From Beijing, with LOVE

What a great joy to finally see the ground after a 9 hour flight! First step in China and the weather is sunny. I was told I wouldn’t see the sunlight because of pollution, glad to see it was not true. The international airport is grandiose. Incredibly big, clean, calm, even peaceful. China is the most populated country in the world, isn’t it? If everything was not written in Mandarin, we almost wouldn’t have the feeling to be in China.

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We were a group of 8 students from GEM arriving at the airport at the same time approximately. After the security-check and retrieving luggage, we had to find a taxi to go to the dormitory. And here the adventure begins! We shared a taxi to the dormitory. Beijing, this lovely international city… where virtually nobody speaks English! It was not that easy to reach our destination when you can’t even pronounce the name of your neighbourhood properly, and when the taximan can’t read.

Once arrived, serious things began. Time to discover our new home for the next 4 months. We were told that hygiene standards were not totally the same as in France…indeed ! imageAfter a 3 hour cleaning, finally we feel at home. Once the room cleaned, the housing is quite comfortable. Everyone shares their room with someone else (most of the time from GEM too), and we share a « flat » with two other people, with one bathroom per room, and a fridge and microwave to share. We live in the international dormitory, with only foreigners, and it is the newest dormitory building, so we really don’t have a reason to complain about.

We were afraid that administration would be no bed of roses. Indeed, we live the international building but it is hard to find someone who speaks English. So it takes time when you want something. However, Mme Silvestre from GEM arrived before us and paved the way for us, which greatly helped us. Mrs Bai, a Chinese teacher in charge of the Transcontinental Track, has been a great help too. After this demanding first day, we slowly began to get our bearings and to really live this Chinese adventure.

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Life in Beijing is really exiting! Compared to France, everything is multiplied by almost 20! This city is really enjoyable thanks to its various cultural monuments, from the Forbidden City to the Great Wall of China, many things are easy to discover during the week-end and spare time. As a non-Chinese student, it’s really convenient for us to discover this modern city, the subway is easy to use and cheaper than in France. Most of the transcontinental students have already discovered the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, The Summer Palace and so many other things! Beijing combines perfectly history and modernity.

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Beihang University has huge campus, we were impressed and fascinated by the number of students. The campus is like a small city, everything is gathered around Beihang University. Many restaurants are available around the dormitory. So it’ s really easy to find something to eat for lunch or dinner. We are now converted to the Chinese gastronomy!

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We all are enjoying our new life in Beijing, our purchasing power is much more important than in France, and this is pretty cool! However, we have all remarked the downside of this big city, in fact Beijing is greatly polluted, and sometimes that’s really difficult to support it.

(by Maëva Joly and Léo Hauchecorne)

More reading : follow Léo on his blog

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