project review

Dina's Pavlovian Conditioning

Review submitted by Dina Pasic
Review date 17 Jun 2018

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The experience was pretty much everything that was stated in the project brief. Our mornings consisted of a 7:30 breakfast, cleaning enclosures from 8-9, sometimes longer, sometimes not, depending on the number of pandas and the weather conditions then feeding the pandas every hour until half 11 then heading off back to the hostel for lunch at 12. We’d go back to work at 2ish, do an hour, feeding the pandas twice, then finish at half 3 and have free time for the rest of the day.

The tourist office has reliable internet and wireless facilities and the people are really friendly.

Back at the hostel there was a bar/common room that was open for us til late which made socialising a lot easier especially since we had a big group and people coming and going all the time. The girl behind the bar was a legend, she helped us organise all sorts of weekend trips away such as visiting the Giant Buddha in Leshan, going to Ya’an and Chengdu. Her dad would drive us in his mini van taxi, and the chef had one too, and they were the nicest people ever.

The food was deeeeeeeelicious, really really yummy. Absolutely no complaints on that front. They westernised it so it wasn’t spicy Sichuan cuisine like we had in Chengdu, which was awesome because I’m not a fan of spicy food. They were also conscientious of the vegetarian volunteers and always had a few purely veggie dishes for them.

Drinks weren’t included with meals, but you could buy bottled water and soft drinks at the bar or from the stalls by the restaurant. You can also buy booze and snacks from the bar, and the prices are all affordable.

Toilets are squatty ones, which you get used to. Beds have electric blankets which save lives! It’s really damp though, and can get pretty bad in the rooms but you get used to it and just leave your door open whenever you’re around.

The pandas are awesome as are the keepers, my keeper was an absolute legend, he spoke great English and kept me constantly entertained with all his anecdotes about pandas and never-ending knowledge of China. He was jokes, man. He let me train my favourite panda using Pavlovian Conditioning. A crazy experience for sure.

The actual place is beautiful, in the middle of the mountainous Sichuan region. If you want to get an idea of it watch The Amazing Panda Adventure, because it’s pretty much exactly like that, flora- and fauna-wise.

It was an awesome adventure, all the volunteers were chill. I really enjoyed myself and would without a doubt recommend it to anyone!

Read more about the China Panda Breeding Centre