Health, Home, Student, Uni services

‘It’s okay not to be okay’

Often around this time of year people get homesick, the peril of freshers has blown over, a routine kicks in, deadlines approach, days are rather short, the weather’s rather gloomy and it’s easy to find yourself stressed to the max and a little down in the dumps.

Just Remember…

“it’s okay not to be okay”

Not everyday is going to be a great day. But there are sure to be many wonderful great fabulous days. And if you’re ever finding it hard to cope don’t be afraid to seek help and support! You are not alone…

Family

  • You may be hundreds (maybe thousands) of miles apart but technology these days means they’re only a phone call or text away. Be sure to stay in contact. And if you find yourself with a couple days off or a long weekend, why not give them a surprise visit?

Friends

  • Plan a few days/nights out every few weeks. Whether it’s as a reward for finally finishing that piece of coursework or just a break from revision. Nothing beats a good time with your friends.

Uni

  • Our university has an amazing Health and Wellbeing service. Having used it myself, I personally found it very useful. They offer one-off workshops and longer courses on topics relevant to students such as mindfulness and dealing with emotions and stress. They also provide a range of online resources, the staff are lovely and friendly and it’s absolutely free!!! So if you’re interested in personal development, want some advice or guidance or are feeling rather stressed out i’d recommend giving it a try!

ALSO

This Wednesday the University Wellbeing Service hosts the ‘Wellbeing Festival’ which will include a variety of activities and lots of information!

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More Information:

Information on individual topics

List of upcoming workshops this term

On a slightly lighter note we’re half way through the term. YAY! A well earned break is closer than you think.

Happy Monday,

Antonette

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Year Abroad

My Guide to Wuhan

Last year I was on my year abroad in Wuhan, China studying Chinese language for a year. Before I left I didn’t really know too much about the city. Wuhan is not very well known internationally, so there are not many guides on what to do there. After living there for a year I feel I know the place quite well, so here is my guide to Wuhan. Maybe it will come in handy for the next lot of CCNU Portsmouth students. 🙂

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The city

If you like Chinese history and politics Wuhan is a very interesting place to visit. If anyone has seen the Netflix show Marco Polo, they mention the place “Wuchang” frequently in the first season – there was a great battle there between the Chinese and the Mongols. Today, Wuchang is part of the city of Wuhan. In fact, Wuhan (武汉) is made up of three former smaller cities: Wuchang (武昌), Hanyang (汉阳) and Hankou (汉口), which grew together due to population rise and formed one big city. As of 2013 Wuhan’s population is 10 million, making it the largest city in Central China. It is also the capital of Hubei (湖北) province. The Yangtze and Han rivers intersects in the city, dividing it into three parts all with unique sights. Due to the rivers’ intersection marking the centre of the city, Wuhan doesn’t really have one city centre like most other cities does. Instead everything is kind of spread around, and each area of the city has its own little centre.

Historically, Wuhan was founded more than 3,500 years ago. The Chinese film Red Cliff tells the tale about a battle that happened between three different Chinese kingdoms. This battle happened right outside of Wuhan, in Chibi. Wuhan was the setting for the Kuomingtang’s nationalist opposition lead by Chiang Kai-shek, and it was wartime capital in 1937 when the Japanese ruled parts of China.

So even thought the city is not that famous, lots has happened here!

Sights

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Tingtao Park

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Tingtao Park

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Cherry Blossoms at Wuhan University

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Cherry Blossoms at Wuhan University

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Cherry Blossoms at Wuhan University

East Lake

Possibly the most well-known sight in Wuhan. This area of over 80km² offers beautiful flowers in spring, such as cherry blossoms and lotus. Every spring thousands of people flock to Wuhan University’s campus which is located right by the lake to see streets filled with cherry blossoms. By another part of the lake you find shopping area Chu River and Han Street (Han Jie for short). This is one of the more modern shopping areas in Wuhan, with international brands such as H&M and Bershka. There is even an M&S there, which became my saviour on my year abroad! Han Jie is also home to Wuhan Madame Tussauds Museum.

Surrounding the lake is also many parks with different attributes such as Mo Hill with it’s temple overlooking the lake, Tingtao Scenic Area, Forest Park, and Wuhan Botanical Garden. You can also find fun park Happy Valley and Hubei Provincial Museum next to the lake.

