Today was the second of my trips to different universities in China. After another solid breakfast, we went to the East China University of Science and Technology. It was some ways away, and I took a nice long nap on the way up.
Upon getting there, it was not a barred and gated university, unlike the previous school that we had visited. We got in and a lady spoke to us about the University, but also about trade and policy restrictions. She spoke about China’s difficulties in terms of expanding the financial sector, and discussed how the trade war with China might complicate things for the global trade theatre. It was an enlightening conversation, because I knew very little about trade on a global scale.
One thing that was different than the previous school we visited (Central University of Finance and Economics) was that the professor giving our presentation was able to talk more liberally about the Chinese government. This was due to the distance between Shanghai and Beijing; rather than being at the government’s back door, this lady was a couple hundred kilometers away, and could talk more freely without as many concerns for listening ears.
After the presentation, we headed out with a tour guide to get a feel for the University grounds. It was just like an American university campus, with the same types of buildings and dorms, although it was much hotter with a darker sky. One thing of note was everywhere I looked there were garbage cans that held clothes. I asked our guide if it was for laundry, which didn’t really make sense but was the only logical reason I could come up with. She said that those were for donations clothes, which made me wonder exactly how many clothes Chinese students were donating!
After the tour, we went the dining hall to grab some food. It was like Market Central at Pitt, with the exception that there were fewer options and a less diverse pallet. In addition, they had a similar paying method, where you swipe your card and get a pay a certain amount, just like dining dollars. It was good nonetheless, with free soup but no water (again!). After lunch, we met up with the rest of the group, who had gone to get ice cream with their respective guides. Once together, we all went back to the un-air-conditioned room to play games.
The games were interesting, if there was a word. We played a game akin to hot potato, where we passed something (the image above shows exactly what it was) around and when the music stopped whoever was holding it had to do something. I was the first one up, and sang the American National Anthem with a communist hat on. I next got professor Li, who went up and told an average joke. Others went up, with one of the funniest being when Jared went up in front of the whole class plus the guides.
The next game was just as interesting. They called it “Never Have I Ever”, but really it is “I have ever”. You said something you have done, and if someone had not done it then they put a finger down. I didn’t lose, which was nice, but I didn’t win either. It also allowed some perspective into what the average student in China might do for fun.
This was one of our earlier days over the course of the trip, and after the games we headed back to the hotel for the rest of the evening, which was uneventful (though later than I had hoped as my team and I were working on our project and catching up with each other) as I prepared for the Yangshan port visit the next day.