The Study Part of Being Abroad

Today was day two in Beijing and began by visiting the University of Finance and Economics (CUFE). CUFE was the first finance and economics university established in Beijing. Now, it is under control of the education administration of the Chinese government. The campus had a lot of green space and was quiet. While there, we had two lectures; one was about big data and marketing in both China and the United States of America while the other one focused more on the history and influence China has had on the United States. I found the big data lecture to be very interesting and learned a great deal. After the lectures we went to lunch in their dining hall. The dining hall looked a lot different but had the same vibe as the dining halls at Pitt. We had another family style meal which is always great. One of the dishes was a dark, brownish piece of something. It was mushy, so I assumed it was tofu. Jake and I ate it and didn’t know if it was tofu, mushrooms, or something I have never ate before. It was very good and a little bit spicy. After about five minutes, Dr. Li comes to our table and tells us there are some traditional dishes today. He then proceeded to point at the dish that had been puzzling me and informed us it was pig blood. I honestly rather have not known that at that moment, but hey, I ate pig blood! Nancy sat at our table, so we decided to teach her some American slang which she picked up on very quickly.

After lunch we visited their library which they are very proud of, for good reason. There was a large atrium with five floors where students studied and an art gallery in the basement. When the students check into the library, they have to scan their card at a computer and select a single seat for the day. My first thought was, “WOW, Hillman could really use this”. It would solve the issue of one person deciding to spread out across a six-person table during finals where seats are hard to come by as is. I doubt Hillman will be using this technology anytime soon though; CUFE was either the only, or, one of the only university’s in China with said technology. In the library there was a sculpture type thing that was a horse-dragon which I think is connected to people of power.

We finished the day at the university with long-rope jump rope where you run into the rope, jump over it, and then run out. We did that for a while before transitioning into a hula-hoop game. The game was a competition, so we separated into three groups. We had to stand in a circle holding hands as we passed the hula-hoop around our bodies for a total of five complete circles. My group won and were awarded certificates from CUFE. The day ended with us receiving CUFE pins which signified our “graduation” from the university.

Dinner tonight was a disaster. McDonald’s is supposed to be “so much better” outside of the United States, but I can now confidently say that that is not true for China. I ordered a spicy chicken sandwich, an item they don’t serve inside of the states. The meat looked a bit questionable, but it still tasted good. After about an hour I started not feeling so great from the food, so it definitely was not worth it. On the way back to the hotel after dinner, a kid under ten decided to welcome me to Beijing with two not so friendly hand gestures, but maybe I am just his number one fan.

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