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Yellow Crane Tower

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Yellow Crane Tower

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View from Yellow Crane Tower

The Yellow Crane Tower (黄鹤楼)

This historic building dating back to year 223 AD (current version built in 1981) overlooks the Yangtze River and has the most famous view of the city. Entering the tower area you pass by the tower park, gardens, statues, and some other pagodas before reaching the Yellow Crane Tower and the view.

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Fruit drinks at Hubu Alley

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Coconuts!

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Trying sugar glazed strawberries at Hubu Alley

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Eating frog!

Hubu Alley

The main snack street of Wuhan. Located right next to the Yangtze River bend in Wuchang, one of my favourite things to do in Wuhan was to head to Hankou, take the ferry over to Wuchang and end up right next to the Changjiang Bridge and Hubu Alley. On a clear day the sunset from there is really nice to watch, and you can try all kinds of snacks in the snack street such as reganmian, soup dumplings, frogs, fruit drinks, and more.

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Stairs leading up to Qingchuange

Dayu Myth Park and Qingchuange

This part tells the tale of Yu the Great who stopped the flooding of the Yangtze River in Wuhan, and is home to protective animals who will ensure it does not happen again. Qingchuange is an old temple pass, now it stands above a busy road but is still quite an interesting sight.

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Guiyuan Temple

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Guiyuan Temple

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Baotong Temple

Temples

Like most Chinese cities, Wuhan is home to many Buddhist, Daoist, and Conficuan temples. The most famous temple in Wuhan is Guiyuan Temple in Hanyang. Personally, my favourite temple in Wuhan is Baotong Temple located in Wuchang (not far from CCNU!). It is a lot more colourful, and it is built upwards on a hill, so you can see the view of the area. When you reach the top there is a very old pagoda which you can climb to the top of. The climb is not easy, and when I did it I was scared I was going to fall on my face, however it was such a cool experience.

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Gardens at Hubei Museum

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Performance at Hubei Museum

Museums

All state owned museums in China are free (and closed on Mondays). Private museums may charge a fee, but usually not too much. The Hubei Provincial Museum is the most famous museum in Wuhan, along with Hubei Museum of Art located next door. These two are a must to visit, and often have interesting exhibitions on display. Next to Guiyuan Temple lies the Wuhan Stone Museum (private), which has an incredible collection of stones from jade to amber and amethyst. Wuhan is also home to several war memorial museums such as the 1911 Uprising Museum, and Wuhan Museum, but sadly I never got to visit those.

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Zhongshan Park roller coaster area

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View from Zhongshan Park ferris wheel

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Sun Yat-sen statue at Zhongshan Park

Parks

The Chinese love spending their spare time in parks dancing, enjoying the sunshine, and renting boats to go on the lakes. Wuhan has a few parks as well! Zhongshan Park is fun because it has roller coasters you can go on.

Shopping

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The model of Notre Dame in Guanggu

Optics Valley (Guanggu)

Located in Wuchang, not too far from CCNU by underground, this is the largest shopping area I have ever been to. One of the shopping centres has several hundred shops. It’s so big if you find something you like I advise you to purchase it straight away, you probably won’t find the same shop ever again. Here you can also find international shops like C&A, H&M, Forever 21, and supermarket chain Carrefour.

Behind the shopping centre are some themed streets like German Street and Spanish Street. They have a model of Notre Dame, and it’s a very cool place!

Hankou

Hankou is home to the largest pedestrian street in Wuhan. We would always go here for SUPER CHEAP EVERYTHING SHOPS Miniso and Mumuso. These shops became my life. From this area you can easily get down to the river and take the ferry across to Wuchang, very nice thing to do!

To Eat

Suggesting restaurants in China is very difficult for three reasons:
1. Places look so dodgy.
Me and my friends’ favourite restaurant whilst we were there was in a place very difficult to come buy, and we only knew about it because our friend lived right next to it. I don’t even know the name of the street, and even if I did, nobody would ever believe it was the best place ever because it looks like a place you should never even go in to. But it had the best home made Chinese food I have ever tasted. But even if I told you it was great, and you went there, and saw what it looked like, there is just no way you would go inside, haha.

