Day 2: Central University of Finance and Economics

This morning, we went to the Central University of Finance of Economics. The campus is only 9 years old, and architecturally, it looked very advanced, at least compared to Pitt. As soon as we arrived, we were led to a lecture hall to listen to the presentation on the Chinese smartphone industry, and e-commerce. This presentations was very insightful, especially when he presented us with the data on how many people in China use the Internet, Smartphones, and e-commerce. E-commerce seems to be used very regularly, even to buy everyday grocery items. This is strikingly different from the United States, but it makes sense, since the population density of Chinese cities makes it very inconvenient to travel short distances to buy necessities. After this presentation, there was a short lecture by an American professor at the University. His speech was very informal, yet informative. He had moved to China in 1999, and it was interesting to hear the travel tips of Beijing through an American perspective. I was able to talk to him more during lunch, and he explained more on how and why he moved to China, and how it was for him to adjust initially. I was surprised to find out that he came to Beijing without even knowing Mandarin, and it took him 6 months of living here to finally be able to manage travelling by himself. After lunch, we toured the rest of the University. Their library was very impressive, boasting touch screens to see where seats are available. We learned the culture at college in China is very different from that of the United States. They have disciplined study patterns, and rarely get distracted by other activities. In America, college is seen as a coming of age ritual, where you not only attend to pursue an education, but to grow into an adult. In China, it is pretty much only to achieve their academic goals.

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