First impressions of Peking University campus

My first 48 hours at the Graduate School of Education (GSE) in Peking University (PKU) has provided a wealth of contrasting impressions.  Above all, though, I am incredibly grateful to the hospitality and friendliness of the staff and students.  Without them I would feel incredibly lost!  My language skills are improving, but need to do so very much more rapidly!

My main impressions so far:

  • The colours are every shade of grey and brown – it is early Spring.  The blossom is only just beginning to come into flower, and the deciduous trees have yet to burst into leaf
  • The campus itself is like a quiet oasis, amidst the noise and traffic of Beijing – with its West, South and East Gates, it is like a calm village within the city
  • Many of the buildings are striking and new – I am delighted to have an office in the splendid new Graduate School of Education; but there are also interesting old buildings, particularly around Courtyards Nos.1-6
  • Shops of all kinds, and seven different main restaurants are scattered throughout the southern part of the campus – and one can eat so many different styles of food (there’s even a restaurant serving pizza, although I have not sampled Chinese-Italian food yet)
  • Delighted to find a cashpoint machine that takes my bank card – on arrival had been told that it probably would not work!
  • Pedestrians and bicycles jostle for space, and silent electric scooters weave their way swiftly between them
  • Had real difficulties with my e-mails on arrival, but it turned out to be a problem back at Royal Holloway! No-one told me that work was being done on the servers, and I had to change my settings!  Mind you, Twitter and Facebook are blocked…

Tomorrow, I have my first two-hour lecture – am not sure whether the students or I am more nervous – guess I probably am!  If only humans  (and I in particular) could adapt more swiftly to crossing time zones – I so dislike being 8 hours adrift!

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