Like, this is it….:

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2. Restaurants come and go so quickly. A place that was there yesterday can easily be gone tomorrow, so it is very difficult for me who is not there now to say what will be there in a week.

3. I don’t know any restaurant names. We would refer to them as “the dumpling place” and “the ramen place”. Seriously.

But, I will do my best and recommend some that I do know!

On the CCNU Campus

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Enjoying some ramen

Chinese-Dumplings

Dumplings!

On campus is a place called Cultural Street, which is packed with places to eat. Since we didn’t have proper kitchens in our dormitory, this is where we ate most of meals. In the morning I would go down the hill and buy reganmian or dumplings from the women selling breakfast. And for lunch and dinner we would go Kebab Kingdom when we wanted something very savoury (my usual was the chicken shish kebab), or “the ramen place” next to Kebab Kingdom. There is also a dumpling place with the loveliest dumpling guy ever, and I could never even understand what he was saying, but he would always smile and wave and after being there twice he knew our order.

Off campus

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Dumplings in the food hall

The food halls

Food halls are a big thing in China. They are usually a bit hidden places, where you go inside and you come to a massive hall with tables in the middle, and many mini kitchens around cooking everything you can imagine. These places are great. You can get so many nice things here, for very cheap. In Wuhan, there were two main ones we would go to regularly.

The closest one to CCNU lies next to Guangbutun underground station Exit J. When you walk out of the exit, keep going straight ahead. Go past the McDonalds, past the Bank of China, and shortly you see some stairs going down into a hall and you can see the chairs. It’s behind a bus stop, if I remember correctly. They serve the best vegetable dumplings down there, and it is soooo cheeeeeeeap.

The next one is in Zhongnan Road and it’s a bit fancier. Get out at Exit D2, and walk straight ahead until you see a shopping centre called Suning, next to a cake store. There is a side door with some stairs going down. Here you can get proper meals like rice bowls with meat and veggies, noodle soups and other stuff. I used to go to this one place where they had little bowls of sides, and you’d get some rice with it. It was yummy.

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Guobaorou (top) and other Chinese dishes

“The Pork Place”

Like I said… I don’t know many names of places. This place is in Jiedaokou. From the CCNU campus, walk straight ahead past Exit B of the underground station, cross the road so your are in the Exit C side, but don’t go towards Exit C, just keep going straight for a few minutes and then you find this place. You can recognise it because it has a little kiosk right inside the door to the right, where they sell bottles of Coke and stuff. It has the best guobaorou I have ever eaten. Guobaorou is pork fried in sticky rice flour and has a slight corianderish flavour to it. It’s very tasty! They also have other classic Chinese dishes.

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My Kazakh class mate enjoying a little too much BBQ

Chinese BBQ

In China, you can go to restaurants where they have barbecues on the tables, and you just go grab whatever you want and grill it on your table, buffet style. It is so much fun, and very social. If you are at the CCNU campus, walk towards Guangbutun, and cross the first walking bridge you come to. Take left, and you will see a red door with a lift. Take the lift upstairs and you hit a massive BBQ buffet place. You pay close to £4 and you can eat and drink as much as you want, including meat, veggies, cut fruit, cake, ice cream, and alcohol!

Aloha Restaurant

This place is quite far away, but it’s super nice. It’s located in Hanyang, and I’m not so sure that many students from CCNU knows about this place. Aloha is run by a woman from Hawaii and they serve proper American food. It is definitely the most expensive place I have been to in Wuhan, and I’m talking England prices here. But it was worth it. It is located in French Street, which I believe will be a quite up and coming area in the city once the new tube opens. (When I left Wuhan summer 2015 you could not really get to it because the main road was closed off since they were building a new underground. Hopefully it is open now!)

Brussels Bar

Belgian bar and restaurant in Hankou. Has the best steak I had whilst in Wuhan!

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Outside Chicony

Chicony

Chicony is a shopping centre in Jiedaokou, next to the CCNU campus. Inside the shopping centre you can find many nice places to dine such as Bellagio which serves Chinese food, Grandma’s Kitchen which has the best American style burgers, and the best Indian place in Wuhan on the top floor.

 

Transportation

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The underground use chips instead of paper tickets!

Getting around in Wuhan is quite easy once you know where you are going. They are currently extending the underground lines every day, and in the not so distant future you will be able to go all the way to the airport by tube. The underground currently has three lines, which can take you pretty much anywhere. The underground has information in English and is very international friendly.

