Written by Chantel Choi
Tsinghua University was founded in 1911 as Tsinghua Collage. It was created by the American government in hopes that the top students in China would be prepared to eventually study in the United States of America. However, in 1928 Tsinghua Collage became National Tsinghua University and moved away from the purpose of preparing Chinese students for America. At the same time, the Chinese government moved Peking University’s engineering program to Tsinghua, and Tsinghua University’s humanities, social science and language departments to Peking. It wasn’t until 1978 that Tsinghua University reestablished these departments and once again became a multi-major university.
To this day, Tsinghua University is known for its engineering and technology programs. Due to this, a majority of the student body is made of up of male students. As such, a tradition called Girls Day was created to allow girls to feel more welcomed and appreciated on campus. On Girls Day all female students are treated like princesses while the boys perform services for them. The boys do things like decorating the girl’s dorms, bringing the girls breakfast and even putting up signs saying how pretty the girls at Tsinghua are. Later on, Boys Day was established so that it would not be unfair to the boys.
Unfortunately, during our stay in Beijing we did not have a chance to visit the National Tsinghua University campus. We missed out on seeing the beautiful natural scenery that the campus offered. Although we did not have a chance to see the campus with our own eyes, we did have a chance to meet with four students that are currently studying at Tsinghua. These four students provided us with an informative presentation and a glimpse of the Tsinghua campus and school life within the campus.
We learned that the trees on campus coat the floor with beautiful orange leaves in the fall, and that the pagoda by the lake that is breathtaking in the winter. Not only did we miss out on seeing all of the natural scenery, we also missed out on visiting the National Tsinghua University library. The Tsinghua University Library would have been an interesting place to visit since it is the place that holds the most important memories, of long hours of studying and researching, for the Tsinghua students. We learned that due to this deep relationship with the Tsinghua Library, some students take their wedding photos there.
All of the DiSCOVER participants really appreciated the presentation that the students prepared for us. Furthermore, we hope that the friendships we had made with the Tsinghua students will be long lasting.