Today was our second day in Beijing and I’m starting to slowly get used to the city, even if my sleep schedule still hasn’t fully adjusted. Our main activities today consisted of a visit to the Central University for Finance and Economics where we listened to two professors speak on the smart phone supply chain in China, lunch, and a tour around the university’s campus.
The university was an hour and a half drive out of the center of the city but as it turns out they have two campuses–the one we visited today for students in their first three years and another in the center of the city for students in their final year which had a more convenient location near the students’ internships. There were a few major differences I noticed between CUFE and Pitt some of which being significantly better dining hall food, less space for students in the lecture halls, different dorm room arrangements, and a much more modern library. Talking with one of the university students I found out that there are four students to a dorm room with not much space and each bed bunked above a desk. Unlike the U.S., it seems that students in China are not given as much space or privacy which I think represents the living situation in cities here overall.
After the presentation, we had dining hall food that was similar to what we are yesterday for lunch, and the highlight of the meal was trying my first red and green chiles without being too overwhelmed. We got to tour the CUFE campus and were impressed by their library which was significantly more modern than Hillman in terms of technology used to reserve individual seats and check out books. Afterwards we witnessed the students mandatory gym class, another large difference between U.S. and Chinese universities, and got to try jumping rope with some of the local students. Being able to spend a day on campus in another country really opened my eyes to how different their education system is with a heavier emphasis on test scores and camaraderie between students sharing classes that contrasts the holistic, independent approach in the United States.
It’s also worth noting that there seem to be very few rules followed on the roads here with a chaotic combination of cars, bikes, and pedestrians that all assume their own right of way. There’s also only one cell service provider–China Mobile–that serves China, and as a result the service is far better than the Unites States.
Looking forward to our first company visits tomorrow!