Going by bus is easy if you know where you are going, but only if you speak Chinese. There is no information in English of the bus routes. Whilst in China I only knew about three busses, and they kept changing them all the time. The good thing about the bus is you get to see more of the city than if you were on the tube.

Going by taxi is very cheap, however you need to have the address of where you are going in Chinese. Many drivers don’t speak English!

Hope this made you want to visit Wuhan! Sorry it became so long. Any questions I will try and answer to my best abilities ^_^

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Future, Other University Factors, Student, Time Management, Travels, Uncategorized, Uni Life

Top Tips For University Open Days!

So seeing as I’m somewhat halfway through my first year at university, I still have the memories of UCAS, personal statements and open days all still fresh in my mind. So I thought I’d share my Five Tips for planning and having a great and informative time when attending open days!

  1. PLAN AHEAD

I can not stress enough how important it is to plan ahead in time! When I was planning my university open days I looked at all the ones which were coming up fairly soon, and I then decided to try and go to one a fortnight. I vigorously planned my travel, and sometimes accommodation if they were far, mainly so that I’d get the best deals. Planning about 3 weeks ahead means that train prices will be at an affordable rate – so PLAN AHEAD!

2. TAKE A FRIEND

Now this is something I neglected to do, so learn from my mistake! Many people you know will be going with their families but I say to take a friend with you. While going with parents might help make an informed choice it might not always be a critical choice – your parents will always support you with whatever you choose, so taking a friend who can be completely honest with you can help you make more of critical choice as they wouldn’t want you going to a university you won’t like!

3. EXPLORE THE CITY

Most of the time people, including myself, will move a far distance away from home to go to university (I moved 170 miles!). So making the most of your open day should include a few hours exploring some local sights and hotspots. Not only will you feel a bit more at ease if you do choose to attend that university as you will know some of the area, it is also a great excuse to go shopping – and who doesn’t love shopping?!

4. TALK TO CURRENT STUDENTS

When you go on your open day you’ll find people dressed in the university colours, usually holding a large ‘ASK ME’ sign. Talk. To. Them. These Student Ambassadors are able to give you information on everything from how easy is it to find all the university buildings, to what is the social life of the city like. During the day you might not get a lot of time to ask questions to students so when you do – make the most of it!

5. HAVE FUN

This is probably my favourite tip that somebody told me! While the day will be full of informative talks and tours you should always have fun! This goes back to having a friend with you, you both could make the whole day more enjoyable for each other!

I hope these 5 tips help when you’re going to your university open days. Remember to ask all the questions you can and make an informed choice about where you want to study for the next 3 years of your life!

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Christmas, Portsmouth, Uncategorized

Hello 2016!

Happy New Year’s everyone!

The New Year has finally entered as well as the second semester at the University. I personally had a great time at Christmas time and at New Years’ Eve, spending lots of time with family and friends. Unfortunately I was travelling from Cyprus to Gatwick on New Year’s as there either weren’t any tickets available on other days or they were ridiculously expensive 😦 However, I still managed to get back to Portsmouth safely by train!

So the semester has also officially started from this Monday (4th of January) and everyone as slowly getting back into their classes and daily studying routine, which I have to admit, can be difficult after coming back from a holiday break! Some people are already back but some students, from what I’ve heard, are still in their perspective countries. I personally wanted to make sure that I was back in time for my lectures and seminars as I already have to prepare a project about promoting an app as well as having an assignment that was due today. (7th of January). So busy times wait for me ahead!

Nonetheless, I truly have missed being in Portsmouth, around my friends, classmates and going to all the cool places around Portsmouth that aren’t available back in Cyprus., such as Primark or H&M (a girl’s gotta shop right ? 🙂 ).

So, are you excited or nervous about this new semester? Tell me what you did during your Christmas and New Year ’s Eve as well!

Here are some pics from my own Christmas break 🙂

XOXO Ntina

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Christmas, Portsmouth, Uncategorized

End of a Semester!

Hello from Cyprus!

So, my last project submission was on Friday (11th Dec.) and I have just arrived back to Cyprus to start my Christmas holidays, which I really can’t wait to celebrate with family and friends!

