Day 2: CUFE & The Olympic Village

We started the day off by going to Central University of Finance and Economics which is one of the top universities in China. First, we had a lecture about Big Data Marketing by Dr. Kai Yao. He told us all about Big Data and how the advertisements you see on your computer can be tailored to your liking by suggesting items based on your previous internet history through the use of cookies. He then explained some similarities and differences between the US market and Chinese market and those were interesting to hear about as well.

After the lecture, we had lunch with some university students and got to know them a little bit before our tour of the university. First, they took us to their new library which cost the university $30 billion. It was so nice! There were so many floors and they had this system where you enter the library and you can see all of the seats that are open or filled, and you can choose a seat; it was very cool and high tech.

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In their basement, they basically had a museum of calligraphy and artwork. My friend and took pictures in front of some and laughed because we had no idea what it said; it was like when people in the US get tattoos of Chinese characters and have to trust that meaning is right. We had a good laugh when we asked the CUFE students and they started to read it. The beginning was basically, “3 am chicken. I must read in the morning. Study in the morning. …”

We walked around and saw a little bit more of the university and did teamwork activities with the students. We did a hand tangling exercise where you make a circle and grab other peoples’ hands and try to unknot yourselves. My team won and was able to make another knot and undo it before the other teams finished their first ones. The university gave us certificates for winning. Then everyone jumped rope for a little before we had to go.

Throughout the day, we talked to the students and found that there were a lot of differences between the education systems of the Chinese and the US. For one, they don’t apply to colleges like we do. Everyone in China takes one giant exam that goes on for two days. You get one chance, and that’s what universities look at to decide whether to accept you or not. One guy named Alan was from a really big province, and he had to be in the top 0.14% of his province to be accepted into CUFE! The students told us how their courses are hard, but the hardest one of all is their PE course. They have to run, long jump, high jump, and lift a certain amount of weight to pass the class. We all thought that was crazy that they have these PE class requirements. It was really cool to get to know people in Beijing that were our age.

Since everyone wanted to go see the Olympic village, we decided to meet a 7 pm so that Liliana, Jane, and Dr. Li could help us take the subway there. We had a little bit of time after we got back from the university. A bunch of us decided to go to the supermarket to get some snacks and they we planned on eating around the Olympic village. We got so much junk food, and then we all met in someone’s room to share everything and have a blogging party because we were all behind on our blogs.

When I took the subway for the first time, I noticed how crowded it was, but it was still pretty clean compared to American subways. Everyone around us was fairly quiet, but of course our group was pretty loud. There were many stops before we reached the Olympic village. When we got there, it was so crazy how much space there was. Walking in, you could immediately see the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube. We took a lot of pictures before meeting to go back. Everyone also decided that they wanted to go to this marketplace, so we all took the subway there afterwards.

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The market was really nice; it was one long street with shops on either side. I got a giant soup dumpling at this one shop. It was about the size of my palm, and I drank the soup out of it with a straw. It was a good dinner. After a little bit more walking, I also got soft serve mochi ice cream that tasted like a green tea flavor and they put an edible gold sheet on it, so that was really cool. After a little more exploring it got pretty late, and we couldn’t take the subway back, so a couple people took taxis back, but I joined a group to walk back to the hotel. It was probably a mile or two, but I thought I could do it after walking for 4.74 miles the night before. Beijing is really hot during the day, but it’s a nice cool temperature for walking at night, and I liked seeing more of the city.

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