Peking University is considered by the Chinese as the Harvard of China, and together with Tsinghua University the two form the most influential academic institutions in China. On the campus one will witness numerous children as young as 6 years and as old as teenagers of 16, who are accompanied by elementary teachers, parents or even grandparents. This phenomenon would be mind-boggling in the Netherlands, as I have never experienced or seen an elementary school-trip to Dutch universities.
In contrast to my Western perspective, this practice is actually amazing as the Chinese wish to instil the aspiration of aiming for the top as early as possibly in their children. They believe that education is the key to a prosperous future, and that these universities with their alumni will form a powerful vanguard for their children.
The featured image above is the famous West Gate of Peking University, and even though not everyone is allowed to enter the gate, it has attracted visitors from all over the world.
Beyond the gate is Peking University’s massive yet stunning garden, which is even bigger than the entire Erasmus campus in the Netherlands. Just pause, and imagine another university’s ‘garden’ to be bigger than your own entire university, kinda funny in one way and more embarrassed in another way.
The garden has its own lake named the Weiming Lake or literally translated the no-name lake, where students tend to rest during the summer period and ice-skate during the winter period. Near the lake is the Boya Pagoda which is the tallest building on campus, as it is forbidden to build anything higher than the Boya Pagoda on the campus of Peking University. The Boya Pagoda is the tower in the third picture.
“The legend goes that building something higher than the Boya Pagoda will bring misfortune to the campus and its people”
A few administrative buildings reside in the garden — including the official housing for prominent speakers and visitors to Peking University. Two buildings are depicted in the pictures above, and hopefully you have noticed something strange in all of these pictures.
3.. 2.. 1.., if you guessed the strangeness to be the clarity of the sky, than you are right, and you deserve a Baozi. Beijing’s quality of air is great when compared to the smoggy pictures in the media, but according to the students, this is only valid for the summer.
From left to right, you will find a student dormitory for locals, a theatre / cinema, and one of the ten canteens on campus.
Local students at Peking University have to live with two or three other students in one single room, and the average squared meter of a room is 12 to 14. Just imagine yourself doing this, you might think o damn living with two or three others is the hardest part, but no it is not. The hardest part according to my local buddy is the room temperature, as an air-conditioner simply makes too much noise, and there is always someone who has to study, implicating that usage of the air-conditioner is constrained. For your imaginative convenience, temperature can rise to 39 celsius.
The theatre / cinema building is too big to capture in one picture, and it was built because of Peking University’s 100th anniversary. Not a bad gift right? Especially not when the cinema’s tickets are cheaper than commercial cinemas. It even airs Western films like ‘Finding Dory’, and when my group of twenty plus year old students wanted to watch it so badly, I was like: wait, whut, really?
Note: This post contains only a small glimpse into what the Peking University has to offer, and future posts will elaborate on other aspects of campus life further. And by the way, my eating habits have been dramatically distorted, as I am literally eating all the time. Great food combined with low prices creates a rather interesting habit of overeating.
Sorry for sounding like a nonstop eating panda, and till the next adventure!