However, that means that this is the end of the first semester of my university studies which makes it bittersweet. I had the pleasure of meeting so many people from different cultures and formed friendships with classmates, people from my accommodation floor, or just random students at cafes 🙂

Additionally, I have learned and grasped so much from my classes this semester and it has truly been an educational and worthwhile experience. Even though it took a lot of work and many hours of studying, everything was well-worth it at the end.

The overall experience of these first 3 months was so unforgettable and rewarding in every aspect. I cannot wait to see what the next semester will bring, hopefully even better things 😉

Happy Holidays everyone! Don’t forget to tell me what you’re planning for Christmas !

XOXO Ntina

 

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Exercise, fitness, Gym, Health, Sport

Keeping Fit!

Hi!

We have entered November which means that we’re officially in the final countdown for winter and Christmas time. The weather here in Portsmouth is starting to become a little too cold for my taste, but hey, that’s what Britain is known for, right? Good, old rainy weather! Nonetheless, the weather hasn’t stopped me from keeping my usual routine, which consists of going to lectures and seminars as well as trying to regularly keep my gym schedule, which is what I want to talk about in this post.

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When I first arrived in Portsmouth to get everything ready for my course and accommodation, one of the first things I did was to sign up for the Early Bird Membership, which is basically an offer for students that register early at the uni’s gym, at a really cheap price of £119 for a whole year, which is just £10 a month! I signed up at the gym near my accommodation, which is the St. Paul’s Gym but there is also another gym facility at the University called Spinnaker Sports Centre, and it’s near to other housing facilities, so all students can have access to the various health and exercise classes and special offers that both gyms organize such as cardio cycling and piloxing (a mix of pilates, boxing and dance). There is also the Langstone Sports Site, which is used mostly for rugby and football games, among other sports.

I’ve realized that everyone needs to keep themselves fit and healthy as much as possible because being a student and away from home, we all tend to go crazy with our eating habits and consume more than we need to without even realizing it. Furthermore, most students tend to go out quite frequently at the clubs and social events at night and usually go back to their rooms in the early hours of morning, which can be harmful to the body’s metabolism. Therefore, keeping a regime routine in your weekly schedule is extremely important to maintain not only a good body, but also a clear head with the appropriate nutrients and a logical sleeping schedule.

In summary, everyone needs to take care of themselves whilst studying, because lots of students tend to get stressed and anxious about their lessons , but having a programme of how to be healthy is vital and also helps with building determination and discipline. Additionally, you also get to have an awesome beach body in the summer and who doesn’t want that? 😉

So what is your everyday regime of being healthy and fit? Does that include going to the gym?

XOXO Ntina

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Halloween, Portsmouth

Not your Typical Halloween night!

Hi!

So, Halloween was last night as you all know and of course, Facebook and other social media are on fire with who had the best costume, hair, makeup etc this very morning! People also had pre-Halloween nights before the actual day, which means that the mighty World Wide Web was filled with Halloween-related pictures, articles, DIY ideas for costumes, makeup and decorations for over a week. When I went shopping on the actual Halloween date, people were in lines for last-minute costume shopping. So my advice to you, do not wait until the last day to go Halloween shopping or at any other event, because everything is probably going to be sold out!

Students all around the University went all out, some wearing head-to-toe Halloween costumes, such as cat or dogs onesies, some of them had awesome face painting, and some just wore typical Halloween accessories, like devil’s horns or just a simple scary mask. As you can imagine, all the clubs such as Astoria, Liquid and Pop World had huge queues outside for people to get in and enjoy this traditional, scary day with partying and dancing.

However, I personally had a very different Halloween night than most of students last night! I went to a friend’s house and basically just ordered pizza and watched a horror movie called ‘It Follows’ and then played some scary videogames ! I know, it sounds like the most boring night, but trust me, it was one of the most chilled and fun nights I had in a long time. I feel that Halloween is about getting scared and anxious as well as being a gore experience for people and that was exactly how I felt last night with watching a scary film, playing terrifying video games but, at the same time, having a laugh with my friends!

Therefore, instead of going the usual way, dressing up for Halloween and going clubbing, just put on some normal clothes, relax at your friend’s place and make it a scary experience  in your own special way!

So how did you spend your Halloween night? Was it different like mine was?

XOXO Ntina

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