country, I realised that there is something beautiful about how the world’s largest economy is a mix of both traditionalism and modernism, an industrial giant and yet, very much preserved to its culture and roots.

I was representing India at UNNC and had a lot of interesting experiences, including teaching them about our culture and learning about theirs. I visited 8 different cities and learned about the handicrafts in each of the cities. We learned how to make Chinese fans, and were taught about Suzhou embroidery which is a prime example of excellent embroidery and is famous all over the world. We also got to meet the artisans and discuss their techniques. Later, we collaborated with the Wugu Disabled Centre in Ningbo, which is a home for countless disabled people who are taught this art and crafts. We made hand-painted postcards, stones, and different artifacts, set up a stall to sell these products, and raised funds for them. Another fun experience was working with the children who taught us how to make clay figurines from rice-dough.

During my experiential summer trip, I also visited the Great Wall of China in Beijing, the highlight of my whole trip. It is an architectural treasure of epic significance, and truly, a wonder of the world.

These two months were extremely challenging but equally exciting. My learnings from AnantU came in handy at all times. Throughout the trip, there was a lot of painting, sketching, and artwork involved in the work we had to do, and I’d done all of that at AnantU in the 1st year, so the challenges seemed easier. Also, I had started working in teams at the university for different courses, and learned teamwork in the process; the learnings helped a lot in my summer workshop because there were plenty of instances when I had to make a decision for the whole team. More importantly, advice from my faculty and confidence built up in me because of the environment at Anant National University enhanced my international experience.

Every day was a new adventure in China, and without a doubt, much like India, this is one of the most colorful, exciting and culturally rich countries on the world map. Visiting China definitely enhanced my learning experience as a Design student, and was one of the best things that happened to me in 2018.