Day 3: Part Two!

By: Anni Zhou

Today the group visited one of the top universities in China, Peking University. We started off at the Health Sciences campus and learned more about the history of the school, as well as a lecture from a professor regarding atmospheric haze in China. His lecture addressed one of the biggest differences of being in China– the pollution and haze. We were able to understand more of the causes of haze, the classifications of haze vs. mist, as well as an analysis of the positive trend of improving the air quality throughout the last few years. It was interesting to see the scientific view on air pollution in Beijing, since we had already discussed the issue with government officials the day before.

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Moving on the the main campus of Peking University, we discovered that it had many beautiful, serene landscapes in addition to some mixed traditional/modern architecture. The library for example, is the largest campus library in the Asia and its’ design features modern interpretation of traditional Chinese buildings by adding the old roof to the new structure. The combination of these two types of architecture resonated with the group, as we are all in a sense living in a “modern” environment back in Canada, and we are here in China to understand and learn more about the traditional aspects of our culture.

Lastly, we visited the Lam Woo Eye Hospital, which is an on-site hospital that is nationally renowned for its work in ophthalmology.  After a brief tour of the facility we were given time to ask questions. Most questions asked were regarding the patients of the hospital, and how the hospital worked alongside the government and the university itself.

All in all, the day was a success in learning about not only one of the top universities in China, but also more about the health care system as well. Hearing personal anecdotes from the students of Peking University added to the authenticity of the tour. The combination of rigorous academics and beautiful campus really showed why PKU is considered one of the top schools in China.

By: Jessica Vuong

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The Summer Palace was where emperors resided in or visited during the summer months. The palace itself spanned a large amount of space. What really took one’s breath away was the combination of architecture and nature. Although Kunming Lake was man-made, it connected seamlessly to the mountains and the pavilion that ran along the coast line. It also covered three quarters of the entire area of the Summer Palace.

The palace felt like an unfolding adventure – when we passed gardens, there were palace structures, and when we passed those structures, there were lakes. What was equally impressive as the scenery was the dedication to the structures. In the palace, one could walk through most of it in a traditional style corridor that spanned over 700 meters. There were paintings on each panel of the corridor and each one was unique.

Golden-roofed boats could be seen carrying passengers across the lake, and we witnessed many tourists climbing up the steps of the mountain to reach another area of the palace. In the distance, we saw the faint outlines of a Buddhist temple. We were told that was where the emperor would pray. Another interesting feature was the marble boat that was parked in the harbor. It has never taken sail as the base is carved from marble, and the upper floors made of wood and covered with a marble coating. It is a symbol for stability and continues to stand at the docks after centuries.

The Summer Palace was an ideal site to visit on a day that reached a high of 46 degrees Celsius. We felt a few degrees drop in temperature because of the lake, the abundant greenery, and the location that was 20 minutes north of Beijing city.

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