Day 3: Universities and the Olympics

I woke up today feeling well-rested, to my surprise. I didn’t think I would be able to adjust to the time difference this quickly. After I got ready, and met with the other students, we were taken to the Central University of Finance and Economics. The bus ride was pretty long, and I ended up sleeping on the way there. Once we arrived we met some of the university students and started the tour around the campus. The first stop was lunch. Instead of eating lunch where students usually gather, we ate on a different floor where only professors and faculty have lunch. I thought it was interesting how at their university the professors and faculty had a different eating area, but in a way, it made sense. After we had lunch we continued the tour.

The next thing we saw was their library, but it wasn’t just any old library. The university had spent a billion dollars to build that library and it was certainly worth it. When you enter the library the first thing you notice is how spacious, beautiful, and extravagant the library is extending 5 floors. There was high technology everywhere and so much space for students. Our university students that were giving us the tour were explaining to us how from the time the library opens until it closes, the library is filled with students because they never want to leave. I thought that was amazing seeing how in America libraries only get packed around examination periods. We continued our tour of the library as we went downstairs in the library’s basement. In the basement was where they kept a lot of information on the history and culture of China. They also kept a lot of old Chinese artwork. Their basement was almost like a museum. I thought that was interesting having a museum in a university library. While we were there we saw old scribes with ancient Chinese lettering. We were taught how in ancient China, the lettering looked very close to the words they represented and how these letterings just evolved over time to look more intricate. We also learned how in ancient times things were read from top to bottom, right to left, as opposed to left to right top to bottom. I think that’s interesting because I can’t ever imagine reading that way or how that could be beneficial but for others that was their way of life.

After the library visit we went to their track area on campus. It turns out that in China, physical education is still a required part of their college curriculum. That is certainly different compared to regular Universities in America. By the track area is where we had our activities with the university students. The first thing we did was split into groups. In our individual groups we did the human knot game where everyone grabs a different person’s hand and the group tries to untangle. My group untangled TWICE while the other two groups remained tangled. We were clear winners. I always like playing that game because I think it’s an effective way to get people to bond. After the other groups untangled we moved on to the next activity which was jumping rope. That was fun but I’m not going to lie. At first, I didn’t want to participate because doing physical activity in business casual clothes didn’t seem like a good idea, but I finally did jump in and it was so fun, like being a kid again.

Later that evening we took the subway to the Beijing Olympic Stadium Park, where they held the Olympics ten years ago. It was so beautiful especially because it was lit up in the night. I never imagined actually going to a place I had seen on tv. It was so cool to see the water cube where they did the swimming and the big stadium. It was like being on a movie set where you saw everything you’ve seen on tv but this time it was real and in person.

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