Those of you reading this, that know me well enough, will understand just how eager I have been to visit China. Ever since I joined the University of Southampton in 2014, I have struggled to say ‘no’ to the opportunities that have been thrown my way, especially if they involved travelling. Despite my best efforts to resist, here I sit in the departure lounge of Hong Kong’s International Airport writing about another one of those opportunities.
I can’t say I have written a personal blog before; this is something entirely new to me, so I don’t want to get your hopes up in any way! Nonetheless, I will try to use this WordPress site to share my experiences of travelling, and in doing so, hopefully reveal some of the reasons why I study demography (and the fact that a great deal of you are likely to have just Googled that word, is exactly why I will do so!).
I suppose being a Population and Geography student has meant that it’s in my nature to be attracted to the prospect of seeing as much of the world as possible! But there has always been that extra-special something about China. Something I could never put my finger on. Perhaps it has been the country’s sheer geographical size; or its impressive accolade of a global ‘superpower’, with many of us being surrounded by its products/exports on a daily basis. Even the very device I use to type this blog post was ‘made in China’. Then there’s the country’s leadership, which is a major source of curiosity (I think that’s the most appropriate adjective to use): take for example, its infamous one-child policy. This has featured in almost every stage of my education, and understandably so, with its extreme enforcement measures and far-reaching consequences. China’s ability to endure turbulent times, or rather the resilience of its people, fascinates me alone, given that its huge inequality makes each province seem like a different country altogether. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in such a country; to find out just how different it is at the ground-level, considering that we no doubt take many ‘freedoms’ for granted here. And finally, of course, there’s the lure of the language, culture, and incredible food.
Now, as the boarding call has just been broadcast, I will stop here. See you on the other side!