Day 2: University on the Other Side of the World

The first thing on the agenda for today was going to a Chinese University and meeting some of the students attending it. Its called the Central University of Finance and Economics, or CUFE for short. The first thing we did was attend a lecture from Dr. Yao, one of the university’s professors, about big data and marketing in China. I though the lecture was really interesting, especially when he explained some of the main differences that you have to consider in Chinese marketing versus what we see in the US.

Once the lecture concluded, we got lunch in the university with some of the students who go there. At this meal they brought out a plate of fried fish, but it wasn’t just a simple fish filet. This was the whole fish fried, head to tail about 6 inches big. I was really unsure about trying one since I’ve never tried anything that looked like that, but after my friend had one he was able to convince me to try one and it was really good!

After lunch we headed to the university’s library for a tour, and it was incredible. This library was built in 2016 for 30 million dollars, so its pretty amazing and definitely nicer than the library at Pitt. I talked to a few of the university students when we were touring the library and learned about the college process in China. Instead of applying to universities, Chinese students take one test (and have only one chance to take this test) and the score on that test determines what colleges they can pick from to attend. The test is two days long, and has sections on pretty much every subject. Some universities even require physical tests in order to get in, so if you can’t run fast enough you can’t go to school there. It seems insanely intense and I can’t even imagine how much pressure they feel taking that test since you only have one shot at it and it covers so much material.

The students also explained to us what their typical semester is like. They take a lot more classes than we do at CUFE, and they also have to do gym classes. The girls we were talking to told us that they have to run, do long jump, high jump, and powerlift and each of these have standards that they have to meet or else they’ll fail. I really don’t know how these students keep up with more classes than we have and all of their physical education classes, but I was definitely impressed by it. After all of that, we went outside to do some team building games, like the human knot (which my team admittedly had some trouble with) and jump rope.

When we came back from the university, some of us decided to go to the grocery store by the hotel. We split up and each of us bought different kinds of Chinese candy, or American candy that has different flavors only available in China. We brought our stash back to the hotel and laid it all out and shared everything so we could all try as much Chinese candy as we could. It was really cool to see the difference in tastes that we see in American versus in China, like there are so many things here that are green tea flavored but you don’t see that as often in the US.

Once we had our fill of candy and chocolate, we took the subway to the Olympic village from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Seeing the birds nest in real life after always seeing it on TV was super cool, and so was the water cube! The entire area was pretty massive, but we didn’t have a ton of time to look around.We met to leave the stadium and Dr. Li asked us who wanted to go back to the hotel and who wanted to take the subway to this market area, and nobody wanted to go back just yet so we all hopped on the subway to the market. The market was a wide street with all kinds of shops at the sides that sold all kinds of things. We walked up and down stopping a few times to look in the stores, and then we ran to catch the subway back to the hotel. Overall it was an exciting day, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow!

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