This week I have absolutely tonnes to do. It is a manic rush to get all the work that needs to be in before, or just after reading week, done. I also need to collect my visa, contact the hostels and pack. All this is in preparation for my “reading” week travels. It seems that all of us exchange students are jetting off somewhere – why waste an opportunity to travel! I’m leaving on Friday (yes I’m skipping class but my Mandarin teacher was enthusiastic to hear that I was visiting her home city and didn’t seem to mind about my absence) for Beijing. Then it’s an overnight sleeper train to Pingyao, and from there another overnight train to Xi’an which is where we’ll fly back to Hong Kong (oops I almost typed home – that would upset mum) from. I won’t be posting while I’m away but I intend to jot down my observations in a notebook ready to post here upon my return.
A word of warning to all other year abroad students; travel insurance was an utter nightmare and the issue I had may apply to you. Because Warwick uni provide free insurance for me while I’m in Hong Kong I didn’t get my insurance for travelling while I was in the UK. However, nearly all UK insurance companies require that you start and end your journey from the UK so if you are already abroad when you book it your insurance is invalidated. So do actually read the terms and conditions when it comes to things like insurance because they will take any excuse not to pay up. The worrying part is that I wouldn’t have thought to check this and would’ve just bought insurance online from a company like Insure and Go which would’ve led to me being utterly screwed should anything go wrong. Anyway, after ages of my dad inquiring on the phone from England (to save me the huge phone bills) he managed to find a company for me that will insure you even if you are already abroad (though because of this it is slightly more expensive). Then when I go home to London over Christmas I will take out an annual travel plan to insure me for the rest of my travels. Another alternative would’ve been to use one of any number of Hong Kong travel insurance agencies (as I am leaving from and returning to Hong Kong) however my parents wanted me to be repatriated to the UK rather than Hong Kong should I end up seriously hospitalized for months.
For reference the company I used was: http://www.worldnomads.co.uk/