My time here is going by very quickly and I’m already into my second (and last) month in Guangzhou! I have been given another project to work on and my contributions and research will be part of a wider report by The World Association of Major Metropolises regarding their membership fees collection.
I also attended the 2015 (10th) Public Participation and Urban Innovation Conference organised by my office. I was in the audience of a panel discussion of academics and urban planning experts as they discussed how Guangzhou, and eventually wider China, can involve its citizens in planning development to ensure schemes are beneficial to all. The conference was interesting and well attended with members of the Chinese media there as well. The topic itself was also very interesting – the discussion about institutionalising democratic methods to encourage public participation linked to my International Relations degree well.
My tasks vary but I have also helped in the conduction of two sets of interviews, testing the English of the candidates, which involved having a general conversation with them about their education, current jobs etc. I had to make sure that I slowed down my speech however, as they learn American English and my North East accent can prove challenging for them sometimes!
The cubicle style set up of the office often means it is quiet but I got the chance to get to know my colleagues better one Friday night when we went to an Irish bar for ‘western’ food and a drink. I had fish and chips almost just to live up to their ideas of British food!
Guangzhou is famous for its food and everything I have tried has been very good. The best and most different thing has got to be the seafood. Quality that you might only get in the UK at pricey restaurants is fairly common place here but the big difference is that everything is served heads, tails and all! I have also visited some sights and this weekend went to Huidong beach resort which is popular with those escaping the city and was very busy ( Like everywhere else here!).
By Hannah Thompson