While most Shenzhen residents were celebrating Spring Festival back in their hometowns, fresh faces from across the globe reached the quiet city to begin their semester of study at Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School on Thursday, February 14.
Many of the new exchange students were amazed by the blue skies and pleasant sunshine as they arrived in the middle of February from their home countries where they had been bundled up to fight the cold. The students of 24 countries and 5 continents came to study in either PKU Shenzhen Graduate School’s HSBC Business School (PHBS) or School of Transnational Law (STL). While they are here, many will also kick off or enhance their Mandarin Chinese language studies.
With the arrival day positioned between the Lunar New Year and the official start of the spring semester, students stayed busy as orientation events were crammed into the 4 days before classes begin. After becoming situated in their dorm rooms during the first day, everyone overcame their exhaustion and made a trip to IKEA to pick up all the essentials for settling in at their new home.
The following day students were provided with a campus tour and information talks by PHBS’s Vice Director of International Affairs, Nicole Chastagner, STL’s Director of Graduate and International Programs, Cole Agar, and International Affairs Coordinator Nathan Faber. After familiarizing themselves with the surrounding restaurants, shops, and subway stops around University Town, students were off to the city center on Saturday for a city-wide excursion and scavenger hunt in Shenzhen. Several scavenger hunt teams were able to visit nearly every one of the Shenzhen’s major sites in one afternoon and in the process mastered navigating the city with GPS, WeChat, and limited Chinese language skills.
On the final day, new students met with Campus Advisors (CAs), the Chinese student helpers who will assist with their life on campus and organize future cultural events, for an evening workshop on Chinese apps and tech. Being in one of the most high-tech cities in the world, there was a lot of work to get done before the new arrivals could be feeling like locals in Shenzhen! The CAs helped the participants get setup to start online shopping, traveling on share-bikes, and taking advantage of all the hidden functions of WeChat.
Though it would have been nice to have a little break after this hectic and exciting orientation period, the next day students were off to classes in financial systems, international law, Chinese language, and much more. Let the learning begin!
Written by Nathan Faber