Today’s main event was visiting a local Beijing college called Central University of Finance and Economics, or CUFE for short. The bus ride was about an hour long. The campus is on the edge of the city and is surrounded by grass plains and lots of trees. The campus buildings were new and built in a modern architectural style. During passing period, the campus would get very crowded. As a group we were led by one of the school’s faculty members into a lecture hall where we met some professors and even some students. Once seated, the initial faculty members gave us an introduction and background of the school. She then introduced Professor Yao who gave a business lecture on China’s smartphone industry and supply chain. Yao covered five topics in his lecture: the smartphone business, smartphone supply chain, difference in traditional markets between U.S. and China, e-commerce in China, and lastly personalized marketing. Two topics stood out to me from the lecture 1) Chinese supermarkets are geared towards purchasing in small amounts so there are narrow aisles and smaller carts and 2) that almost all of Chinese commerce is done through the internet. After Yao was done speaking another faculty member spoke for about thirty minutes. He was from Los Angeles and he had been working in China for 16 years. He answered a lot of our questions about Chinese culture and the differences between China and America. He gave a lot of advice and tips regarding foreigners in China.
We then headed to CUFE’s cafeteria to have lunch with the professors, faculty staff, and the students whom we were in the lecture hall with. Lunch was typical Chinese cuisine. I spent most of my lunch time talking to one of the university students who sat next to me and spent some time listening to the faculty member from America. We exchanged questions about each other’s countries and school life. The most shocking piece of information I remember is that Chinese students all throughout the nation value education and good grades much more than the average American student. Two CUFE students told me that Chinese students hardly do anything but study! The cafeteria was an extreme improvement from Market and even Perch! There were numerous tables and vendors where you could get food. There were even servers who cleared your table after you were done.
After lunch we were given a brief tour of the campus. Their library was amazing, Hillman can really learn a thing or two! They had computers set up to see which tables were empty in order that students didn’t need to make laps around the library to find a table. The featured image of this blog post was taken from the library. The students said that this wall monument reminds students of the importance of hard work and dedication. The year 1949 represents the year the university was founded. The Chinese characters that stand out from the rest are ancient characters.
We then headed to a more empty part of campus to participate in jump rope games with the students. On the way there we passed by a soccer stadium, a track, basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball courts, and an area with exercise equipments geared towards the elderly. We ended at an empty and quiet concrete road where we played jump rope with the students. It was really fun, it brought me back to my middle school P.E. class. In China however, physical education courses are mandatory in college and are something to be taken seriously. Naturally all the university students were very good at jump roping.
We ate dinner at the mall near our hotel. I tried Peking duck!! It was an interesting texture and very powerful in flavor. Although a popular Chinese dish, I decided it wasn’t for me.