I realized that I haven’t really introduced the University that I’m at this summer, and I haven’t really given you many pictures besides the ones in my dormitory. So let me introduce you a new friend of mine.
青岛大学 (Qing Dao Da Xue) [Qingdao University]
It’s tough to know how to define a Chinese University because my only major experience thus far has been with U.S. Universities, which even though they all have difference tend to “run shop” the same way.
When you think about major universities in the U.S. most people think about their sports programs and define them in that manner, but you can’t do that in China. Qingdao University doesn’t have school colors, mascot or anything that seems to distinguish it from any other University. You will only find Qingdao University t-shirts and other paraphernalia to International Students or visitors. However like anything that looks the same from the outside it is usually not.
Without giving you a Wikipedia entry for Qingdao University let me give you a “first-hand” account of what I see Qingdao University as. This little University, of more than 30,000 students, is nestled right on the coastline of the Yellow sea next to a string of Mountains. FuShan is the mountain that sits behind the university and LaoShan sits further along the coastline as the highest mountain along the Chinese coast.
Qingdao is the birthplace of Confucianism and Confucius and Mencius called this place home for many year. So Qingdao itself is not foreign to higher thinking, and also foreigners. During World War II the German’s set up a base in China and help develop the infrastructure that grew Qingdao to what it is today. So much of the area called “Old Town” has a certain German/European architecture to it that gives any Westerner a feeling that Qingdao is a different kind of Chinese city. (more on Qingdao Later)
Qingdao University is the conglomeration of three major universities that merged in 1993. So as a large and major University it is relatively young and is still growing. Unlike other universities in China like Peking University (Beijing) and Fudan University (Shanghai) it has grown and fought for its status among Chinese universities and the workers at QDU speak with great fervor for their institution.
The student culture is something that I am still trying to figure out. As a Graduate student hoping to work in Universities and Colleges one day, understanding the student culture is something that I must strive for. I think I’ve figured out the International Student culture, but the domestic student culture is something I’m still trying to figure out. (Much like an actual International Student.)
But from what I know I can tell you the student have much pride in their studies and are always willing to lend a hand if they can. The students I have come in contact with have been life savers and helpers that as a new student needed. It could be something as simple as someone to go to dinner with, helping me find the right bus, or telling me where to buy book; the students at Qingdao University strong examples of the success of the University.
The University campus seems to intermingle with the city life, and it shows with the fruit stands and corner restaurants and shops that litter campus and its’ exterior. Just like the Chinese people which are social in everyday life, this university is a social place where you kind find locals littering the parks of the university and green spaces all over campus. Elderly women and men can be found doing Tai Chi or Kong Fu, while others are found walking small children around campus.
The culture is a constant conversation and constantly active with someone doing something somewhere. Sounds of students, car horns and food sizzling on a grill add the conversation and find a home with every student at Qingdao. Clothes hang outside of windows and music blares out of windows in a foreign tongue while student play basketball out on the courts outside of the dorms.
Qingdao University is hard to define, because it is ever changing. I hope this at least gives you a better idea.