No rest for the jet-lagged!!!
Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School welcomed 113 new international students from nearly 40 countries at the beginning of the 2018/2019 academic year. The arrival week is full of activities and training sessions to provide an opportunity for new students to meet their future PKUSZ classmates and get oriented at their new university, and China. The new international student arrival activities kicked off with the arrival of the largest class of international student’s in STL’s history on August 12. The following week, nearly 100 new PHBS international students made the big move to Shenzhen. As is now tradition, the first night always includes a shopping spree to IKEA to help make their new place feel like home right away.
No matter how excited the new students are on their first day in Shenzhen, the arrival day can be difficult and stressful. However, many international students kept positive spirits and were ready to make the most of their studies in China. Oren Giladi, a PHBS exchange student from Israel, is like many other exchange students— he has big hopes even if he is staying a short time. Oren explained his motivation for coming to China, “I want to study in China because I want to see the opportunities for my career with China related to the relations between Israel and China, especially in the sector of finance and innovation. I think that PHBS will be a good open door to the Chinese market and to the Chinese culture. My first impression of Shenzhen [is] that it is a very authentic especially in terms of language, and no one speaks English. This is a major challenge not only for me but I think for every foreigner. I think it is positive, not negative because when you come to China you have to adapt yourself to the culture. I like it because this forces you to study Chinese and this forces you to get inside the Chinese culture and to adapt yourself and to open your mind.”
The biggest adjustment students have to make right away is getting used to the weather in Shenzhen. “I hate the weather in terms of humidity,” said Oren, “it is a very hot but I think we can get used to it.” However, Carolina Santos Lages, a new full-time student from Brazil, said she wasn’t going to have this problem: “My first impression of Shenzhen, I think it has a similarity with Brazil, I like the weather although people say it is hot, and the other thing, I like the food, and the people really gentle to me. This is good”. She also mentioned her motivations for coming to study at PKUSZ, “I want to study in China because of the country and economy in China is really good, increasing and other countries are investing.”
PHBS students started their orientation with a tour of University Town all the way to Pingshan Village. It was a classic hot and humid day in Shenzhen, so the new arrivals learned the local strategies for coping with the heat, like carrying a small handheld fan or taking an umbrella for the sun. The tour was followed by campus life information session and a cultural integration session.
Getting off campus and familiarizing themselves with Shenzhen is one of the most important things for newly arrived students to accomplish their big goals. Kirsten Lindhof, a PHBS exchange student from Germany, mentioned, “(she wanted) to study in China because the economy is pretty different from Germany, and I want(ed) to go somewhere where it is not that similar to Germany. Like the living and stuff like that. Actually, I chose Shenzhen on purpose because it is a booming city and I thought it will be interested (sic) to see. In PHBS I think I might take a Chinese language class.”
To help accomplish these goals, the first orientation weekends with a Shenzhen scavenger hunt. Students compete to visit as many popular spots in Shenzhen in one day, including Window of the World, Dongmen Old Street, Ping An Tower, OCT Loft, and SeaWorld. Multiple teams were able to visit all the locations in one day.
This orientation is an institutional activity which is the responsibility of Peking University to recognize and understand the campus environment as an academic environment and foster a sense of relationship in one university. Welcome to Peking University, welcome to China!
Written by Claudia Fauzi