By Angela Li, Foster Undergraduate who participated in an exchange with Peking University (PKU) in Beijing, China
If I’m being honest, I spent much more time studying that I expected. But let me tell you, as an exchange student, I have no right to complain in comparison to the workload of many local students. On average, I spent about 3 – 6 hours in class each day with classes 4 days a week. However, many of my local classmates often spent 6 – 12 hours in class per day, with classes every day, even Saturdays. That being said, I found myself at PKU almost every day of the week, whether it was for class, studying, group meetings, attending a special lecture, or simply taking advantage of the extremely cheap canteen food.
Outside of class time many exchange students will find themselves in Wudaokou (五道口) a nearby neighborhood with a ton of food, bars, KTV, clubs, and shopping. It’s a popular hang out for exchange students as it is centrally located between many nearby universities such as Peking University (PKU), Tsinghua, Beijing Language and Culture Unviersity (BLCU), and more. Another popular nearby destination is Zhongguancun (中关村), also known as China’s Silicon Valley. The area is filled with great food, and probably the best shopping you’ll find nearby. And last but not least, there’s Sanlitun (三里屯). It’s a 50 minute trek from PKU, but it’s an expat hub, located near the central business district (CBD) of Beijing, home to every Western store and restaurant you can imagine, and depending on who’s reading, the biggest attraction: home to Beijing’s nightlife.
Long story short, Beijing has a ton to offer. As an international hub, you’ll be able to meet people from literally every corner of the world. And when you’re missing home, you can always manage to find all of your Western comforts, maybe even at a cheaper price than you’d find them at home. And when you’re up for the adventure there is an extensive list of sites to see, foods to try, shows to watch, and so much more that will help you gain a deeper understanding of China’s rich and extensive culture.