Written by Jesica Wang
Today was our first full day in Beijing. In the morning we visited Peking University. It is currently ranked as the second top school in China. Our time at Peking started with an introduction to general information about the university and was followed by a tour around the campus. What was very unique to Peking is that the campus is actually located on a former site of the Qing dynasty royal gardens, so we saw Chinese traditional landscaping and architecture. The traditional houses on site have been transformed to classrooms for lectures. Therefore we saw a mix of both traditional buildings and recently built facilities. Peking University also has the largest university library in China, as well as a famous lake called Anonymous Lake that is opened to the public.
As we conversed with the students that were guiding us around the campus, we learnt more about university lifestyle in China. A key difference that stood out to me is that while in Canada students often just treat university as a place where they receive their education, in China the university grounds are much more like their homes as most students live on campus and spend almost everyday inside the campus grounds. We gave them a presentation on our lives in Canada, too! Some of us also traded postcards with our student tour guides so that we could keep in touch after this. What caught my attention is that many of the tour guides were planning to go on an oversea exchange. My tour guide is actually planning to go on exchange to University of British Columbia a year from now to study business.
We proceeded with tour by going to the Lam Woo Eye Hospital. A former Chairman of Mon Sheong Foundation, Dr. Sam Lam, made a large donation to build this public eye hospital to help provide eye medical care. We toured the hospital, which provides all types of services, such as eye check-ups and surgeries for a wide variety of eye diseases. What really caught my attention is that all these services were consolidated within the same building, where in Canada we would have to travel to multiple optometrists to resolve a serious issue.
We then went to the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube. The Bird Nest is no longer used for any sport purposes and is opened to the public as a tourist attraction. The Water Cube was where swimming, diving and water polo (indoor water sports) were held during the Olympics. Currently, half of the Water Cube has been transformed to a water park and the rest of the swimming pools are open to the public.