Just an ordinary guy studying at China's highest ranking university
One and a half year ago I applied to Bloomsburg University as an international student after graduating from high school in Bangladesh, my home country, and now I’m here in China’s highest ranking university studying Chinese.
Having been a travel addict all my life, I could never turn down an opportunity to go on a study abroad. I have been intending on going on at least one study abroad program during the term of my undergraduate study.
My Chinese professor Dr. Jing Luo told our class about the Chinese study abroad program in class. The program was hosted by Peking University, China’s highest ranking university and it would earn me credits that count towards my graduation. With my career concentration in International Business and my minor in Chinese, the study abroad in China sounded like one that was tailored for me so I applied for the program right away.
Flying to China
I was back in my home country for summer break, so I didn’t fly into Beijing with the rest of the group that flew into Beijing from Newark. My flight left the ZIA International air port of Bangladesh on the 30th of June and reached Beijing on the 1st of July as scheduled.
My flight was not like that of the rest of the group; it was a six hour flight and it had one transit. That was one of the most uncomfortable flights I have ever experienced. My seat leaned back on its own every ten minutes and an air hostess showed up and asked me to pull my seat up to an upright position every ten minutes, the meals they provided for breakfast and dinner were both terrible, there was a baby sitting in front of me that started to cry every time I almost fell asleep, and the only in-flight entertainment I had came from the conversation the two passengers sitting behind me were having about all the flights they experienced and how they were all better than the one we were on. I wasn’t too discouraged however because of the excitement of the month that followed that flight.
Arriving in Beijing
As the plane approached Beijing, all the inconveniences from the flight started to not matter anymore. Coming to China was one of the most exciting things that happened to me since I started my undergraduate program and I didn’t care about anything else but landing and putting to use, the two semesters of Chinese I took.
My flight landed three hours before that of my group did. I took the airport shuttle bus down to the terminal the group was going to land in and found Peking University representatives waiting for them there. Successfully asking a Chinese airport staff member how to get to terminal three in Chinese and understanding his response was the most amazing feeling in the world. I joined the Peking university staff and waited until my group arrived. Seeing my friends from Bloomsburg, riding the Peking University bus with them, and talking to them about their journey and making plans for the month in Beijing was a perfect climax to a very tiring journey.
Day 1 in PKU
We were all given packets on the bus ride to Global Village, the building where we were going to be staying for the duration of the program. As I recall, the packets contained a name tag, the maps of Beijing and the Peking University Campus and a program schedule. As we got to the Global Village and got our room keys we went to our rooms to get some rest after a really long and tiring journey.
We were split in pairs to share apartments; I however volunteered to share an apartment with someone from a different program since we had an odd number of guys. I went into my apartment to find a note from my roommate saying that he was gone for a couple of days. Everything in my room but my bed was just perfect. I had a wardrobe, a desk and chair, a bedside table, a very bright ceiling light and a rock hard bed. My internet wasn’t working so I couldn’t email my parents to let them know I got there like I promised I would.
That evening our group got together as we decided, to go get dinner. We walked around campus and found most canteens closed down. The one canteen we did find that was open only had burgers available. That was the worst burger I have ever had. I was very disappointed in my first day in Beijing, but was still hopeful for the exciting and eventful month ahead of me.
Our second day In Beijing was a rather eventful one. We woke up early in the morning and went to take the placement test that determined which level of Chinese as a second language we were going to be placed in. It was a very difficult test and I was placed in level 3 of the 9 levels available with the rest of my group placed in levels 1 and 2. I was hoping to be placed in a lower level so I wasn’t put in a difficult class, unfortunately that wasn’t the case. That afternoon, we had a very exciting event scheduled, the welcome lunch. It was a delicious meal with some very exotic Chinese decencies.
After lunch we had our orientation where we were given details of the program and information about the campus. Learning about the campus, the stuff we can do and our classes was pretty exciting and lunch got me looking forward to trying out more exotic Chinese food.
— Salman Haque, international business major