MY JOURNEY SO FAR...(Alex Adim Obinikpo)[2016-09-04]

Time: 2016.09.04

I joined the USlab around April 2014 and officially August 28th, 2014 when I arrived at the University of Jinan.
It has been a 2 years of studies, fun, rich research experience and a couple of tours. I would like to present my journey so far under the headings below.
 
Coming to China 
 
After the rigorous competition for a spot at the USlab, I was glad to be accepted as Chinese Government scholar. While still in Nigeria, I was anxious yet overwhelmed at what to expect in China, Jinan and UJN in particular. Though I have read a lot about China, the people and the culture, but I still can’t shake the feeling of what to expect when I eventually I arrive there. With all these thoughts going through my mind, I decided to keep an open mind and take things as they come. So, I packed my bag and baggage with the little time left before resumption and waited for the day of departure. When the day finally came, all the fears were gone due to the excitement of leaving home and embarking on a journey that would define who I was to become.
 
The flight to China was calm and interesting nothing, unusual happened except the excitement I felt all through the flight. When we got to China, I was met by the contact arranged by my supervisor (Professor Yuan Zhang). He got me on the train to Jinan. When the train arrived Jinan, I was also met by another contact (Tao) and together we went to University of Jinan (UJN) where a new chapter was to begin.
 
At UJN
The environment was welcoming, though it took some time to settle down but when I was settled, living became fun and enjoyable.
 
I registered for my courses which involved a six month period for Chinese language learning and a host of my majors.
 
 Study, Lab and Research
My study life started almost immediately. We started Chinese classes almost immediately after resumption. While major classes took time to start but when we started, it was free flowing. The classes and teachers were awesome and good. We felt welcomed and motivated to learn because of the enthusiasm and effort the teachers put into teaching us.  In general, class was fun, educative and informative.
 
My lab is the Ubiquitous sensing Laboratory (USLAB) and it is located inside the Information Science and Engineering building. We conduct researches bothering on data mining, wireless sensor networks, ubiquitous sensing and applications to healthcare amongst others. Actually, this is where my life goal is being forged.
 
In terms of research, my research life has seen lots of improvement since my arrival. I am privileged to have a supervisor that looks out for the welfare and academic growth of his students. In fact, I have been opportuned to review journal papers as this has helped me a lot when writing my own paper. At present, I have a paper that is currently under review and another one that is in progress.
 
Life and Culture
So far, my life in Jinan has been fun and educative. I have had the opportunity of experiencing important Chinese festivals (spring festival, moon cake festival, tomb sweeping festival etc), meet excellent people, taste various Chinese cuisines and travel to some part of china.
 
In 2014, we went to WeiFang as part of a trip organised for scholarship students. the trip was enjoyable as we went to the kite town and visited other important land marks in the area. Apart from this, I have been on personal trips and tours within Jinan, climbed several mountains and had too many bus rides (which is quite cool to me).
 
Also, I participated in the cooking festival organised by the school of International exchange and education and other programmes like end of the year party, kung-fu class, Chinese calligraphy classes, paper cutting classes to mention but a few.
 
It can get better
The lab is young but growing. However, we can improve on this growth. I would suggest if time permits, we could introduce a bi weekly seminar where everybody is made to present a topic. This I believe would boost individual confidence and also increase our expertise in public speaking. 
 
My Take
I would say, I am having a nice time here in UJN and Jinan in particular. I have got couple of friends, colleagues and supervisor who are part of my family now. 
I would say without mincing words that Jinan is my second home.