For those of you who have been wondering when I ever go to class, this post is proof that I do go to school on the days that I don't travel!
We'll start off with the everyday walk to the campus.
Getting to the campus isn't a bad trip at all. It usually takes about 5-7 minutes (depending on the crossing lights) to get to one of the gates. The most dangerous and annoying thing about the walk is crossing Guoding Lu (one of the main streets). In China, it doesn't matter if the pedestrian is given the green light to cross. Pedestrians have no rights! Looking both ways before crossing the street has never been a more useful rule.
To further satiate my milk tea cravings, one of the country's most popular milk tea stands is on the way to campus. The stand is called "Coco" and they have thousands of them in Shanghai. These places pop up like Starbucks - they are practically on every street corner! Usually my friends and I will pick up a milk tea before class. For about USD $1 you can get a large glass of any milk tea or coffee you want. Coco and all of the other popular tea shops are one of the things I will really miss about China!
Continuing down past Coco, the gate is only about a block away.
And.... VOILA! I'm on campus! These two big towers that keep popping up are known as the Guanghua Twin Towers. They are considered to be one of the most recognizable attributes of the main campus. Three out of four of my classes were taught in this massive building. I think it goes up to about 35 floors? It is actually pretty cozy inside, and I think that most of the classes taught in English are taught in this building.
Fudan University's main campus is huge! Most of my classes were only in one side of the campus, so I've never even been to most of it. Below is a map of the main campus: Handan campus.
Before one of my classes, and while the weather was nice, I decided to take a quick walk through the area around the Guanghua Towers. I'm not sure what most of these buildings house, but you can see how beautifully manicured the entire place is. One time I even saw a group of women landscapers cutting the grass with a pair of scissors!
I love how the streets are all tree-lined.
Fudan University is always having some sort of student activity going on. I'm not sure what the paper cranes were being hung on the trees for, but I thought it was a beautiful sight!
Since the campus is huge, there are signs throughout the campus that point out where each building in the respective area is located.
Biking is an extremely popular form of transportation here just like at many US universities. Here, however, it is not uncommon to see two people riding a one-person bike. There are many couples on campus, so it's kind of cute to see the guys driving the bikes while the girls sit on the back. It's funny because in the rain, the girl will hold up an umbrella over them both as they bike through the campus!
At the main gate there is a large statue of Mao greeting students and professors. I'm not sure if you can see him below, but I took a picture from behind.
The only class that I didn't have in the Guanghua Towers was my Company Logistics class. It was located in an older building on the other end of campus.
A friend of mine in the class always liked to comment that the classroom itself seemed as if "we were in Africa" since it was kind of falling apart... I didn't mind too much.
Just to clarify a little bit, my schedule was a lot tighter than it seems. This semester I took: Company Logistics, Operations Management, Intermediate Chinese Language, and Chinese Gender History. All of them were taught in English (with the exception of the language class of course). Unlike many universities in the US whose classes meet twice or even three times a week, Fudan's scheduling system allows classes to meet one day a week for about three hours. While most of the foreigners take about 15 or 16 credits worth of classes (each class is usually worth 3 credits) the average Fudan student takes about 25 credits or more!
I guess my schedule was a little bit relaxed. I had two classes on Monday, Chinese class on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, no class on Wednesdays or Fridays, and my Gender History class on Thursday afternoons. It was a nice schedule, but during the week I was nonstop working because on the days that I had off (Tues, Wed, & Fri) I was working at my internship with AllBright Law Offices - one of the largest international law firms in China.
All in all, I really liked the University's campus. It was pretty easy to navigate, and all of the students are extremely friendly and helpful!
Keep a lookout for some more posts from Shanghai!